In the first six seasons of American Idol, there have been two male winners, though neither can be considered among the top two male Idol contestants in terms of album sales. This season will bring American Idol‘s third male winner, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that both David Cook and David Archuleta had better be rooting for their opponent to win.
There’s more to a career in music than winning a reality TV show, and though I, like many others, feel Cook is far more talented and viable as an artist than Archuleta, this does not mean I’ll be rooting for him to win on Wednesday. After looking at the numbers, I’m actually rooting against him, if only for his own benefit.
Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken has sold nearly 5 million albums with his four records, while that year’s winner, Ruben Studdard, is at just under 3 million with three albums. Head-to-head, Clay’s debut album outsold Ruben’s by nearly one million copies. Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks sold just over 700,000 copies of debut album, which doesn’t even put him in the top 10 for American Idol contestant record sales.
Meanwhile, look at fellow season 5 contestant Chris Daughtry, whose band’s debut album is the third best-selling Idol album of all-time. If Chris Daughtry had won and released an album featuring some cheesey American Idol anthem, would it have sold as well?
David Cook has frequently been compared to Daughtry throughout this season, and with good reason. Cook has the broad rock ‘n’ roll appeal that actually hits a chord with consumers. Listening to Cook each week on Idol is like turning on the radio. Fans may be won over by Archuleta’s youth and far-beyond-his-years voice, but is that same teeny bopper crowd that screeches every time they hear his name really interested in buying an album full of soft love ballads?
These are the same kids who worship bands like Fall Out Boy. They may see Archuleta and think that’s what they want, but as is often the case with youngsters, adults know what they want better than they do. At a junior high prom, Archuleta may sing the slow ballad, but all the other songs will be David Cook.
No matter who wins, Cook will have a longer and more lucrative music career than Archuleta. The only question is how that career will begin. If Cook wins, he’ll be rushed to put out an album full of treacle and a viewer-written song that will likely be about getting his chance to shine or having his moment or some other bland cliché perfect for out-of-touch adults to use in commencement addresses.
If Cook loses, he’ll have the time to craft a better album, one with rocking songs that actually have the chance of succeeding beyond a temporary fad. David Cook must lose American Idol because he’s the more talented performer. As screwed up as that sounds, it actually makes perfect sense.
John vs. Oscar: Finale Predictions
Finale Performance Rankings
Finale Performance Live Thoughts
Why David Archuleta Will Win
Why David Cook Will Win
Best Performances of Season 7
Worst Performances of Season 7
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)