"American Idol" winners

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2008 - 6:40 AM

Were they ready to rumble?

Yes, yes, we’re sick of the boxing analogy as well and are as guilty of overdoing it as the next “Idol” reviewer, although at least we didn’t make poor David Archuleta put on an oversized robe and put up his dukes.

I’ll give you my round-my-round analysis, but first, I wanted to share some thoughts from Minnesota-born songwriter Emily Shackelton. Her song, “Dream Big,” was not selected as America’s favorite (the one Archuleta, I mean, the winner, will sing on Wednesday) but it was good enough that David Cook chose to sing it Tuesday.

I talked with Emily about 10 minutes after the show, one of about 60 people who called her to congratulate her on the moment.

“I thought he did really well,” said Emily, who was out celebrating with friends in Nashville, where she now works. She admitted that it was a very different version than the one she had penned. That was much more pop-country, slower and written for a female. But you won’t find her complaining.

“I’ve never had a song of mine come to life by another artist,” said Emily, who hopes that Cook liked the song enough that he’ll put it on his debut album. Emily, who learned last Friday that her song would be spotlighted, but had to keep it hush hush, said she hasn’t talked to Cook yet, but they did exchange messages through a middle-person who wanted to know if it was OK if Cook changed a reference to “little girl” to “little boy” and made it into a rock song.

Uh, sure.

And what will Shackelton be doing during Wednesday’s results show? Performing her steady gig at a Nashville piano bar. Tip generously, folks.

Now, the rounds.

Round One: It was great to hear a U2 song (”I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). The only other one I can remember on the show is “One.” Cook’s rock-arena voice was tailor made for the number, and while his tone was a little pitchy (kidding, kidding), it was slightly more enjoyable for me than Archuleta’s highly predictable version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.” Dude, throw me a curve. Round: Cook.

Round Two: I liked Cook’s Journey-like version of “Dream Big,” but Archuleta’s choice, “In This Moment,” was more appropriate for the show. He nailed it. Round: Archuleta.

Round Three: All the kudos in the world for Cook to pick a new song and he did an admirable job with “The World I Know,” including some effective tears at the end. But Archuleta knows to dance with the one you brung and that meant revisiting “Imagine.” Round and knockout: Archuleta.

Can you see any outcome that would be any different? Let me know…and we’ll chat tonight.

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  • Winners and runners-up from the first six American idol seasons:

    SEASON 6 - 2007: 1. Jordin Sparks, 2. Blake Lewis

    SEASON 5 - 2006: 1. Taylor Hicks, 2. Katharine McPhee

    SEASON 4 - 2005: 1. Carrie Underwood, 2. Bo Bice

    SEASON 3 - 2004: 1. Fantasia Barrino, 2. Diana DeGarmo

    SEASON 2 - 2003: 1. Ruben Studdard, 2. Clay Aiken

    SEASON 1 - 2002: 1. Kelly Clarkson, 2. Justin Guarini

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