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"American Idol" contestant David Archuleta

Kenny Crookston, Associated Press

"American Idol" contestant David Cook

Matt Sayles, Associated Press

AMERICAN IDOL

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, 7 p.m. Wednesday. • Where: KMSP, Ch. 9. •

Blog: Who will win? Weigh in at startribune.com/remoteisland.

David vs. David

  • Article by: RANDY A. SALAS and NEAL JUSTIN •
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • May 20, 2008 - 5:51 PM
Tonight's final performances on "American Idol" come down to David and David, Archuleta and Cook. The former is a teenager who has made an early career of acing singing competitions, while the latter is a 25-year-old bartender who auditioned for the top-rated Fox show on a lark. The husky-voiced youngster, 17, has found his niche with ballads, while Cook is a rocker with musical range. Little Archie has sailed through to the finals with the help of his screaming girl fans, but Big David has found a huge audience, too. We'll find out who wins on Wednesday night's results show. But here's our week-by-week look at how the two Davids fared in the Top 10 rounds and how that bodes for who will be the next American Idol.

DAVID ARCHULETA DAVID COOK

Round 1 "We Can Work It Out" "Eleanor Rigby"

Justin: Archuleta not only forgets the words; he forgets he can't rock.

Salas: Cook worked it out simply by not flubbing his lyrics.

WINNER: Cook.

Round 2 "The Long and Winding Road" "Day Tripper"

Justin: Archuleta's superior lungs trump Cook's superior arrangement.

Salas: Slight edge goes to the teen balladeer, with the Beatles tune being an ideal fit.

WINNER: Archuleta.

Round 3 "You're the Voice" "Billie Jean"

Justin: Archuleta's status as the frontrunner is no longer so clear.

Salas: Cook borrowed Chris Cornell's version of the Michael Jackson song and stole the show.

WINNER: Cook

Round 4 "Smoky Mountain Memories" "Little Sparrow"

Justin: "Sparrow" fails to fly, while "Smoky" rises.

Salas: Cook goes acoustic and Archie goes schmaltz -- for a draw.

WINNER: Archuleta.

Round 5 "Angels" "Innocent"

Justin: Cook is guilty of phoning it in, something he'll do again and again.

Salas: Archuleta scores big after a rare Cook misstep.

WINNER: Archuleta.

Round 6 "When You Believe" "Always Be My Baby"

Justin: The kid sounds as rich and full as Mariah and Whitney's voice put together.

Salas: Both guys get props for covering Mariah Carey well, but Cook is the bigger surprise.

WINNER: Split.

Round 7 "Think of Me" "The Music of the Night"

Justin: Cook comes across like the phantom of the oppressed.

Salas: Cook looked uncomfortable singing Broadway.

WINNER: Archuleta.

Round 8 "Sweet Caroline"/"America" "I'm Alive"/"All I Really Need

Is You"

Justin: Archuleta plays it safe, and it finally catches up with him. Yawn.

Salas: Archuleta goes for the hits; Cook goes for originality -- and the win.

WINNER: Cook.

Round 9 "Stand by Me"/"Love Me Tender" "Hungry Like the Wolf"/

"Baba O'Riley"

Justin: Cook looked about as hungry as a poodle.

Salas: Song choice wins as the youngster goes big with Elvis.

WINNER: Archuleta.

Round 10 "And So It Goes"/"With You"/"Longer" "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"/"Dare You to Move"/"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

Justin: Consider them both losers. Boring, boring, boring. These are the finalists?

Salas: On an alarmingly weak night, Cook ekes by with superior musicality.

WINNER: Cook.

In a close battle, David Archuleta wins over David Cook 5-4 in our view, with one round a draw. But who will voters pick as the next American Idol? Tell us at www.startribune.com/remoteisland.

Neal Justin is at njustin@startribune.com. Randy A. Salas is at rasalas@startribune.com.

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