While many dim pundits like yours truly foolishly predicted that David Archuleta would beat David Cook on "American Idol," we should've paid closer attention to your views. In our Gold Derby poll reaping more than 13,000 votes yesterday, Cook trounced Archuleta by a ratio of 3 to 1, revealing a surprising groundswell of support for the 25-year-old rocker.
Even Cook thought he would be the runner-up. As he acknowledged to Entertainment Weekly, "Basing it off of the judges' comments from Tuesday, yeah, I went into tonight thinking Archie was gonna win." During that revealing post-win interview, Cook said he intended to make his voice heard during the recording of his debut album. "I have to be involved. Whether it's me writing by myself or with other people, I definitely want to have my hand in the creative process."
If Cook can carry his winning personality over to a record, sales should be even stronger than those of the last rocker to roll into the "American Idol" home stretch -– Chris Daughtry. Although Daughtry came in only fourth on Season 5 of the show, he has enjoyed great success since fronting his own rock band, including on the awards front. The group earned four 2008 Grammy nominations for its debut album ("Daughtry").
However, if Cook delivers only warmed-over, unimportant songs, his fate could be more along the lines of Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks. His post-win album was the first from a winner not to reach the 1-million sales mark and it failed to produce even one hit single. Recently dropped by his record label, Hicks has been reduced to an upcoming run in the critically lambasted Broadway revival of "Grease." As the Teen Angel, the soul patrol leader will be crooning "Beauty School Dropout."
A silver medal performance by David Archuleta does not mean that he won't be seeing gold records in his future. Like second-season runner-up Clay Aiken, this 17-year-old is a power ballad singer with a growing legion of fans. And like Aiken, he says to Entertainment Weekly that this support can be unnerving. "Well, it's really weird. It's like, 'Why are they yelling my name? I'm just David.' "
Aiken is the most successful male artist to appear on "Idol." He just released his first studio album in five years –- "On My Way Here" –- which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard. And he is wrapping up his own run on Broadway, starring in the Tony Award-winning musical "Spamalot."
To read the complete Entertainment Weekly Q&A with David Cook CLICK HERE
To read the complete Entertainment Weekly Q&A with David Archuleta CLICK HERE
Now let's compare Cook to one of the least successful "Idol" champs and and most.
Photo: Fox TV