Tuesday, May 20, 2008

All About American Idol David Archuleta

With his performance in the finals of American Idol David Archuleta has impressed the judges and now the jury is out for the Public Vote. Unless there is some major upset in the voting it seems David has got it made. Here are some brief facts about this American Idol finalist.

David Archuleta was born in Miami, Florida to James Jeffrey Archuleta and Lupe Marie Archuleta. He has three younger siblings, Amber, Daniel and Jazzy, and an older sister, Claudia. Archuleta's family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when Archuleta was thirteen and currently lives in Murray, Utah, where Archuleta is a student at Murray High School. The only regular job he has had was over the summer of 2007 as a sound "techie" at a park amphitheater. He once suffered partial vocal paralysis but refrained from risky surgery and feels he is almost fully recovered.

Archuleta started singing when he was six because he was inspired by a Les Misérables video. "That musical is what started all of this," he said. He started performing publicly at ten years old when he participated in the Utah Talent Competition singing "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton; he received a standing ovation, and won the kid division.

Musical influences

Archuleta's mother is from Honduras, and much of the music he listened to as a child, according to an interview aired on American Idol, was Latin-influenced. She also "was big on dancing" according to Archuleta, and would "make" him dance to traditional music with his older sister. He also listened to jazz music, he said, from his father's collection as well as gospel, pop, rock and "soulful music." In a later interview he also revealed that his dad was a jazz musician. Archuleta also enjoys Broadway musicals.

On his American Idol "Fast Facts" page, Archuleta cites his musical influences as Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin and Bryan Adams. When asked to list his top pop artists, he cites Natasha Bedingfield, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, Kirk Franklin, and Robbie Williams. He also cites Tamyra Gray and Elliott Yamin as his favorite former American Idol contestants. Like Yamin and another singer he admires, John Mayer, Archuleta aspires to infuse his pop selections with a soulful vibe.

Star Search

In 2003, at the age of 12, Archuleta sang on several episodes of the television show Star Search. He ended up as the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. On one episode, he sang against then 13-year-old Alexandréa Lushington, who also became a "top 20" semi-finalist on American Idol alongside Archuleta. Archuleta's competing on Star Search led to appearances on The Jenny Jones Show and CBS' The Early Show, and meeting the finalists from American Idol's first season, for whom he performed a spontaneous a cappella rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls.

American Idol

Archuleta won his ticket to the Hollywood final auditions (with a performance of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change") at the San Diego tryouts held at Qualcomm Stadium - July 30 and July 31, 2007. He was 16 during the Hollywood auditions (where he sang Bryan Adams' "Heaven" to unanimous praise) and, along with other contestants not yet 18, will have to go to school ("doing schoolwork in the morning and then come onto the stage and then go back to the schoolwork") while a part of American Idol's seventh season. His parents have been on hand, because he is a minor. Archuleta has also taken advantage of the decision to allow contestants to play musical instruments; he has accompanied himself on piano for his performances of "Another Day in Paradise" and "Angels."

The Los Angeles Times suspected that Archuleta avoided singing the first verse of "Imagine" because, "as a Mormon, he's unlikely to espouse the song's agnostic ideal . . . with the line about 'no religion too.' Archuleta did, however, sing the entire song on Good Things Utah when he was 13.


Archuleta's fans have been dubbed "the Archies" and the "Arch Angels" with his "cultlike appeal" nurtured by his work on American Idol attracting a wide demographic including "grandmothers and teenage girls." Archuleta was labeled the front-runner by both the judges and the media because of his good looks and his "pure, pop voice," which have helped him build a huge fan base during the competition. David Archuleta seems to be sympathetic with his audience, as since his performance of "Angels" he has been responding to requests of his fans on the American Idol Forums to signal them by putting his hand over his heart. Rushfield commented on some of the girls who were standing in the front of the audience: "An hour after the show, they were still shaking, sobbing and screeching about their encounter with the Chosen One. Teen-based entertainment is "surging" and the teenage voters may have accounted for the teenaged

Idol. Referring to American Idol's system of popular voting for the remainder of the competition, Rushfield said, "No demographic can match the voting power of hysterically excited teen girls."

Controversy with father

After the performance of "We Can Work It Out," which judge Simon Cowell called "a mess," Entertainment Tonight reported that Archuleta was feeling pressure from his father, Jeff Archuleta, who "reportedly yelled at" his son after a recording session the previous night. Naomi Judd, who was a judge while David was on Star Search, called Jeff the "worst stage dad" on the Today show, and said that as a measure against Jeff's meddling he had had to be sequestered away in a security booth. Judd also announced to the audience that Jeff should "leave [David] alone." In the same interview, however, the Today show hosts stated that American Idol contestant Chikezie, who was Archuleta's roommate, did not see Archuleta's father interfering with him much at all. Jeff Archuleta, in an interview with Us Magazine, denied the claim he had yelled at David. However, a May 2008 Associated Press article reported that Jeff Archuleta had his son add lyrics of another song into a rendition of "Stand by Me", increasing the costs for licensing, and that this had resulted in Jeff's being banned from remaining American Idol rehearsals.

Latest on American Idol Final

Simon called the night a knockout, scoring all three rounds for Archuleta. The other judges also indicated that Archuleta was the better performer. If this were actually decided like a boxing match, there would be no reason to stay up to watch the end of the Wednesday results show.

But that’s not the case, and therefore what’s been one of the most evenly matched final pairings in “Idol” history will continue to leave fans guessing up until the moment Ryan Seacrest reveals the winner.

Archuleta chose a more conventional path. After starting off strong with Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” he selected “In This Moment,” by Ryan Gillmor from the list of original “Idol” songs. Unlike Cook’s selection, Archuleta chose a song that was the usual sappy “I’m so happy to be here!!!!!” treacle, and as the lyrics said, it was a moment no one could take away from him.

“Right now, you could sing the phone book and it would be good. You’re in the zone,” Randy said.

He finished by going back to the beginning of the season, singing “Imagine.” That won him universal praise back in March, and it did the trick again on Tuesday in the finale.

“Dude, you are so good tonight. You are exactly what the show is about,” Randy said. “The best singer of Season 7 is right there.”

“It’s the culmination, David, and you’ve left me speechless like I was when you first sang the song,” Paula Abdul gushed.

And Simon pronounced their verdict. “At the end of the day, the show is about finding a star. In my opinion, David, you came out here tonight to win, and what we have witnessed is a knockout,” he said.

It might seem like we have an American Idol right there but if the fans don’t like what the judges think, they can overrule them. The “Idol” super delegates made it clear at the end of the night that in their minds Archuleta was their winner, but don’t be surprised if the voters ultimately declare their independence and give the title to Cook anyway.

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