There's an American Idol crown out there with the name David on it.
Unfortunately, no one knows what comes after that.
Is it Archuleta or Cook? Can't tell. Maybe if Paula Abdul hadn't spilled the mysterious contents of her Coke cup all over it, I'd be able to finally make out who wins FOX's seventh singoff and be done with it.
But no -- there are still two more fun-filled Idol nights ahead. And at the end of it all, only one David will emerge a karaoke king.
On tonight's performance episode, teenage heartthrob Archuleta and refined rocker Cook will have one last chance to prove to America they're worthy. Tomorrow, the viewers' voting results will be revealed -- after nearly two hours of special performances, surprise guests and a reunion with the rest of the season's Top 12. Goodie!
It's any David's game at this point -- it's just a matter of America choosing the one that best suits their musical needs. Let's compare -- and predict.
Hometown: Murray, Utah
Pre-Idol Occupation: High school junior
Genre: Pop -- or whatever his dad tells him to sing.
Best Performance: John Lennon's Imagine on Feb. 26. It made Paula want to "squish" him and "dangle" him from her "rearview mirror." Um, OK.
Worst Performance: John Farnham's You're the Voice on March 25. Simon Cowell busted my gut when he told Archuleta, "It's one of those ghastly songs when you've got animated creatures with you and everyone joins in together."
Who Likes Him: Young children, female tweenyboppers -- and their mothers.
What's to Like: Beaming Boy Wonder is so sweet and modest, it's hard to believe he's going to have a really big head someday (at least, if his supposedly controlling stage dad Jeff -- who was barred from rehearsals a few weeks ago -- has anything to do with it). He might not have shown us a lot of range, having leaned towards brawny ballads for most of the competition. But his boyish chops are easy on the ears, and well, would ya just look at that face?
On the Downside: Archuleta's touching performances have become as predictable as Cowell's V-neck shirt, Abdul's poor sentence structure and Randy Jackson's "dawg." When he tries to sing something modern and upbeat, the result is a hot mess (case in point: Chris Brown's With You), and cute can only get you so many votes.
Ward's Forecast: Archuleta will be his dependable self again tonight, and the judges (OK, Cowell) will go after him for not changing things up. He'll miss the popular vote by a hair.
Hometown: Blue Springs, MO.
Pre-Idol Occupation: Musician/bartender
Best Performance: Chris Cornell's rendition of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean on March 25. Simon said: "It could have either been insane or amazing and, I have to tell you, it was amazing."
Worst Performance: Our Lady Peace's Innocent on April 8. Cringe.
Who Likes Him: Teenagers and women of all ages. Daughters, mothers, Grandma -- all can enjoy what Cook serves up.
What's to Like: Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber -- you name it, Cook can make it his own. Strong pipes aside, he's clearly passionate about his art, and -- if allowed -- would want to contribute to whatever CD he makes. Plus, he's toned down that tragic emo look he sported at the auditions.
On the Downside: He's not all that charming or enthusiastic, and it sometimes seems he'd rather talk to the media about his hairline than be on the show. It makes sense, seeing as he never planned on auditioning (he went to support his brother Andrew, who didn't even make the Hollywood round). But still.Ward's Forecast: Do I really need to say this again? Oh, fine: Cook is going to win, yadda yadda yadda. It won't be by much, but it will happen. Now let's just hurry this up already!
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