David Cook and David Archuleta sang on American Idol‘s final night of competition Tuesday — and judge Simon Cowell claimed Archuleta was the winner after three rounds. “You came out here to win,” he told the 17-year-old, “and what we have witnessed is a knock out.” But Cook, 25, earned plenty of praise from the audience and the judges. Here’s a rundown:
Round One: Clive Davis Song ChoiceCook performed “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2. Randy Jackson said it was a great way to start off the night. Simon thought he was “phenomenal.” Archuleta came out swinging with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John. “It was one of the best performances of this whole season,” according to Randy. His performance left Paula Abdul with her heart pounding and “chills up and down my arms.”
Round 2: New Song Contestant ChoiceSinging his pick from the 10 best entries in Idol‘s song writing competition, Cook performed “Dream Big.” Paula said it was, “a great way to take a song we don’t know and fall in love with it.” But Simon said it “didn’t feel like a winning moment.” After his second song, Paula and Randy agreed that Archuleta could sing anything — including the phonebook — but he chose “In This Moment,” which Simon said was definitely the better song choice.
Round 3: Contestant Song ChoiceCook’s performance of “The World I Know” by Collective Soul earned him a standing ovation from Paula. But Simon, who called him, “one of the nicest, most sincere contestants we’ve ever had,” thought it was “completely the wrong song.” Achuleta wrapped up the night with an encore performance of “Imagine,” which left Paula speechless. “You are exactly what this show is about — finding the best singer we can find,” Randy said. “And the best singer of season seven is right there.”
Tell us: Who had the best performance of the night? Who did you vote for? Who deserves to win American Idol?Frank Micelotta/FOX