The Idol Thunderdome

Let's talk merit for once, shall we?

Who shone like Patti LuPone last night?

I think the clear winner was David Cook, who nailed two out of three. His range surprised me on the Roberta Flack chestnut "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". (I was a little freaked by that woman standing in the audience, staring at him raptly until I learned it was his mother. For a while I was thinking "Stalker alert. Call security.")

And Cook was also excellent on "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" which has been both a country and pop hit. Well, at least he was good on the verse. He kind of fell apart on the chorus.

His only real falter last night was the Switchfoot cover, but mercifully this was the shortest rendition in Idol history. What did that song last? 25 seconds?

In second place was the other David -- Archuleta. He went one for three, the gem being (what a shock) the song Paula selected for him.  But we have to deduct points for that Wizard of Oz moustache the mayor of his Utah town was wearing.

Pulling up the rear, was Syesha Mercado. What can I say? She wears a gown well. And her voice is strong. She'd be perfect entertaining troops in Bahrain at a USO show. But an American Idol? Not in this century. 

For more of my thoughts on last night's Idol, go to: