DAVID COOK WINS AMERICAN IDOL. Simon Was Wrong; Richie Havens Is Spinning in His Bong

ETA:  6:45p. PT sort of live blogging here:  My friend Linda is watching the east coast sat. feed and just called to say, "the girls [Idol female finalists] just sang a Donna Summer number and they were walking in a circle and none of them can move.  It’s hysterical.  They all walk like truckers!" 

ETA: 6:59p. PT - OMG!  DAVID COOK WINS!!  

(And can I just say.  Tape Delay!  It’s the Internet Age, people!  There has to be a better way. By the time shows crawl their way to California, we’ve read it all on the east coast blogs anyway.)

The AP said it wasn’t even close:
With a record 97.5 million audience votes cast by phone and text, the split between the two contestants was 56 percent for one David and 44 percent for the other, host Ryan Seacrest announced at the start of the show….

ETA:  writes NJ Star-Ledger’s Alan Sepinwall who was live blogging -  The accountant certifies the results, Ryan wishes them both luck, and the winner, by 12 million votes, is David Cook!!!!!! Sorry, gonna be impartial for a second. Yes!!!! A total breaking-the-mold choice, proof that you can show actual musicianship and creativity on this show and succeed, and, perhaps best of all, a repudiation of Randy Jackson….justice is served. How ’bout that?

yeah.  Mary pumps fist in air.

So how did Simon Cowell and most of the media pundits get it so wrong, wrong, wrong?

Posted earlier today before tonight’s finale

DialIdol, the tracking service that keeps tabs on busy signals, predicts that David Cook will win tonight’s competition. Aaron Barnhart says DialIdol "began predicting Idol winners in season 4. For the past two seasons DialIdol has determined a clear vote leader beyond the margin of error — and both times it was dead-on. " 

Archuleta seems so incredibly gracious and sincere and generous and he cries at the drop of a hat, but his singing is too saccharine for my taste.  David Cook is my guy because he rocks.

But there’s a little piece of my heart reserved for Archuleta, America’s sweetheart.  Cook is America’s rocker.  Voters have a real choice in this competition.

A Cook win would be a true shock, especially after the media pundits piled onto the internet last night and declared Archuleta the hands-down winner.  Tonight’s Idol finale was starting to feel oh, so anti-climactic.  I wasn’t even sure it would be worth watching.

Simon Cowell led the way last night by saying that Archuleta delivered the "knockout punch."  Simon criticized Cook’s third and last choice, "The World I Know."  Astonishingly, Simon told Cook that the choice was a mistake and suggested he should have reprised his cover of Chris Cornell’s cover of  “Billie Jean.”

My twenty-something daughter didn’t relate to Archuleta’s bubblegum pop style and his anachronistic retro Elton John selection vs. Cook’s more contemporary "The World I Know" by Collective Soul.  "That’s one of my favorite songs!" she declared as she grabbed her cell phone to text in her vote for Cook.

Voters voted for the winner based in part on their own music preferences and younger viewers might identify with Collective Soul.   Cook’s choice could prove to be prescient.  Considering the body of Cook’s work over the entire season, he trumps Archuleta. 

Does anyone else think that Simon’s musical tastes are growing a little, um, stale?  A few weeks ago he selected out Roberta Flack’s 70’s hit "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for Cook to sing. 

Archuleta reprised John Lennon’s "Imagine."   The judges loved it the first time out, so he was guaranteed a good response.  It seemed like a choice that was far, far too safe.   And, I think, that was the point David Cook was trying to convey when he defended his third round choice to Simon. “This show is about progressing. Why should I do something I’ve already done?” he asserted.

In my book, Archuleta lost that round by playing it safe for the very last song of the competition.  But none of the judges called Archuleta on it.

My thoughts (FWIW) on the finale - tape delay live blogging.  grumble.

Good:  David/David duet. 

Bad - torturing the audience with shameless cross -promotion of "The Love Guru."   Mike Meyers, you’re better than this.

Bad - Syesha and Seal.  eek.  I used to love Seal.  What up with Mr. Klum?  Another blogger said Seal forgot the lyrics. 

REALLY BAD:  The Ford ads featuring the the Idol finalists.  (Where’s that new iTunes ad featuring Cold Play)

omg!  really bad…The Donna Summer bit.  My friend Linda was right.  The girls have trouble navigating the stairs and singing at the same time.  and poor Donna sings off key a bit  and then there are the professional dancers break dancing in front of it all.   A mess.

but good :  Syesha and Donna together.  Syesha looking killer gorgeous in that red dress

Hot but… Carly Smithson and Michael Johns singing Box Tops "My Baby Wrote Me A Letter."  what up with all these retro pop tunes? 

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel on Fox Network?  Is there something we don’t know?

Nice number with the guy finalists and Bryan Adams (who was here in San Francisco last night performing).   ohhhh, yum.  Bryan Adams.  He’s still got it goin’ on.  and thank heavens - a good basic number, not overproduced.  just Bryan and his guitar and the guys as backup. 

omg!  the worst.  the American Idol theme park.

Omg! David Cook singing "Sharp Dressed Man" with ZZ Top.  Who among us in our youth has not cranked up the DVD player, and driven down Ventura Highway fast (and sometimes a wee bit high) to that music?

Graham Nash and Brooke White "Teach Your Chidren."  lovely harmonies but…we’re back to the sixties again.  Still - one of the great songs of sixties.  

Oh, there it is, finally.  The iTunes ad featuring Cold Play’s newest Viva la Vida

oh, definitely the highlight of the evening:  :)  David Cook in his underwear singing Bob Seger’s "Old Time Rock And Roll" in a Guitar Hero ad.

"Keep clapping those hands. C’mon."  The Naked Brothers Band. with screaming teenagers strategically placed up front.

sigh.  I don’t know if I can take much more of this…Renaldo, a rejected contestant who dresses as Liberace and sings completely off-key, is paired with a brass band and gets his 15 minutes of fame.  This is the kind of television content that makes me want to turn in my TCA badge and move off-grid.

There’s that ladies Venus razor ad which I’ve seen a dozen times.  It has five blades.  Scary!

OneRepublic sings "the smash hit - ‘Apologize’".   Okay - something contemporary.   ohhh - David Archuleta joins in.  great song for him.  Sings it better than the original. 

Last years’ winner, Jordin Sparks, is here.   bless her heart,  just doesn’t seem to have the star power.  I suppose they’ll drag…

Oh, there’s the Cold Play "Viva la Vida" iTunes ad again.  A good break in the action.

"Dad and Grads HD movie event…Get it when you sign up for the Comcast triple play."  hmmm.  Is Comcast tossing out special deals now that AT&T is in town?

omg!  definitely fabulous.  forget Carrie Underwood.  Best of The Night so far:  the faux Gladys Knight and the Pips  "Midnight Train" bit.  But the backup singers are Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey Jr. outfitted in blue 70’s leisuresuits -  pumping their arms in the whoo, whoo train whistle, shaking their fingers in unison.  Black loses his pants and stumbles around.  Download the vid on iTunes and proceeds go to charity.

Here’s the vid they used as their model:

Gosh, Fox is really pushing JJ Abrams’ new fall series, Fringe.  This is the second long and lavish promo I’ve seen for this show.  (The pilot cost an estimated $10 million.)

Oy.  The finalists are back.  My husband wanders in and groans, "all this candy music!! over rehearsed and over produced."  It’s almost over, I assure him.  They’re singing "Freedom."

"Richie Havens is spinning in his bong!" laments my husband, alluding to the Woodstock anthem written by the venerable Havens.

George Michael is up now.  "The London police let him travel?" quips my husband.  Paula Abdul sobs.

After the break - "A New American Idol!!"   Let’s time the break!  It’s now…9:52:30p PT  first, a coke ad.  now an AT&T Wireless ad.  Now, Kung Fu Panda.  (Jack Black rocks, they say.)   Ashton Kutcher in a Nikon commercial.   Iron Man (starring Robert Downey) now playing.  (That’s what they call synergy.)  Fox Sat. baseball.  Channel Two evening news, KTVU.   A promo for So You Think You Can Dance.  A Ford Focus ad about the GPS user interface.   end - 9:56:30

Judges give their final thoughts, just like their old thoughts.  Paula is "so proud."  Simon wants to congratulate both of them and admits on second thought the competition wasn’t quite so clear cut the night before and..apologizes! to David Cook because, Simon admits he "verged on disrespectful."  

Simon - you were disrespectful.  but kudos for apologizing.  Thus, I removed my headline asking if you were an old guy who didn’t get it.  (You may have guessed that Cook was the winner and maybe you were cya but still….you apologized.  We appreciate that.)

and that’s it - by 12 million votes - David Cook.  awww.  David Archuleta is so gracious.  Cook breaks down and can’t face the camera. His brother who started it all is there.

Fini.  Until next year.  Whew!