Two Davids battle to become 7th "American Idol"

Wed May 21, 2008 2:11am EDT
 
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "American Idol"'s dueling Davids faced off on Tuesday as the two remaining finalists each performed three songs in their bid to take the crown in the talent show's seventh season.

Despite rocker David Cook's surge in recent weeks, the judges were uncharacteristically united in proclaiming early fan favorite teen David Archuleta had outperformed his rival.

"You came out here tonight to win, and what we have witnessed is a knockout," said prickly judge Simon Cowell.

Judge Randy Jackson concurred, proclaiming "the best singer of season 7 is right there," following Archuleta's rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine," a song that earlier in the competition had brought him some of his best feedback.

Cook, 25, and Archuleta, 17, each performed three times in the live telecast before some 7,000 people at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre.

One song was chosen for each by Sony BMG executive Clive Davis, who assigned U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" to Cook, and the Elton John ballad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" to Archuleta.

Cowell, who had earlier predicted Cook would triumph, firmly stated "Round 1 goes to David Archuleta."

The next set was chosen from the "American Idol" songwriting contest's top 20 submissions, with Cook doing "Dream Big" by Emily Shackelton, while Archuleta went for Ryan Gillmor's "In This Moment."   Continued...

 
<p>"American Idol" finalists David Cook (L) and David Archuleta are shown in a combination photo from files taken March 6, 2008 in Los Angeles. American Idol's dueling Davids faced off on Tuesday as the two remaining finalists each performed three songs in their attempts to win the hit talent show's seventh season. REUTERS/fred Prouser/File</p>