"Idol" fans see Archuleta winning: E-Poll/Reuters

Tue Apr 8, 2008 3:01pm EDT
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" fans say baby-faced crooner David Archuleta will win the No. 1 television show's current competition, even though they picked rival David Cook as the most talented performer, an E-Poll/Reuters survey found.

As the top-rated U.S. TV talent show entered one of its most-watched weeks when it hopes to raise $100 million for charity on its "Idol Gives Back" program, fans were showing plenty of love for the two Davids.

Archuleta, a 17-year-old native of Utah, was voted the likely winner by 40 percent of "Idol" viewers polled, according to the survey by E-Poll Market Research on behalf of Reuters.

Anointed the man to beat by judge Simon Cowell after he sang John Lennon's "Imagine" in February, Archuleta tied rocker Cook as the one whom viewers wanted to win, with both getting 25 percent of the vote.

But Cook, 25, who has reworked 1980s dance hits such as Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and Lionel Richie's "Hello" into edgy, slow-burning rock songs, topped Archuleta 31 percent to 27 percent when it came to proving his talent beyond just singing.

Irish-born belter Carly Smithson was ranked third most talented followed by folksy Brooke White, Aussie Michael Johns, dreadlock-sporting Jason Castro, country girl Kristy Lee Cook and Syesha Mercado.

Past winners such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and even those who didn't win such as Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry, have gone on to successful music careers.

"American Idol," which is hosted by Ryan Seacrest, pits singers against one another in a months-long competition for a professional recording contract.   Continued...

<p>Finalist David Archuleta from Murray, Utah poses at the American Idol Top 12 party honoring the finalists in the "American Idol" television reality series in Los Angeles, California March 6, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>