- Reuters -
Other former contestants who have capitalized on their fame include Chris Daughtry, who has a successful recording career; Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar for the movie "Dreamgirls"; Fantasia Barrino, who starred in "The Color Purple" on Broadway; Clay Aiken, who appeared in "Spamalot" on Broadway; Taylor Hicks, due to appear in "Grease" on Broadway, and Tamyra Gray, currently appearing in "Rent" on Broadway.
- Press of Atlantic City -
For the first time since Ruben Studdard beat out Clay Aiken in Season 2, the finale will be a mano-a-mano contest pitting Utah teen David Archuleta against Missouri rocker David Cook.
- Associated Content - David Archuleta to sing "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me"?
Rumor also has it that David Archuleta will be singing Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." I like this song choice. It's more upbeat than the slow inspirational ballads he likes to sing. The song is not too "big" for him, and it will give him a chance to show a lighter side. My only concern is the Clay Aiken comparisons that could potentially follow.
- phillyBurbs -
So, what does Idol have to show for itself on the cusp of tonight’s finale? Well, on the one hand, we have a younger, less talented, more robotic Clay Aiken who will have a difficult time finding radio play in the real world and who will probably be racing cars with Malcom in the Middle in five years’ time. On the other hand, we have the producers’ great white hope for the New Daughtry, who has a very nice voice but picks really crappy songs when left to his own devices. And who has come to be a one-trick-pony over the past few weeks.
- Grand Rapids Press -
"Archuleta seems robotic to me, like a Stepford Son," said DeSelms, adding his voice is unquestionably solid. "It's like the only album of Clay Aiken's I would listen to is his Christmas album, because I like Christmas music. I don't know that I would listen to a David Archuleta album."
- KCCI - "But a second-place finish doesn't necessarily signal defeat. The runner-up usually gets a shot at a record deal, too, and in the case of singers like Clay Aiken, goes on to great success."
- Reality TV Magazine -
Hicks is just the latest in a line of American Idol participants to score a gig on Broadway, post-Idol. Fantasia Barrino starred in The Color Purple, while Clay Aiken nabbed a recent role in Spamalot. Diana DeGarmo had a run in Hairspray, and Constantine Maroulis got a Broadway gig in The Wedding Singer.
- Kansas City Star -
Archuleta’s career path seems pre-ordained. After proving himself to be strong balladeer of romantic and inspirational songs (and not much else), he looks headed for a career that resembles Clay Aiken’s and Josh Groban’s.
- MidWest Voices of the Kansas City Star -
David Cook, the heartthrob of Blue Springs, is about to make a ton of money -- even if he doesn't win "American Idol" tonight. Maybe especially if he doesn't win.
Cook could follow in the footsteps of other musicians who didn't win the ultimate title, but still have done well in the industry. They include Clay Aiken and Chris Daughtry.
- New Jersey Star Ledger -
Meanwhile, David Cook was unexpectedly pulling off a brilliant Clay Aiken impression, complete with an outstanding makeover and a consistent streak of giving the most -- and sometimes only -- memorable performance each week.
- OC Register -
The season that started in January with the usual assortment of horrendous auditions and promising newcomers has winnowed down the talent until we are left with the first all-male finale since Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken in the second season.
- Montreal Gazette -
Then there were two on American Idol (Fox, CTV - 8 p.m.): David vs. David, Cook vs. Archuleta, man vs. boy, the rocker vs. the balladeer.
Some music critics are saying the final may be the most intriguing karaoke showdown since Clay Aiken faced Ruben Studdard. Potentially even greater, though, since Aiken and Studdard were both balladeers. "Archie," as David A.'s detractors call him, and David C. couldn't be more different.
- Calgary Herald -
And so, it has come to this on A merican Idol: David vs. David, Cook vs. Archuleta, the 25-year-old vs. the 17-year-old, man vs. boy, the rocker vs. the balladeer.
Music critics - well, some of them, anyway - are saying the final has the potential to be the most intriguing karaoke showdown since Clay Aiken faced Ruben Studdard five years ago to this day (May 20, 2003).
- Daily Vanguard -
Regular comparisons between Cook and former American Idol contestant turned wildly successful frontman Chris Daughtry all seem appropriate and are telling of what trajectory Cook's career could take. (Archuleta is more reminiscent of the apparently still popular, but easy-listening Clay Aiken.)
- Philly.com -
Saving David A.
I haven't forgotten the Davids, the latest rivals to divide the two "Idol"-watchers in our household.
My younger son, whose fondness for David Archuleta appears to be as deep as his early (and ongoing) devotion to Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks, doesn't care to talk about my preference for David Cook.
- Detroit Free Press -
Winner: Broadway musicals, which have become a career opportunity for "Idol" alums like Fantasia, Clay Aiken, LaKisha Jones and (soon in the "Grease" revival) Taylor Hicks. Most likely to join the list next is Syesha Mercado, who was practically dragged to the exit by the judges and flown to a "Rent" audition.
- Desert News -
But there was some controversy over the voting, which would later see the voting procedures changed, Studdard went up against the super-popular Clay Aiken. Aiken, surpassed in sales by only Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, has become the most successful male and most successful runner-up in "Idol" history, and he made his Broadway debut this year in "Spamalot."
- Desert News - "Clay Aiken, Season 2 — Starring in Monty Python's Spamalot."
- Austin360.com -
The Associated Press believes the contestants are to blame, calling them “good but not memorable.”
We have to agree. Where’s the Sanjaya? The Clay Aiken? The Fantasia? You get the idea.
- Daily Herald -
For the most part, the six previous "Idol" champions have been embarrassments. Attempts to launch Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks as established talents have flopped, and what records they sell -- along with Clay Aiken and other "Idol" also-rans -- have largely been due to "Idol's" own self-promotion. Jennifer Hudson might have an Oscar, but ask yourself, would you go out and buy an album by her on the day it was released?
- Hartford Courant -
The action moves to the larger Nokia Theatre in Hollywood for the final performances by the finalists on "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.), pitting young David Archuleta against Midwestern rocker David Cook in the first all-male finale since Ruben Studdard vs. Clay Aiken in Season 2 — and the first all-David finale. The winner will be announced Wednesday.
- meeVee -
Some observers say rocker Cook would be better off if he loses to teen ballad singer Archuleta, because then Archuleta would have to spend the next year singing whatever crap the "Idol" brain trust puts on his plate, while Cook would be free to craft his own career, a la Daughtry and Clay Aiken. The two previous male "Idol" winners, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks, haven't exactly lit a fire artistically or on the charts compared to those two also-rans.
- USA Today -
Archuleta and Cook are locked into the tightest sing-off since Season 2's Clay Aiken-Ruben Studdard bout, Idol's most-watched finale and the only other to feature two male finalists.
- Belleville News-Democrat -
But few rose to cult favorites, and none of them had the “it” factor – positive or negative – of former contestants such as Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kellie Pickler or Fantasia Barrino.
- Orlando Sentinel -
How do you like those insights? It isn't always about winning, is it? And we have the fine examples of Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler to remind us that the "Idol" crown isn't everything.
- BuddyTV -
Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken has sold nearly 5 million albums with his four records, while that year's winner, Ruben Studdard, is at just under 3 million with three albums. Head-to-head, Clay's debut album outsold Ruben's by nearly one million copies. Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks sold just over 700,000 copies of debut album, which doesn't even put him in the top 10 for American Idol contestant record sales.
- Foxes on Idol - Clay Aiken charts with new album -
Clay Aiken’s fourth album, On My Way Here, hit the Billboard charts this week. The CD, which is Clay’s first album of original material since Measure of a Man, sold 94,000 copies and debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200, #3 on Top Digital Albums, and #1 on Top Internet Albums.
- redOrbit - Taylor Hicks going to Broadway -
The Alabama-born crooner's run ends Sept. 7. He'll be the latest "Idol" to hit Broadway, following runs by season-three winner Fantasia Barrino ("The Color Purple") and a host of also-rans including Clay Aiken ("Spamalot"), Diana DeGarmo ("Hairspray") and Constantine Maroulis ("The Wedding Singer").
- Something That Really Happened - some thoughts on OMWH -
After spending the last two weeks listening to Clay Aiken's new album "On My Way Here", I can truthfully say that I am still very impressed with it. His vocals are stunning. The production features and showcases it beautifully. The songs are varied in tempo and style... and are just really great songs in of themselves. Truly a very enjoyable album.