Paula Abdul wants to hang front-runner David Archuleta’s headless body in her car

If he wasn’t already the obvious front-runner, David Archuleta’s performance of John Lennon’s Imagine was gave him front-runner status on American Idol 7 last night.

“Dog, that’s one of the best vocals I’ve ever heard on this show,” Randy Jackson (who else?) told him. Simon Cowell said, “Right now, you’re the one to beat, and there are 19 very miserable contestants sitting here tonight, trust me, after that.”

Paula Abdul has been mostly tame this season, and even though she appeared totally together and with it last night, basically said David was so cute she was going to have to kill him: “David, you are ridiculous. I wanted to squish you, squeeze your head off, and dangle you from my rear-view mirror,” she said, tears streaming down her face. “You are, no, honest to god, that is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and one of the most moving performances I’ve ever heard.”

About the only other male performer to receive universal praise from the judges was David Hernandez, who improved from his mediocre performance last year. David Cook also sang well, but when Simon Cowell criticized his charisma, became bitchy (and not in the charismatic Danny Noriega way) and may have opened the door to his own exit. All of them sang songs from the 1970s, following last week’s 1960s theme. What on earth could be the theme next week?