David Cook’s win and Idol’s seventh season generates theories, speculation, more boredom

So, American Idol 7 is finally over, the ratings are in, and now it’s time to curl up into a ball and forget all of this ever happened. But before we do that, what did we learn this season? What does it all mean?

New York Magazine suggests that “David Cook’s surprise landslide victory over the more-orthodox presumed winner David Archuleta suggests that a majority of even the fans most engaged with Idol (i.e., the ones voting) might finally be sick of the show’s long-standardized forms and conventions … And the fact that he beat Archuleta — the living embodiment of everything the show’s ever been up to this point — is a clear sign to producers that it’s probably time to change the formula.” [New York Magazine]

On the opposite end of the spectrum, MSNBC’s Craig Berman suggests “the seventh season of ‘Idol’ will go down as one of the best in the show’s history, and better than anything ‘Idol’ has come up with since season four,” in part because “its best two singers actually made the final.” [MSNBC]

Along those lines, there are other arguments about whether or not the show is relevant. It’s either possibly “more relevant than the Oscars” Los Angeles Times], has “fallen into predictability” [The Boston Globe], or is an example of “democracy in action.” [New York Times]

Why did David Cook beat David Archuleta? Theories include the cougar vote [AP], viewer demographics plus Cook’s demeanor [AP], and Archuleta’s “creepy stage dad” and the fact that “America hates a front-runner” [MTV News]. Everyone’s trying to explain the victory, even people who don’t have anything to say. Slate subheads its story “How David Cook won,” and then offers nothing but inane rambling from Katherine Meizel instead of an actual theory. [Slate]

Whatever the reason, David Archuleta took the loss gracefully and humbly (no surprise there), and seems to be an altogether nice guy, saying in a post-show interview, “It’s just, you know, finally great to be able to just start performing and be an artist. … How can you be disappointed?” He’s also allergic to a metal bracelet he was wearing during an interview. [Entertainment Weekly]

In other news, product placement works: 78 million text messages were sent during the season, AT&T says, an increase from the 64.5 million sent last year. [AT&T press release]

Finally, a writer from the L.A. Times was “the first journalist ever allowed to observe rehearsal’s for the show’s finale,” and while his report shows that a lot of work clearly goes into the finale, the story proves nothing more than the fact that rehearsals were just as boring as the actual finale. [Los Angeles Times]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.