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'American Idol' Daily: David Cook's steps forward

November 18, 2008 |  7:15 am

Cook_by_mel_melcon_200 It is the final rite of the "American Idol" season: the release of the champion's first post-"Idol" album to the music-buying masses and, with it, the test of the show's ability to consistently produce pop superstars.   When the show first launched, the promise of its subtitle, "The search for the next pop superstar,"  seemed as laughable to the music industry as if "Saved by the Bell" declared it would elect the next president.

Seven years later, the industry has very much stopped laughing.  The little "Star Search" ripoff has proved its ability to churn out roughly one superstar a year (even if that superstar isn't always the show's winner).  Clarkson, Aiken, Barrino, Underwood, Daughtry, Sparks -- they've all proved themselves not just in the Idoldome, but at the check-out counter as well.  And now it is David Cook's turn.

A quick scan of early reviews seems generally positive.  In a fascinating profile by my colleague Ann Powers, largely centering on Cook's collaboration on the album with Canadian band Our Lady Peace, Powers calls Cook  "the most charmingly ambitious 'Idol' since Kelly Clarkson."

Elsewhere, she says of the album:

"Cook's specific loyalties within rock's vast landscape might be what's most interesting about him. Making his dream album, he's also refocusing attention on a little-considered corner of the genre: the literate but accessible strain that arose after the alternative-rock explosion of the mid-1990s, fitting midway between the underground and the mainstream.

"Chris Daughtry, Cook's predecessor in establishing rock as a viable 'Idol' category, made a similar move when he gave props to his favorite band, Live, on the program. Cook has taken it further, not only competing on "Idol" with songs by Our Lady Peace and Collective Soul but also enlisting a focused list of co-writers for his album, including Maida and his wife, Chantal Kreviazuk; Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls; Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin; Nixons founder Zac Maloy; and Atlanta hard rockers Injected."

The rest of the day's "Idol" news after the jump.

- Listeners to the new album by "Idol" Big Cool Friend David Foster may get a slight case of McPheever.  "Hit Man" features Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee singing  the "West Side Story" tearjerker "Somewhere."  A full-album collaboration between the two has been rumored for some time now but has yet to materialize.

- Although the two Davids seem on the brink of madness when constantly asked about their non-feud in interviews, one can't help but note that, as Cook's debut hits the streets, David Archuleta's stands at No. 3 on the iTunes albums chart, locked in a tween three-way death match with Taylor Swift and the "Twilight" soundtrack.

- Hollywood Week has ended.  For the final 50 who survived, it will be a long couple of months as they wait to be called back for the most dreaded episode of them all -- "The Green Mile" -- wherein each of the survivors learns, after having made it this far through the gauntlet, whether he or she will make it that final step into the top 24 and the the show itself. Somewhere out there, the next American Idol has some long, sleepless nights ahead.

58 days to go until Season 8!

-- Richard Rushfield

Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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