Nope, not Fantasia's awesome hair. Nope, not the fact that Ruben Studdard was really 9 feet tall in person. Actually, it didn't even happen on the red carpet. It occurred backstage in the press room, and I call it the David Personality Shift.
The two David's made their way to a podium to answer a few questions. First came the Cookster, who just 30 minutes earlier was crowned America's Next Top Clive Davis Slave. We were all expecting him to be over the moon with excitement, or maybe he'd still be crying like he was on TV. (He did, after all, just win a crazy-popular reality show.) But, nope. He waltzed up to the mic, mumbled a few words about his music teacher, then politely smiled and walked off. A few of us turned to each other and said, "He knows he just won, right?" Was it dawning on him that it might be tough for him to break out of the "Idol" mold? Or maybe it just hit him that his first single was a steaming pile of goo? Or, most likely, he was just damn exhausted, and would rather chill with his family (standing backstage waiting for him) than answer silly questions about fashion accessories. (Yes, stupid tabloid reporter who drove everyone nuts. I'm looking at you.)
Conversely, there was ArchuRunnerUp, who haters bashed for his awkward "gosh's" and giggle fits. Several of my co-workers have been "creeped out" by how he often acted like an eleven-year-old boy, as opposed to a seventeen-year-old dude. Well, based on the few minutes I witnessed in the press room, Archuleta was a shockingly mature, well-spoken young man. He finished all his sentences; he didn't gasp for air more than John Goodman on a staircase; he didn't shrug and turn away from the camera like a Harajuku girl. In other words, he came off like the complete opposite he did while on the telly. And he...had...tons of personality! Where was this Archuleta all season long???
Could it be that losing "Idol" was the best thing that could happen to this kid's emotional growth? Was he just freezing on camera all season because of the intense pressure? (Or was he just relieved to finally get away from Seacrest?)