American Idol Guys In David Archuleta's Dust Today

It's only the second week of competition on American Idol since they narrowed it down to the top 24, and waaaaaay too early to be predicting a winner. But after Tuesday night's performances, among the boys at least, there is definitely a strong frontrunner -- none other than

17-year-old David Archuleta.

More on David in a sec. Tuesday night, the top 10 guys stepped on stage

for their second week of performances. This week, they could pick anything

from the 1970s, a decade Randy called one of the greatest in music history,

but I call one of the cheesiest. Maybe it's just me, but I think just about

EVERY song from the '70s sounds like karaoke material.

"American Idol's" Top 10 Boys Perform 

Aside from cheesiness, if there was one unifying theme Tuesday, it was

low key. Everything seemed quite subdued, and a scant few of the

singers really rocked the house, despite having Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie

Brothers and Queen to work with. No surprise then that the boys who

did up the tempo came out on top.

So how'd they do? Here's my take.

THE TOP 3:

David Archuleta: Far and away number one. After last week's stellar

performance, David earned cheers before he even took the stage. He sang

"Imagine" by John Lennon, and really put his own spin on it. I didn't even

realize what he was singing until a few lines in. The vocals were fantastic,

he looked great, and didn't miss a beat or a note. If I didn't know better

I'd say he's already a pro. David has to be the odds-on favorite right now,

despite how early in the competition we are. Randy said it was one of the

best vocals he's ever heard on the show. Paula was almost moved to

tears. And Simon said he's the one to beat. He still seemed a little

uncomfortable on stage after the performance, but that has nothing to do with

his singing, now does it?

David Hernandez: A strong but not super-close second. David

number two rocked the house with "Papa was a Rolling Stone." Like David

number one, he put his own spin on it, which really helped. And he

nailed the end notes. It didn't hurt that he followed a slew of

mediocre performances. Randy gave this David the first official "hot"

of the night. Paula called it "perfect." And Simon called it the best

vocals of the night, although he hadn't seen Archuleta at that point.

Chikezie Eze: After last week, never in a million years would I

have predicted Chikezie would be in my top three this week. But he killed

Donny Hathaway's "I Believe to my Soul." It was the kind of performance you

expect from a serious Idol contestant. Randy gave him a "hot"

and a "blazing." Paula chimed in with her ubiquitous "fun." Simon

agreed he was a million times better than last week. Chikezie has also

clearly lost some weight since his Idol audition, which must be

helping his confidence. For the second week in a row, he traded barbs with

Simon, coming across as slightly obnoxious.

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK:

Luke Menard: Sang Queen's "Killer Queen." I personally love this

song, and thought Luke did an okay job, but it was very low key. Not a lot

of energy. Randy wasn't blown away and kindly pointed out that Queen is

tough to sing. Paula thought it was okay. Simon thought it was a mistake

for Luke to try Freddie Mercury.

Robbie Carrico: In his pre-show interview, Robbie insisted he was

an authentic rocker, but his rendition of "Hot Blooded" left me a

little lukewarm. He didn't add any originality to the song or the

performance. Randy put it best when he said he kept "waiting to be wowed."

Paula thought he played it safe. Simon actually thought the vocals were

okay.

Danny Noriega: Is it just me, or does anyone else think that

Danny is trying to be this year's Sanjaya? He is definitely trying to be

more flamboyant, shall we say, than his fellow Idol-ites. Noriega

dished out a little Carpenters' "Superstar." Like last week, I thought it

was a very karaoke-esque performance. Randy said it looked like Danny was

"thinking" too much while performing. I couldn't understand for the life of

me what Paula said, and I tried, I really, really tried. Simon thought this

week was better than last and that Danny stands out because he looks terrific

on camera.

David Cook: Is it just me, or does anyone else think that David

is trying to be this year's Blake Lewis? Not with anything as gawd-awful as

beat boxing, but just in his appearance and demeanor. Cook tried to rock us

by playing electric guitar and singing "All Right Now." Frankly, the guitar

didn't do much for me, and because the song doesn't have much range, I

thought the performance was flat. Randy liked it, however, and thought he

was "rockin'." Paula thought it was fun too. Simon called it "solid," but

said he lacks charisma. That prompted a snarky comment from Cook about not

having to impress Simon. What's with everyone back-sassing Simon? I know he

doesn't vote anymore, but he is one of the show's producers.

THE BOTTOM 3:

Michael Johns: The first singer of the night, he came out belting

Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." Oh my, I thought he butchered the

high notes. It sounded like he was screaming at us, not singing. Maybe I'm

just too used to Lindsey Buckingham singing the song, but I thought this was an uninspiring

performance to say the least. Randy called it not his best. Paula mustered

up a compliment of "consistent." Simon said it was his weakest performance

yet, and a weak song choice.

Jason Castro: Give Jason points for playing guitar, but not much

else. Jason sang "I Just Want to be Your Everything." I didn't think it was

horrible, but again, it was low key and uninspiring. Randy actually called

it "karaoke" before Simon did. Paula said she wants to see Jason perform next

week without his guitar. (If he survives, Paula.) Simon thought the song

was a horrible choice and that Jason was "out of sorts."

Jason Yeager: You couldn't envy the fact that Jason Yeager

followed right behind David Hernandez, who had just brought the house down

with the first grand performance of the night. Yeager tried to keep it going

with a little Doobie Brothers, "Long Train Runnin'," but fell short. He

looked comfortable enough on stage, but his dancing was fairly atrocious.

More importantly, his singing was mediocre at best. He never really rocked

it. Randy didn't think it was the right song, and called it "karaoke" for

the second time of the night. Paula thought it was a lousy song selection.

Simon called it "awkward and ordinary."

A quick side note: At the end of the show, Ryan thanked the judges, but

didn't mention Simon. Almost intentionally. Are they having a "lovers'

spat" of some kind? You know, Ryan, the Idol contestants might not

have to worry about what Simon really thinks, but I'm pretty sure he can fire

you.

Next up, the top ten girls with their picks from the cheesiest decade in music history.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.