American Idol, See Ya Syesha

If there's one contestant on American Idol (aside from the eventual winner) who is pretty much guaranteed to get a record deal, it's got to be Syesha Mercado.

That may be little consolation for her this morning, after getting the boot last night.

So close, and yet so far.

Syesha earned the fewest votes this week, leaving us with a David Archuleta versus David Cook finale. The Idol equivalent of a subway series, at least in name.

But Syesha has plenty of reason to be proud. She really stepped things up a notch or two over the last few weeks. It's what kept her in the competition while other "assumed finalists" like Carly Smithson went home weeks ago.

And Syesha's dazzling performances of late have set her up just fine for a lucrative career. I have little to no doubt she'll be signed to a record deal. Heck, she might even release an album before this year's winner manages to get one done.

Still, she didn't deserve to go this week. David Archuleta should be catching a flight back to Utah this morning. But we learned weeks ago that this season of Idol is nothing short of a popularity contest. Next week, we'll just be voting for a prom king. A student body president. It'll have nothing to do with how David A. or David C. actually sing. Just how much people like them.

If it sounds like I'm bitter, well ... I guess I am a little bit. I was kinda hoping for a Brooke White versus David Cook matchup. Or maybe a Syesha-Cook showdown. Not David Archuleta.

Sure the kid can sing, but he just doesn't have that Idol aura. He's too young, and silly, and goofy, and he gushes too much at every teen girl's scream from the audience.

Unfortunately, he'll probably win the whole thing. Most critics and bloggers crowned him the winner after week one. But since then, I've seen a different side of David emerge. The one that still needs to grow up a little bit, and maybe get out from underneath a reportedly overbearing father.

But the bottom line is, it's a David-vs.-David world and I'm just living in it.

Syesha's gone, but she'll be just fine I think. So will whichever David comes out on the losing end.

A couple of other Idol notes:

Former Idol winner Fantasia returned for a very animated performance. I mean really animated. Simon had the strangest expression on his face. Like someone gave him a wedgie.

We got to see each of the contestants return to their respective hometowns. Cook, Archuleta and Mercado all went home to entertain a sea of screaming fans, thank former music teachers, get a key to the city ... all that kind of stuff. It's actually kind of weird to see them treated like full-fledged stars. I mean, are the top three on Idol really deserving of such accolades yet? None have even recorded an album of their own, but they're being honored as if they have a lifetime of achievements.

Finals next week folks. Better study. See you then.

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