1) "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" - Why take such a rousing song and take away the rouse? He was being given an opportunity to blow the roof and instead takes away the best thing about the song and turns it into a mopey and, at times, screechy version.
2) "Dream Big" - He sang this well, but the song itself is awful. It sounded like something from the '80's. It's the kind of song you expect to hear in some 1980s movie about a group of misfit high schoolers who enter an academic decathlon even though most of them are illiterate. They perservere, however, and in the days leading up to the competition they study their nuts off. "Dream Big" would play over the montage as the kids study all over the place--at the library, a basketball court, at a grocery store, at a carwash, at the toilet. I can see it. Will they pass? What makes the song worse is that it tries to hide its treacle in a bouncy pop melody, but there's no hiding the cheesy lyrics. It's schlock.
3) "The World I Know" - Every rock star knows you don't end on a whimper, but whimper David Cook does here. He takes an already downbeat song and slows it down to a crawl. He sounds good, as usual, but it makes me fear based on his song choices that he'll be a vaguely Christian empowerment rocker. I tremble at the idea.
1) "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" - His best performance of the night, and perhaps the whole competition. He threw himself into the performance and I actually got goosebumps. The best moment, surprisingly, is when he struggles for a note because he's just singing from the gut. If anything it gives me hope that he'll move beyond the robotic element of his performing style.
2) "In This Moment" - Like Cook's song its message is pure cheese, but it embraces the cheese. Lesson: embrace the cheese. The song fit the Archuleta model for the season and he sang it well, but it's easily the most dismissible of his performances.
3) "Imagine" - The second time of anything is never as good. I was hoping he would add more to the song, but I think I was more riveted the first time he sang this. Like his other performances tonight, he was on point though.
Archuleta takes the evening, and he would be my choice to win. However, I think the winner will be David Cook.