'American Idol': the final two

The Baltimore Sun

So this much is for certain: A David will be the next American Idol.

Last night, Florida actress Syesha Mercado was sent packing after striking out on her final two songs. The 21-year-old didn't do herself any favors with her choice of a hammy version of Peggy Lee's "Fever," but it was the Idol producers who supplied the death blow - a bizarre up-tempo number from the dancing penguin movie Happy Feet. Seriously.

Her exit leaves sensitive Missouri rocker David Cook and wholesome wunderkind David Archuleta of Utah to battle it out in next week's glitzy season finale.

The 25-year-old Cook, who has made a name for himself by shrewdly reworking classic songs, is the favorite of top judge and pop Svengali Simon Cowell. But at 17, the cute-and-cuddly Archuleta seems to have the screaming tween and grandma votes locked up, making him almost a shoo-in for the Idol crown.

This will be the first female-free Idol finale since Season 2, when big boy Ruben Studdard won the title over the nebbish Clay Aiken.

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