Duel or Duet? Part 1

David Archuleta joins Ryan Tedder/One Republic for "Apologize."

Is there anything more potentially cringe-worthy than a duet? It often seems the two singers are duelling not duet-ing. Chalk up one point to the better singer; one to the better looking, or the more famous. And, more often than not, there’s no chemistry, which can made it uncomfortable to watch.

But sometimes it goes like this … A young man steps on stage with a cool confidence. A hint of a swagger. His sparring partner is armed with a piano, a number-one hit and the respect of his peers.

The young man uses the only weapon he has — a powerful, emotive voice that lifts the song into an anthem. He is more than an equal on that stage. It is the first time he shows the world that he is taking ownership of his talent. He is in charge. His rich, almost haunting voice blows away the ghosts of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Dolly Parton, and sends an important message — I am relevant, Simon Cowell. Truth is, David lifted Ryan Tedder 10 feet off the ground that night.



Hero: David2

There was a lot of indignation among David’s fans about his “Hero” duet with Cook. There were cries that our David didn’t get to sing enough; that the song was deliberately chosen because it was better suited to Cook’s voice.

What I saw was a young man not yet comfortable in his own skin on stage; someone who literally and figuratively looked up to Cook; but someone who took what he was given and made sure that song was remembered as a duet — not as a Cook performance.

If you listen (without watching), it is clearly David’s voice that pushes back the walls in the Staples Center. He breathes power into the song and provides a steely backbone to which Cook is able to attach his tin-like vocals.

And when Cook sings the wrong word (“That world never change,” instead of “came”), a hint of a grin appears on David’s face. Priceless.



HYAMLC: David and Lupe Archuleta

HYAMLC has become one of my favourites of David’s Christmas songs.  The duet on the CFTH album was good; David singing it solo in Santa Rosa was special when he truly made it his own; then in San Francisco — a show I attended — came a surprise.  I heard the crowd give a collective gasp and start to cheer, which almost totally drowned out David’s introduction of his mom, Lupe, before I saw Lupe walking onto the stage.

How lovely to witness the love and affection between them.  Their voices blended beautifully and in wonderful harmony.  Lupe’s vocal runs at 2:50-3:10 on the video show where David might have learned/inherited this aspect of his talent. He may have picked up on Lupe’s lovely relaxed stage presence, as well.  They built the song well and the last chorus was outstanding.  Two-armed hugs after the song and David’s huge grin as Lupe exited the stage said it all!  A song to remember. I recommend just listening – many nuances to be savoured. [And check out his impromptu HYAMLC duet with his talented, but nervous, Aunt Char in Waukegan, IL, HERE; notice how he protectively guides her with subtle gestures, looks and a supportive hug.]


…Stay tuned for Part 2!…

P.S. A big thank you to Rabid for our snow-tastic new banner! Hope you all feel the snowflake love!

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52 Responses to Duel or Duet? Part 1

  1. KathyH says:

    This was FUN! Can’t wait for part two.

    I’ve never actually been able to listen to the David-squared videos. Too hurt a the time, I guess. But it is nice to hear now.

    After hearing David duet with several people, I’ll say this: If I could sing and needed a duet partner, he’d be my pick. He sings beautifully and is very generous to his partners.

  2. awestruck says:

    Sunshine – right on…v”It often seems the two singers are duelling not duet-ing… and, more often than not, there’s no chemistry, which can made it uncomfortable to watch.”

    I go back and listen to this quite regularly, have always loved how David fit himself into One Republic’s song, yet managed to distinguish himself at the same time.

    KathyH – you are so on the money when you said that David is very generous to his partners… always tempers his own voice to match his duet partners’ intensity.

  3. refnaf says:

    Thanks sunshine and awestruck! David’s duet with Tedder is one of my faves, it certainly thrilled me at first viewing on AI… love the ending when he seems to come out of a trance.

    The Hero vid is not one I have watched much!! (don’t care to see DC’s seemingly arrogant look) But again David is a generous partner like KathyH says…and makes ift bearable, lol

    Awestruck, lucky (or blessed) you are to have seen David perform with his mom, Adore this vid, love just gushing off the screen… *sniff*

  4. TOfan says:

    “But sometimes it goes like this … A young man steps on stage with a cool confidence. A hint of a swagger.” Your words brought back the chills I felt that night. I didn’t know it was going to be a duet and I remember getting goosebumps when David walked out with that “swagger” … then when he not only held his own but knocked it out of the park, you’re right, he lifted Ryan & all of us “10 feet off the ground that night.”

    I’m with you KathyH, I’ve had a hard time with Hero! lol

    Awestruck, what a special duet/moment to experience in person. I, too, love the welcoming roar Lupe gets when she walks on stage. David must have loved that too!

  5. TOfan says:

    okay, I did it … Watched Hero. 😆

    I’m with the conspiracy theorists about the song being chosen for Cook’s range over David’s. LOL

    Loved the sign in the crowd tho’ … “David Archuleta is our hero” *sniff*

  6. emmegirl says:

    Great post! I hope he gets a chance to do many duets. I think he could literally duet with anyone, and it would be amazing – partly due to God-given talent and partly his artistic abilities and sensibilities that make him a great partner. He can make everyone he sings with sound better, (or is it just that it sounds better because he is part of it?) When he sings with someone else you notice even more how distinctive and rich and full and true his voice is.

    The Apologize was amazing, first time they allowed us to really see David in this light. What he did under not so favorable circumstances regarding Tedder (if memory serves) was utterly remarkable.

    I liked the Hero duet just because I thought there were moments when they sounded good together and there were moments (the few they gave him) his voice just soared, even though David pretty much (out of respect, I believe) gave that one to Cook.

    Awestruck, Mom duet, still tops…will make you smile even on your worst day. And Aunt Char duet, adorable. He takes care of those on stage with him.

  7. emmegirl says:

    TOfan, I am with the conspiracy theorists on any issue when it comes to AI! It is as scripted as any sitcom (and not just the year David was in it.)

    I watched every minute of every show one year
    (don’t have to tell ya which one!) And haven’t watched a minute since, except one performance (don’t have to tell ya which one!)

  8. TOfan says:

    LOL, emme, I think we watched the very same minutes of the very same shows, and those only!

    I have to say that I got the same feeling watching Hero as I did watching David on stage with the “Soul Man” Sam Moore in Miami (the way he deferred to Cook; and with Moore, the way he slipped off-stage and back to his seat) … as much as I wanted him to win Idol, I think I now understand why he didn’t. He didn’t want it enough. He doesn’t live and die for the spotlight the way Cook does, or even Jordin. He lives and dies for the music, and the music alone.

    (That doesn’t mean that I’ve let go of my A.I. conspiracy theories … au contraire! 😆 )

  9. beebee says:

    Sunshine! I hadn’t thought about how cringe-worthy duets CAN be, but slap David into the equation and it’s rendered not just 100% cringe-proof but 100% luscious. 🙂

  10. Kizzi says:

    Sunshine – great observations and insights. Hadn’t thought about duets in light of dueling before. I loved this…”His rich, almost haunting voice…” Haunting is a word I hadn’t considered before but so descriptive. And he is stepping into his power…really fun to watch and hear the growth and changes. Can’t wait for part 2!

    TOfan – conspiracy theory? I can never figure how so many people who would be needed to execute the conspiracy could be kept silent afterward.

    Emmegirl {{{{waves}}}}

  11. KT says:


    I love this post as I have really enjoyed his duets and I appreciate the walk down memory lane. I have watched the DC duet before and recall Cook saying it was his recommendation to the producers.

    In my opinion, for David, it is ALL about what makes the best music and how best to honor the music. He has stated and his actions support the fact that he is not competitive. That lack of competition especially applies to music. I remember in an interview that David talked about the duet with Charice and mentioned how he wanted to honor the song and not be about one person out-singing the other (rough translation).

    Kathy you make a great point and he is generous to his partner and you can see this repeated in every duet.

    I was cracking up during the end of NA deux when Jordin grabbed David’s hand and raised it up…I thought she was going pull his arm from the socket due to the height difference and her exuberance!

  12. awestruck says:

    emmiegirl – Yes I too have noticed how “When he sings with someone else you notice even more how distinctive and rich and full and true his voice is.”

    Such a unique voice and yes, haunting is a good word for his voice too Sunshine – I missed that on the first read.

  13. conditioner says:

    haha, As usual, by the time I get here it has all been said! :), but I did want to say I enjoyed reading this Sunshine and Awestruck!
    I remember how uncomfortable it was to watch how emotionally exhausted David seemed that night(actually even more so the night before, after giving 200% to each of his performances), but when he came out and sang with Ryan it was pure Joy to watch! and yes, he is almost TOO polite with his duet partners, so typical of his humble and selfless personality.
    Oh, how I adore this amazing boy who is quickly becoming as equally amazing a man right before our very eyes!!

  14. pam05 says:

    Loved your write up, he’s so respectful of other performers and not wanting to up stage anyone. I’ve gotta give him props for that! Duets are all about blending and complimenting each other in harmony and he does this beautifully.

  15. ram says:

    I like that- “haunting” as a description of his voice. It does not leave you for a long time after you hear him sing. And it’s got this universal and cosmic echo that is so ….sorry can’t even find the words.

  16. awestruck says:

    ram – I don’t think that there is one word or even group of words that can adequately and completely describe David’s voice… it sticks in my mind – haunts my mind (in a good way)…

  17. silverfox says:

    Oh I love this!

    But no matter who David duets with..HE is the one we focus on. The other half of the duet is rendered almost irrelevant. I know that’s mean…

    Ryan & Cook who????

    Looking forward to part 2..and,

    apologizing beforehand to Jordin & especially David’s mama…cause I only had eyes for David on those duets too. Just couldn’t help myself. 😀

  18. TOfan says:

    KT, I noticed that “boxing ring” arm raise too. She almost lifted him off the ground! LOL

    yes, David’s respect for others … in singing and in life … make him ideally suited to the give-and-take teamwork of a duet. Can’t imagine any of his vocal pairings ever ending up a “duel” … not from his end, anyway.

    “universal and cosmic echo” … LOVE that!! I imagine his voice reverberating through the galaxy! … and beyond! 🙂

    {{{SF}}} “But no matter who David duets with..HE is the one we focus on. The other half of the duet is rendered almost irrelevant.” I know only too well what you mean, but in Apologize, for example, I thought Ryan’s strengths inspired David to up his game and maybe vice versa … with us being the beneficiaries! Wowza!

  19. djafan says:

    Sunshine and Awestruck…

    Watching the Apologize duet is so bittersweet. David did so well…I remember thinking after when learning about AI giving him a hard time with song choices, I realized why, he would have out sang everyone in every genre, probably why they never showed Crazy from Hollywood week.

    Anyways he is the perfect duet singer IMO. Waiting for part II.

  20. beebee says:


    “I only had eyes for David on those duets too. Just couldn’t help myself.”

    Uh. I hear you. 🙂

  21. TOfan says:

    David’s new blog HERE.

    Here’s one of his “songs of the day” … Toronto’s Lights:

    David makes the NY Post’s “10 Best Hollywood Week Performances” list HERE:

    “David Archuleta, ‘Heaven’
    Simon Cowell didn’t care much for David Cook, but when time came to critique David Archuleta’s version of “Heaven,” the man with a million words was at a loss for most of them. Much like the backup singer who cries throughout the 16-year-old’s heartfelt performance.”

  22. awestruck says:

    Really liking the new banner at the top TOfan!

  23. Sunshine says:

    Awestruck – thank you for the lovely first-hand account of David and Lupe’s duet. They both sounded so earnest in their wish for everyone to HYAMLC. No duelling there – just an unbreakable bond.

    David is the perfect duet partner because he seems to acquiesce to his partner, while going above and beyond to hold up his end of the bargain in the vocal department.

    I’m glad you all enjoyed the (as KT put it) walk down memory lane.

  24. TOfan says:

    Thanks, Awestruck! It was created by the amazingly talented Rabid!

    FYI, the picture of David was taken at the ChumFM event in Toronto last December … last time he was here in Canada. *sniff* … And brings more snow, just in time for the Winter Olympics! 🙂

  25. stenocruiser says:

    Absolutely love the new banner! Yeah Rabid!

    Speaking of the Olympics, I love the CTV theme sung by the amazingly talented 15-year-old Canadian jazz singer, Nikki Yanofsky.

    Just imagine David singing an inspirational song, as only he can, in Vancouver — a dream.

  26. beebee says:

    I ❤ Rabid. Rabid, where ARE you these days? *looks at ceiling* Are you in here? I lurrrrve your snowangelz banner! Indescribably delicious! (as always!)

    Speaking of delicious, Awestruck, we're so fortunate to have those performances with Lupe (and his aunt!) captured on video. Such treasures.

  27. refnaf says:

    AInow interview..

    Album may come out in the spring!!! …

    Part 1

  28. refnaf says:

    okay… I am too excited and don’t know how to embed…
    David talking about the songwriting process… wow.

  29. beebee says:




  30. TOfan says:


    Here’s Part 2:

    Part 3:

  31. TOfan says:

    Last Part (4):

  32. TOfan says:

    Man, what an awesome interview, this part gave me chills:

    After singing other people’s songs and interpreting them, “now that I’m going into writing the songs and creating them, I’m able to just be, you know … instead of interpreting, I’m just being.

  33. TOfan says:

    You can download the whole amazing Derek Sheldon interview here (credit @latinarchie):

    An encouraging tweet from @DerekSheldon I will talk 2 his PR but I will have @davidarchie book tour question answered 2morrow latest friday…BUT im quite sure it will happen!

    Spring single? Book tour? *spazzes*
    … I couldn’t resist tweeting this: @DavidArchie If you’d like your book to be a bestseller, create an audio book version with you reading it aloud. Gr8 4 the vision-impaired.

    … also great for the drought-impaired! 😆

  34. awestruck says:

    Lots happening in archuworld today… is spazzing contagious?

  35. awestruck says:

    I love that picture of Ryan Tedder and David – I think they really pushed each other singing Apologize. And, did you notice the judges giving him his one and only standing ovation – Paula first, then Simon, then Randy?

    Book Tour? A tweet from Derek Sheldon:

    I will talk 2 his PR but I will have @davidarchie book tour question answered 2morrow latest friday…BUT im quite sure it will happen!

    Book Tour!?!

    Spazz attack!

  36. awestruck says:

    Duh just copied TOfan re book tour…

  37. Josie says:

    Hello my snowangelz!!!! I have missed you all terribly, but real life calls and makes me put my ODD on hold…but only temporarily.

    LOVED THIS POST! I really loved David’s duet with Tedder. Whether or not the stories are true about Tedder ( I really could care less), David’s voice (yet again) take over the entire song and you realize that it’s a magical moment. I didn’t really listen to HERO either because I don’t mind Cook, just his voice. But this listen was a pleasant surprise. I also love to think how far David has come in 2 years and all that we have to look forward to: As in SPRING????

    *head falls off with Beebee*

  38. Josie says:

    Well, I am rather rusty posting – I failed to proof read my comments. Lemme try this one more time and see if I can make a little sense:

    I don’t mind Cook, but I don’t care for his voice.


    xo ♥

  39. TOfan says:

    awestruck, LOL, that book tour tidbit was worth a double posting!! 🙂

    And, yes, did notice that triple standing-O … Randy & Paula were probably dying to give him one earlier but had to wait till it was all over except the tears (ours!).

    {{{Josie}}} dont’cha hate when real life butts in? lol

    I’m still spazzing over that amazing interview … I’m so impressed that Mr. Sheldon went to the most knowledgeable source for questions & tips … David’s fans! And then told David what great fans he has and that we love him … his aw-shucks chuckle but melted my heart.

    Along with the “I’m able to just BE” part I quoted above, also loved this:
    “I wanna show people who I am, to the best of my ability. I don’t wanna try to be something I’m not just to impress them.”

    If his whole book’s like that, it better come vacuum-packed with tissues.

  40. awestruck says:

    Hey TOfan where did you get that pic in your avi and up top on the sidebar?

  41. refnaf says:

    I am just beginnning to think about the book…. It may be chock full of archuwisdom. Will we dissect every chapter?? It will be the ultimate online book club me thinks…

    How talented are David fans? Rabid is!! Thank you so much for the new banner ♥

    Steno!! Some day I think David will sing at The olympics, at least I hope so too. He could do it with such emotion, gah need new music (think spring)

    Archiefandoc!! Is that you!!! Duet 101 FTW!! lol

    Josie we’ve got an oil can… no rust here!


    Awestruck… mmm book tour> shall we `make it a road trip??

  42. KT says:

    OK this is a little off topic but this is exactly how I feel…sorry TOfan…I didn’t take embedding 101 yet!

  43. KT says:

    OH MY Heck a magic embedder

  44. awestruck says:

    refnaf – road trip… you’re on (starts putting pennies away)

  45. awestruck says:

    KT – oh boy – Is that guy for REAL? Thanks for the laugh (though I am not laughing at all the trouble that much snow will cause).

  46. Kizzi says:

    Hi SAz! (Josie that includes you–hugs!)

    Just buzzing thru catching up on the interview and the great and wonderful SnowAngelz…and speaking of buzzing, did you see this cute piece on MTV Buzzworthy Blog

    S++t You Need To Get: David Archuleta ‘Be The Change’ Calendar To Help Combat Multiple Sclerosis

    Tooooo cute!

    Here —–> http://bit.ly/bqOfHA

    TOfan – I was about 150 miles from Toronto this am. It was snowy and brrrrrrr………but now I’m at home at 27 degee Florida – no snow, but WT??? Might as well move to Canada – lol 😀

  47. TOfan says:

    LOL (not funny for you, I know) but that weather dude, ROTFLMAO! 😆

    Kizzi, 27 F? in Florida? yikes (27 C would be nice right now tho’). Thanks for the link.

    MTV FTW!!! I love the 1st line, “Every time you turn around it seems like David Archuleta is doing something good for the world.”

  48. TOfan says:

    FOD is doing a live chat with Dapo Torimiro right now at: http://www.blogtv.com/people/FOD

    So far, he’s raved about David’s talent, honesty, purity and compassion, he said “David’s voice makes every song enjoyable.”

    Check it out!

  49. KT says:

    Yes that guy is for real…that is how he does all his weather segments. He is funny and he made me laugh!

    During this storm I had to remind myself that perspective is important. While it is certainly more snow than I have ever seen in my entire life I certainly didn’t have it bad. I had lights, heat, food and all the comforts of home. My cousin sent me a message about a man who was just found under a fallen building in the Haiti earthquake and that quickly put everything into perspective compared to my little inconvenient week.

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