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David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American pop singer-songwriter. At ten years old he won the children's division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances. When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol. In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

In August 2008 Archuleta released "Crush," the first single from his self-titled debut album. The album, released two months later, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart; as of June 2009, it had sold over 725,000 copies in the U.S. and over 900,000 Worldwide.

Early life

Archuleta was born in Miamimarker, Floridamarker, to Jeff Archuleta and Lupe Marie, a salsa singer and dancer. He speaks Spanish. Archuleta's mother is from Hondurasmarker, while his father is of Spanish, Danish, Irish, German, and Iroquois descent. Archuleta has four siblings. Archuleta's family moved to the Salt Lake Valley, to the city of Sandy, Utahmarker, when Archuleta was six. He currently lives in Murray, Utahmarker where he attended Murray High Schoolmarker. Archuleta is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.

Archuleta started singing at age six, inspired by a Les Misérables video. "That musical is what started all of this", he said. He started performing publicly at age ten when he participated in the Utahmarker Talent Competition singing "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton; he received a standing ovation and won the Child Division.

Musical influences

Archuleta's mother is from Hondurasmarker, and much of the music he listened to as a child was Latin-influenced including watching his mom sing at events with her sisters. She also "was big on dancing" according to Archuleta, and would "make" him dance to traditional music with his older sister. He also listened to jazz music, he said, from his father's collection as well as gospel, pop, rock and "soul music." In a later interview, he revealed that his father was a jazz musician. Archuleta also said he enjoys Broadwaymarker musicals.

On his American Idol "Fast Facts" page, Archuleta cited his musical influences as Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin and Bryan Adams. When he listed his top pop music artists, he cited Natasha Bedingfield, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, Kirk Franklin, and Robbie Williams. Like Elliott Yamin and another singer he admires, John Mayer, Archuleta tries to infuse his pop selections with a soulful vibe. In a Seventeen interview he cites Sara Bareilles as a clever singer-songwriter he looks up to.

Star Search

In 2003, at age twelve, Archuleta sang on several episodes of the television show Star Search. He ended up as the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2, Losing the Junior Grand Champion title to Tiffany Evans. On one episode, he sang against then-11-year-old Alexandréa Lushington, who became a "top 20" semi-finalist on American Idol alongside Archuleta. Around the second year of being on Star Search he started focusing on the lyrics, "I didn't even pay attention to the lyrics when I was 12, 13".

Archuleta's competing on Star Search led to appearances on The Jenny Jones Show and CBS' The Early Show, and meeting the finalists from American Idol's first season, for whom he performed a spontaneous a cappella rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls, and received enthusiastic praise from Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson. The year after Star Search he found out he had partial vocal paralysis but declined risky surgery and has said he feels he is almost fully recovered. He limited his singing for specific occasions likeStadium of Fire, the Independence Day celebration at Brigham Young Universitymarker Stadium.

Archuleta made initial attempts at songwriting and arranging music after his Star Search experience and has written at least three songs. His first singles in 2002 included "Dream Sky High" and "Don't Tell Me".

American Idol

Archuleta won his ticket to the Hollywoodmarker final auditions at the San Diegomarker tryouts - held at Qualcomm Stadiummarker at the end of July 2007 - with a performance of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" with judge Randy Jackson spontaneously joining in to sing the background "waiting" in the song. He was sixteen during the Hollywood auditions and attended school while a part of American Idol's seventh season. His parents were there because he was a minor. Archuleta also took advantage of the decision to allow contestants to play musical instruments when he accompanied himself on piano for his performances of "Crazy", "Another Day in Paradise", and "Angels".

During the 1970s themed week Archuleta sang the John Lennon song "Imagine", omitting the earlier verses in favor of the last one. Los Angeles Times columnist Ann Powers speculated that he wanted to avoid singing "no religion too" because of his faith. "As a Mormon, he's unlikely to espouse the song's agnostic ideal," she wrote. However, he did sing the entire song on Good Things Utah when he was thirteen. When asked by judge Randy Jackson why he didn't sing the first verse, Archuleta said the third verse was his favorite because it has "a great message."

After his performance of "We Can Work It Out", which judge Simon Cowell called "a mess", Entertainment Tonight reported that Archuleta was feeling pressure from his father, Jeff Archuleta, who "reportedly yelled at" his son after a recording session the previous night. Jeff Archuleta, in an interview with Us Weekly, denied the claim. A May 2008 Associated Press article reported that Jeff Archuleta had his son add a lyric from the Sean Kingston song "Beautiful Girls" into a rendition of "Stand by Me" (from which "Beautiful Girls" samples its bass line), increasing the costs for licensing, and that this had resulted in Jeff Archuleta being banned from American Idol backstage rehearsals. David defended his father calling him "a great guy" who keeps him grounded.

During the Top 7 results show, the contestants were split into two groups. In one group was Syesha Mercado, Brooke White, and Kristy Lee Cook. In the other group was David Cook, Carly Smithson, and Jason Castro. Archuleta was the only one not sorted into a group. He was declared safe after the groups were formed, then was asked to choose the group he thought was safe. He refused, and sat down on the floor of the stage, much like Melinda Doolittle had done the previous season.

In the finale he sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "In This Moment" and "Imagine". Judge Simon Cowell declared that Archuleta won the evening and even David Cook, who ultimately won, thought Archuleta would win: "I have to concede it, the kid came out all three songs and nailed it", said Cook. In the final tally, Archuleta received 44 percent of the votes. During the finale show, identical commercials featuring Archuleta and fellow finalist Cook mimicked the Tom Cruise scene from Risky Business where he dances in his underwear playing an air guitar; they were promoting the game franchise Guitar Hero.


Week Theme Song(s) Original artist
Auditions N/A "Waiting on the World to Change" John Mayer
Hollywoodmarker N/A "Crazy" Gnarls Barkley
Top 50 N/A "Heaven" Bryan Adams
Top 24 1960s "Shop Around" The Miracles
Top 20 1970s "Imagine" John Lennon
Top 16 1980s "Another Day in Paradise" Phil Collins
Top 12 Lennon/McCartney "We Can Work It Out" The Beatles
Top 11 The Beatles "The Long and Winding Road" The Beatles
Top 10 Songs from birth year of contestants (1990) "You're the Voice" John Farnham

Top 9 Songs of Dolly Parton
(mentor: Dolly Parton)
"Smoky Mountain Memories" Dolly Parton
Top 8 Inspirational Songs "Angels" Robbie Williams
Top 7 Songs of Mariah Carey
(mentor: Mariah Carey)
"When You Believe" Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston
Top 6 Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber
(mentor: Andrew Lloyd Webber)
"Think of Me" The Phantom of the Opera
Top 5 Songs of Neil Diamond
(mentor: Neil Diamond)
"Sweet Caroline"
Neil Diamond
Top 4 Music of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "Stand by Me"
"Love Me Tender"
Ben E. King
Elvis Presley
Top 3 Judge's Choice (Paula Abdul)
Contestant's Choice
Producers' Choice

"And So It Goes"
"With You"

Billy Joel
Chris Brown
Dan Fogelberg

Finale Clive Davis's Choice
New Song
Contestant's Choice

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
"In This Moment"

Elton John
Written by Ryan Gillmor
John Lennon


Fans dub themselves "Archies" or "Arch Angels". Archuleta has attracted a wide demographic of fans including both teenage girls and boys. Archuleta was labeled the front-runner after the first few weeks of performances by both the judges and the media because of his "pure, pop voice", which helped him build a large fan base during the competition.Billboard magazine's Fred Bronson notes "David fills a spot where there's a void. He has innocence and humility." Los Angeles Times' Richard Rushfield noted that the "tween/teen girl hysteria" has only increased. Rushfield commented on some of the girls who were standing in the front of the audience: "An hour after the show, they were still shaking, sobbing and screeching about their encounter with the Chosen One [Archuleta]."

Post-Idol career

Archuletta had his first taste of chart success with the three songs he performed in the American Idol finale; "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "In This Moment", and "Imagine", debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of June 7, 2008. "Imagine" entered at #36 (giving Archuleta his first top forty hit), "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" at #58, and "In This Moment" entered at #60. That same week he landed three songs on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart as well, where his versions of "Longer", "Think of Me", and "Angels" debuted at #15, #19, and #24 respectively.

In July 2008 So You Think You Can Dance, a dance competition reality show, Archuleta's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon was the featured music for contestants Katee Shean and William Wingfield with their pas de deux performance.

Archuleta signed with Jive Records in June 2008. His self-titled album, David Archuleta, was released on November 11 2008. Archuleta's first single "Crush" was released on August 1, 2008 on Z100marker, a New York radio station. On August 12 "Crush" became available on iTunes. It debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, beaten only by Rihanna's "Disturbia". It was the best chart debut in more than 18 months. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the track sold 166,000 downloads in the first week in the United States. It has sold 1.83 million digital copies in the US.
Along with American Idol winner David Cook, Archuleta placed second on Forbes' list of "Breakout Stars of 2008". The two co-presented an award at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards in August 2008. Archuleta also received the Teen Choice Award surfboard for "Most Fanatic Fans".

Since the release of his debut album, Archuleta has released three new songs: "Let's Talk About Love (The Build-A-Bear theme song)," "Save the Day," and "Zero Gravity." In February, it was announced that Archuleta will be touring the United Kingdommarker supporting English band McFly on their "Up Close...And This Time It's Personal" tour. The tour began on April 21, 2009 and continued until May. Archuleta became the opening act for Demi Lovato's tour which began June 21, 2009.

In April 2009 he made his first UK television appearance, on the Paul O'Grady Show, performing "Crush" and chatting about his album, which was released there in May. In May Archuleta and fellow American Idol David Cook, visited the Philippines. Two days later he made live appearances on two of GMA-7's shows, Sis and Eat Bulaga. He also confirmed that month that he was working on two new albums, his sophomore pop album and a Christmas album. In August 2009, Archuleta won three Teen Choice Awards for Breakout Artist, Love Song, and the Music Tour category with Demi Lovato. In September he won the Year in Music - Rising Male Star award at the ALMA Awards and performed a cover of Christina Aguilera's Spanish song, "Contigo En La Distancia."

Acting debut

Archuleta made an appearance as himself for his acting debut on Nickelodeon's show iCarly titled "iRocked the Vote". The episode aired February 7, 2009.

He had also made a special guest appearance in Season 3 of the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana In the episode "Promma Mia" as himself and he sang a duet: "I Wanna Know You" with Miley Cyrus who plays the title character; the song was featured on the soundtrack, Hannah Montana 3.

Chords of Strength

In addition to his song-writing and fall 2009 Holidays concert tour, Archuleta is writing a memoir tentatively titled Chords of Strength, a "reference to the partial vocal paralysis he suffered in 2004 but has now fully recovered from".


Archuleta is teaming up with Do, along with the Dunkin' Brands Community Foundation, to help willing teenagers make a difference in others' lives with disaster relief. He is also one of several teen celebrities taking part in Do's Teens for Jeans charity initiative, which donates denim to homeless teenagers nationwide.



Awards and nominations

Year Presenter Award Result
2008 Teen Choice Awards 2008-Most Fanatic Fans Won
2008-Best Smile (Post Show) Won
2009 Teen Choice Awards 2009-Breakout Artist Won
2009-Music: Love Song (for "Crush") Won
2009-Music Tour Won (with Demi Lovato)
Alma Awards 2009-Music Rising Star Won



  1. (issue of November 29, 2008).
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. Archuleta, Jeff. Twitter update. 2009-05-25.
  5. [3]
  6. * * * * *
  7. [4]
  8. The performance of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" wasn't aired due to licensing issues with American Idol and the original artist(s).
  9. John Farnham released "You're the Voice" in 1985; it was re-arranged and released as a cover version by David Foster with vocalist Jeff Pescetto in 1990. Archuleta was born that same year so was able to use it for the week's theme - "Songs from birth year of contestants".
  10. [5]
  11. [6]
  12. [7]
  13. [8]
  14. Print Email Font Resize Archuleta returns to Utah for holiday concerts, David Burger, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 November 2009.
  15. [9]
  16. [10]
  17. [11]

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