Ashley Lowery, Deseret News
Fans have lined the streets of David Archuleta's neighborhood with ribbons. The young singer is a heartthrob for thousands of Utahns.

David Archuleta's fans love him, but they might not want to bet on him.

Paddy Power, an online Irish oddsmaker, says "American Idol" hopeful David Cook, not Archuleta, is the man to beat in this week's finale.

The Web site listed Cook's odds at 2-to-5. (Translated for Utahns: You must bet five matchsticks in order to win two should Cook prevail as the Idol champion.)

Archuleta's odds were listed at 7-to-4. (You win seven matchsticks for every four bet.)

Another Internet oddsmaker, Bodog Life, has also tapped Cook as the prohibitive favorite. Cook's bets were paying 1-to-7 compared to Archuleta's 9-to-4, heading into the weekend. Clearly, teenaged girls and middle-aged moms aren't part of Bodog Life's business model.

All the same, Archuleta can't — gasp — lose, can he?

"Idol" judge Randy Jackson thinks Archuleta is the bomb, dawg. In an interview last week with The Canadian Press, Jackson predicted the 17-year-old would best fellow hopeful Cook.

When Archuleta sings, young girls weep. So does Paula Abdul.

Even on the Web logs of Malaysian preteens, the legions of fans scream out for Murray's David Archuleta — "AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! his voice melts my heart man!!"

Thousands of Utahns turned out last week to hear the baby-faced teen from Murray High School croon in his home state. The governor declared it "David Archuleta Day." They named a street after him.

When it comes time to vote this week, Archuleta might very well shame Mitt Romney's results in Utah. The former presidential hopeful gleaned a scant 90 percent of the Beehive State vote during February's primary election.

Still, that might not be enough. Ask Romney, who later joked, "There was a flaw in our campaign theory that as Utah goes, so goes the nation."

This is "American Idol." And here come those pesky numbers again.

Cook's songs have outsold Archuleta's nearly 3-to-1 on iTunes over the past month, according to the Web site

Some bloggers cited the recent controversy surrounding the backstage actions of Archuleta's father, Jeff Archuleta, for the singer's decline. Jeff Archuleta has been called "the stage dad from hell" and was reportedly asked not to participate in his son's song selection or be in the room while his son works on his routines.

Still others said recent on-stage flubs, including forgetting the words to a Beatles song, cost the once-favored Archuleta.

If it seems as though Archuleta is hanging by a thread thinner than the wispy hairs of Murray Mayor Dan Snarr's now world-famous mustache, not everyone is picking against Archuleta.

Vote for the Worst, an Internet site with a following that revels in keeping the show's lesser talents — did somebody say Sanjaya? — afloat for as long as possible, has thrown its weight behind Archuleta.

"The puppet and the puppetmaster have tickets to the finale where they are sure to lose against David Cook," a post on the Web site read this week. "Or are they? Can we help Gaspy overtake the obvious winner and upset America? We'll sure give it a gosh darn shot, golly gee."

In an interview last month with television critics, Donny Osmond said he would advise Archuleta to "just enjoy the process because it is 15 minutes of fame, so enjoy every (one) of those 15 minutes."

The clock is ticking, and Utahns will soon find out just how many of those minutes their idol has left.

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