Jim Christian: 30 years working as a professional in musical theater, currently teaching at Weber State University.
Erin Carlson: Local performer in theater, vocal coach and singer with the Disco Drippers.
David Evanoff: Professional musician who currently writes and produces music for film and television.
Did America get it right?
Christian: I think America did get it right. They really got it down to two finalists who both should have careers.
Carlson: I think they're both stellar. I think they'll both be huge stars.
Evanoff: I like it. I think it's a good contest, and they're both good singers. I think America picked well.
Thoughts on Cook
Christian: I really think that David Cook has the chops to be up there where he is. I think he's definitely got a sound that's more experienced and more worldly and, in some ways, pretty savvy in terms of understanding the market and responding well to it. He has a nice mixture of safe and dangerous he's like a bad boy you could take home to mom.
Carlson: David Cook's voice is really powerful and really good. I think he's more versatile as far as style it's quite an instrument, I wish he'd get more of a handle on it.
Evanoff: Cook has a maturity and a color and a tone. In the end, personally, I'm gonna buy a David Cook album whatever it is that he does. He could be headlining a rock band, who knows? I enjoy Cook's sound. I enjoy what he does with his music.
Thoughts on Archuleta
Christian: David Archuleta doesn't pretend to be a bad boy on any level, and he doesn't apologize for it. He just goes, 'Look, I'm sweet, simple, humble David Archuleta from Murray Utah.' He's not trying to match anybody else's styles. I think he just does what he does, and you can't argue with the purity of that voice.
Carlson: I'm kind of a fan of David Archuleta. He's going to go way far; his possibilities are endless. As far as just vocal technique, being 17, the sky is the limit with him especially when he peaks. I think his voice is so well trained, it's so clear. He's the type of kid who is going to be singing into his 80s and sound really good.
Evanoff: The sky is the limit for that young guy. He can sing, he has an amazing instrument, and he looks good. But a 17-year-old R&B-style crooner he's so young. I see him as a guy who is going to go to Broadway get him to Broadway right away, because then there's the marketability. On Broadway maybe he becomes a star.
Who will win?
Christian: I have the night off, and I might just tune in and, as a Spartan (Christian graduated from Murray High School), I might just call in and vote for Archuleta. Frankly, I believe in who the kid is and what he does. I sit through thousands of auditions a year; you hear so many voices that come close or are good, but you hear flaws. Both of these guys have voices with flaws that are negligible. There's so many people who have recording careers top of their industry with voices that are incredibly flawed. Those two guys are in the 99th percentile.
Carlson: I'm a David Archuleta fan. I think how he's being trained in the bomb-diggity. And at 17, give him 10 more years, and, oh my gosh he's a huge star!
Evanoff: Here's my guess, and what do I know? But Cook will go on to win, he's my pick. Then they'll put together some type of band, and, I think, it'll be really good, and it'll be a great-selling band.