Archuleta -- in leather pants! -- made Paula Abdul proud when he performed first on Mariah night, singing "When You Believe." Randy Jackson thought it was "the bomb," and later Simon Cowell told Ryan Seacrest, David had "stolen the show."
But that was before David Cook sang.
Cook, whose fresh rock arrangements of iconic pop songs have been favorites throughout the season, selected "Always Be My Baby" and -- based on the crowd's reaction and the judges' feedback -- was a sensation.
Paula told Cook the version could be in a movie soundtrack. Simon called it, "original," "daring," and "a breath of fresh air." Randy, who stood up for the first time this season, said it was the "most brilliant performance yet."
Randy wasn't the only one giving a standing ovation. Cook's 36-year-old brother, Adam, who suffers from brain cancer and made the trip from Indiana to see Cook perform (he sat in the front row next to Teri Hatcher) with a medic and a nurse.
• Carly Smithson, singing "Without You" in purple, sounded "loosey goosey," according to Randy.
• Simon told Brooke White, who sang "Hero," she was "like ordering a hamburger and only getting the bun."
• Kristy Lee Cook's "Forever" gave Mariah goose bumps and blew Paula away, but Simon wasn't feeling it.
• Jason Castro and Syesha Mercado were stuck in the middle with mixed reviews from the judges.
Tell us: Which contestant had the best performance on Mariah Carey night?Frank Micelotta/FOX