American Idol took us back to the era of skinny jeans and side bangs last night with a trip to 2008. The reality competition held a special 20th anniversary show Monday (May 2), bringing back famous Idol stars, namely one of the show’s most beloved competitors, David Archuleta, who broke the hearts of teen girls everywhere when he lost to David Cook during the Season 7 finale.
A group of Archuleta super-fans went viral years ago with their tearful reaction to the singer’s loss, and while they were inconsolable in 2008, they regained their composure 14 years later when the show invited back four of the girls — now all between 24 and 25 years old — for a special surprise. Yahoo Entertainment identified the four women as Natalie Blanock, Madison Shemansky, Kellie Duffey and Natalie Burchesky.
The group got to meet Archuleta himself on last night’s episode of Idol, where they arrived dressed in t-shirts with the “Crush” singer’s face emblazoned across them. But before the group’s surprise meet-and-greet with the former teen star, host Ryan Seacrest played the famous clip of the girls sobbing and screaming over the news of Archuleta’s Season 7 Idol loss.
“That was one of the most gut-wrenching moments in these girls’ lives and they’re here with us tonight,” Seacrest said, before asking Blanock, Shemansky, Duffey and Burchesky, “Are you still fans of David?”
When the group confirmed that they still listen to Archuleta’s music and keep tabs on him online, Seacrest told them, “I have a surprise for you,” as Archuleta emerged from behind them onstage. After 14 years, the women still couldn’t contain their excitement for Archuleta, who graced the Idol stage in pop star uniform with a bleach blonde haircut and all-white outfit.
After he embraced each of his longtime fans, Archuleta greeted Seacrest, who explained that the singer had undergone vocal surgery and would not be performing, but would share a message instead. Archuleta then pulled out his phone, which relayed the message in robotic text-to-speech.
“Hi Ryan, it’s great to see you again and everyone. I have been using my phone to talk for the last two months. Thanks for creating such a fun and memorable moment for me and for everyone else. Sorry I didn’t win.”
While Archuleta made his triumphant return after being crowned runner-up years ago, the Idol anniversary show couldn’t be complete with just one David. Cook also attended the 20th anniversary show, where he performed a duet of the Cranberries’ “Dreams” with Season 8 winner Kris Allen. It was no David vs. David, but it reminded us that Idol was once must-see TV.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
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