David Archuleta may have endured the harsh criticism of the original American Idol judges on his way to second place on season 7 of the singing competition in 2008, but the hit singer/songwriter is glad those following in his footsteps are facing a more compassionate judging panel.
Archuleta, whose new Christmas album, "Winter in the Air," is being released Nov. 2, told PopCulture.com that he thought the 2018 revival season of American Idol was "great."
"I thought it was fun," he explained. "It was slightly different, but still kind of the same."
When asked about the noticeably more sensitive judging style of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, Archuleta told PopCulture, "That's what I noticed. I was like, 'No more [Simon Cowell] is, I think, kind of nice, because there's already so much stress and you already have everyone else judging you and critiquing you. So to have more people critique you on live television is stressful."
Joking that in the past watching the judging portion of Idol triggered a kind of "PTSD" from his own experience, the "Christmas Every Day" artist said he thought it was "nice" that the contestants "could have more support this time."
"And everyone there, all the judges, were musicians themselves, so I think that's why they understood it a lot better," he added. "They know the mistakes that can happen. We've all forgotten lyrics, we've all made errors, so it wasn't so much like, 'You have to be perfect!' It was a lot easier to watch."
And despite it being totally out of his comfort zone, Archuleta told PopCulture he would definitely return to Idol as a guest judge if asked.
"I think it would be fun to be like a little, guest judge, but I hate critiquing," he admitted. "I just don't like critiquing people and all that. It stresses me out. I'm not even competitive. So I was like, how on earth did I get runner-up on a competition, because I am not competitive."
He added, "With that aside, I think I would push myself. Just like writing 'Christmas Every Day.' Like, it wasn't something I thought I could do but I did. So think being a judge is being constructive and helping someone improve would be an awesome experience."
"I love the happy Christmas songs just because it brings back a time, just when I'm like driving down the street and it's snowing and people are happy," he told PopCulture. "So I was like, 'I want to write a song that will help people feel happy.' That same mood. Like, I wonder if I could sing a song that people would be like, 'I'm gonna play the David Archuleta song to get me in the Christmas mood and just be happy and cheery.'"
"I decided I was gonna have fun, something like 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' or 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.' And as I was driving to the studio, I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I can pull this off. Maybe I should just back off.' I was like, 'I have this melody, I don't know if it's good enough,'" he continued.
But with the help of Dave Barnes and Cason Cooley, Archuleta said he was able to balance the more traditional pieces he put on the album, including "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "In the Bleak Midwinter" and original songs like "He Is Born," with a song that really captures the joy of the season.
"Winter in the Air" is scheduled to be released on Nov. 2, and fans can purchase tickets now for his Christmas tour, which begins Nov. 26. Tickets are available here.
Photo credit: Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic