- 10.06.10 - 10:30AM
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- Daniel D'Addario
David Archuleta, Wikipedia's Most-Edited Music Star, and Either a Tenor or Baritone
David Archuleta, American Idol runner-up in 2008, has become in 2010 the subject of a Wikipedia free-for-all, where the facts of his personal history and his career are up for grabs. On the "most edited pages" list for Wikipedia articles, his article sits at #91 – very high for an artist who's been on the scene for two years, especially as Michael Jackson is #115, Barack Obama is #110, and Lady Gaga falls outside the top 5,000.
Yes, young David – only 19, though soon, perhaps, even that will come up for debate – is the object of much Wikipedia speculation. While many of his entry's edits are minor, some questions arise again and again.
"He sings in the baritone range. But thank you for the input. =)"Is Archuleta a baritone, for instance? Or a tenor? The nation had perhaps moved on, but Wikipedia's speculation on Archuleta's Talk page gives an idea of the uncertainty that persisted throughout the spring of 2009. Users Aznality and Greg D. Barnes – with some interlopers – exchanged some tough talk and posturing about who knew music better. It all began on February 12, 2009, when Aznality declared, "Archuleta is Baritone, not Tenor. I'm positive about it."
He should have known that simply declaring knowledge, even about so cherished a subject as one's favorite teen singer, wasn't enough for Wikipedia, and Greg D. Barnes put him in his place sharply, six days later: "Tenor. But I won't add it until I find a source." And then it was on, in a fight fueled by claims of expertise and studded with passive-aggressive emoticons. Aznality said a day later:
Keep in mind that Archuleta's Idol season was by then a year removed.What makes you think he is a tenor? Doesn't require a source in my opinion. Just ask musical experts. On idol, I've never heard him go higher than a G4 (C5 to be considered a tenor). He sings in the baritone range. But thank you for the input. =)
Archuleta-tenor-gate had many twists in loyalties: Greg D. Barnes, in an unsigned comment, abandoned his need for sourcing and embraced random speculation. "David is 18-not at his vocal peak. By the time he's in his 20's I'm sure he could hit C5. Anyway in OPERA you do need to hit C5. This is POP music--a little different." Banjeboi, an editor of Wikipedia unable to detect sarcasm in print, provided a link to a Vulture article that speculated about Archuleta's "little-heard raspy baritone" on a rap album. By the time the conversation tapered out, Greg D. Barnes was posting fan-made videos "so user Aznality could see that he could sing a C5." Barnes had won, anyway – Archuleta is cross-referenced under "American tenors," though neither the word "tenor" nor "baritone" is to be found elsewhere on his page.
Is he Honduran, or is he Basque?The vocal-type debate has been settled between Barnes and Aznality, but there's always something new to debate in Archuleta fandom. The ethnicity debate is a perennial: unsigned or –sourced comments haunt the Talk page; a section headed with "Where Is His Honduran Nacionalty" declares: "Is Unfair that Only Put His United States Nacionality!!!!!" And then there are the even-more-explicit fans: an unsigned comment from October 2, 2010 asks the Wikipedia editors to do advance work on Archuleta's new album, The Other Side of Down:
Confidential to Wikipedia reader at IP address 18.104.22.168 – the most satisfying edit is the one you make yourself! In August 2009, a user edited the Talk page section "WHAT?!!!!!!!!GAY???" The change they made? "I ANNA KNOW HIM MORE JUST ABOUT HIS PERSONALITY AND HIS REAL IDENTITY....................." became "I WANNA," etc. The rest remained the same, though it's since all been deleted.Hi. It's October 2010. When was his main/cover picture taken? lol I like this picture and it should be kept in the article, but since a new album release is in, well a matter of days, a new picture(s) would make this even better. Thanks!
Perhaps this is just the new way fandom is expressed. In the absence of sourcing – which is to say, in the absence of much serious media coverage – Archuleta fans are creating their own reality, a world of debate that brings them closer to their idol, and their idol closer to the center of the web. Jenny Haley, a writer for Fansofdavid.com, indicated that the debates are just ways of showing love: "I believe that any hard-core Archie knows what comprises David's ethnicity (his mother is Honduran, and as his career unfolds, he has been identifying more and more with his Hispanic roots) and whether or not he is a tenor or baritone (David is definitely closer to tenor, but his voice encompasses such an amazing range, the question of classification is really inconsequential)." It's all sound and fury – signifying that, at least on Wikipedia, Archuleta's the most important man in music.
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