At the core of everything Archuleta is The Voice. For those of us who connected with this phenomenon early on–in some cases from the very first note of the very first audition–the sheer magnetism of the instrument was enough to dismiss every other aspect of this goofy kid’s inaugural public persona: the awkwardness, the inexplicable grinning, the almost suspicious kindness, and of course the all but unbelievable humility. And yet, these remarkable incongruences quickly became part of the charm.

Just as soon as there was an appreciation there was also a knowledge.This knowledge was perhaps confined to the early adopters, to the Original Archies, who had a distinct and tangible sense that beneath the Ivory-scrubbed exterior of a sweet, sheltered Mormon boy lied the heart of a true artist — not just an entertainer.

What these recent weeks have so thrillingly revealed is that this initial sense of depth and breadth was not a mirage. Day by day, city by city, song by song, heart by heart, David has emerged as a voice. Not just a voice for the interpretation of song, but a voice for the communication of self, and the way in which self can transcend individuality and connect with universality; the way in which self can stand as a testament to principle, without having principles define the self.

David has also without effort or preconception charmed the most allegedly cynical entertainment pundits of our time–people like Elvis Duran, Jay Leno, and even the famously intransigent Kathy Griffin. This is no accident. Neither is it an intention. It is simply the miraculous consequence of true authenticity.

David’s voice is both entirely other than who he is, and precisely at the center of his being. That makes his life an unusual one. If the past year is any indication, we are all in for a series of astonishments. Some of them will astonish David himself, because David’s deepest understanding of the world is undoubtedly through his music. And that will make for interesting evolutions indeed.

One of the wisest and most compassionate things David has ever said is that his fans are as much a part of this journey as he is. Let’s make certain that we provide enough pillows and blankets and cheers and sighs and just plain friendship. And love.

For The Voice.