I was not a huge fan of David Archuleta during his tenure on American Idol‘s seventh season. Sure, as Randy Jackson reminded us (over and over and over), the kid could “sing the phone book,” but frankly, a weekly rundown of surnames and seven-digit numbers would’ve been more interesting (and more contemporary) than the array of drippy, “big issues” ballads the Utah teenager favored on his way to a runner-up finish.

With that in mind, though, I’m glad none of my PopWatch colleagues weighed in on David’s first post-Idol single, “Crush,” which premiered on Elvis Duran’s Z100 morning show Friday morning (while I was enjoying a day off at the Jersey shore), because much to my surprise, it’s actually pretty good. I was worried the folks at 19 might saddle David with the kind of bland, soul-crushing production that sent former Idol runners-up like Bo Bice and Diana DeGarmo directly to the bargain bin (without passing go, or collecting a followup major-label release), but “Crush” sounds hip and contemporary. The chorus alone is prettier than a window box of pink petunias, with an epic sweep that evokes waves crashing, thunder rolling, and herds of horses galloping through lush fields — exactly what a song about the early pangs of teenage romance should do. The lyrics, like a lot of today’s top 40 fare, won’t win a Pulitzer for poetry, but they won’t make you wince, either. (Side note: On my first few listens to “Crush,” I was wrongly convinced the last line of the chorus — “Do you ever think/When you’re all alone/All that we could be/Where this thing could go” — was “Where this sneaker go.”) And David adroitly walks the line between giving his core fans their fill of vocal runs while showing enough restraint that he won’t automatically alienate non-Idol-loving listeners. In other words, I’m convinced “Crush” (embedded below) is good news for David (a charming kid, as you can see by clicking here and here for the interview I did with him a couple months back), for his fans, and for the general health of the Idol franchise. What say you, PopWatchers?