David Cook Crowned New ‘American Idol’
First Published: May 22, 2008 9:23 AM EDT Credit: AP
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- After 97.5 million votes were cast, 23 million more than in any other season, David Cook was crowned the new “American Idol” on Wednesday night.
Cook, who wasn’t even planning to audition when he accompanied one of his brothers to the “Idol” tryouts in Omaha, took home 56 percent of the votes cast, compared to 44 percent for teenager David Archuleta.
The audience, including a beaming Simon Cowell, took to their feet after Ryan Seacrest announced the 25-year-old bartender had won the show. Cook immediately was brought to tears as his family – his mother and his brother, Andrew, joined him on stage.
“I started this season much to Simon’s chagrin as the ‘word nerd’ and I’m absolutely at a loss for words right now,” Cook said choking back tears. “Thank you guys, this is amazing. Thank you.”
He then turned to his brother and blamed him for the result.
“This is all your fault, this is his fault,” Cook said before thanking the audience one last time. He then sang the winning song of the “Idol” competition, “Time Of My Life.”
Seven thousand fans at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles including celebrities Janice Dickinson, Mike Myers, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Lori Laughlin, Camryn Manheim, and even former “Idol” contestants Sanjaya Malakar, Blake Lewis, Melinda Doolittle, Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice, and Fantasia were present to witness Cook’s crowning moment.
Before he was announced as the winner, “Idol” rolled out a two-hour show full of superstar-packed medleys.
Syesha Mercado was first to get the star treatment after an opening medley with all of the former contenders. The second runner-up performed “Waiting For You,” and during her performance, Seal, dressed in all white, joined her on stage for the song.
A few minutes later, Syesha and her former female “Idol” competitors — Carly Smithson, Ramiele Malubay, Brooke White, Amanda Overmyer and Kristy Lee Cook — took to the stage for a group number – a medley of Donna Summer songs. In the middle of the medley Donna came out and sang a new song, “Stamp Your Feet,” and her classic, “Last Dance,” during which she handed her mic off to a stunned Syesha, who completed several verses.
After a duet between Carly and Aussie rocker Michael Johns on the song, “The Letter,” the gentlemen took to the stage – Chikezie, David Hernandez, Jason Castro, Michael and the Davids. They performed Bryan Adams songs, before introducing the Canadian crooner, who brought his guitar out as he joined them on stage.
As the night continued, David Cook found himself a rock paradise, fronting bearded Texans ZZ Top as they performed “Sharp Dressed Man.”
Brooke White got her solo moment too, singing “Teach Your Children” with Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) before Renaldo Lapuz, from the “Idol” tryouts phase stepped on stage. Singing his original audition song “Brothers Forever” in the same white-feathered hat and extravagant robe he donned during audition week, he was joined on stage by the USC Marching Band and USC Song Girls, and eventually Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.
The highlights continued as the show carried on — next up, One Republic performed their chart-topping hit “Apologize” with help from David Archuleta.
And there were skits too throughout the night – Ryan Seacrest claimed “Idol” had uncovered footage of an early tryout for Gladys Knight’s backing ensemble, The Pips, before cutting to an older video of Gladys backed by “Tropic Thunder” stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.
Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks were allowed time to perform their latest singles before “Idol’s” Top 12 sang a medley of George Michael hits, including “Faith” for the girls and “Father Figure” for the boys. George Michael then took the stage to sing “Praying For Time,” the last superstar to perform before Cook was announced as a winner.
Before he was given the honor, the judges said a few words.
“Great, great Season 7 man. You dudes brought it down to the wire,” Randy said. “You’re both winners baby. Both!”
“I’m honored and proud of you sitting here,” Paula said. “It’s odd that it’s called a finale when it’s anything but a final. It’s the start of the destiny of your careers.”
And Simon Cowell even took his final commentary to offer a rare apology.
“I want to congratulate both of you on last night because on the night, I thought it was a terrific show. I went back home to watch it. It wasn’t quite so clear cut as we called it,” Simon said. “And, in fact, David [Cook], I will take this opportunity to apologize because I think I was verging on disrespectful with you and I don’t think you deserve that because over the seasons, both of you, what I like about both of you is that you’re try-ers and you’ve both given it your best. You’re both very nice people and for the first time ever, I don’t really care who wins. I think you’ve both done terrific.”
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