'American Idol' Exit Interview: David Cook
'Idol' winner has kind words for David Archuleta and now he's ready to rock
"I think that number's actually really misleading," Cook tells reporters on Friday morning. "Obviously, within the bubble of Idol, it's hard to get a vibe on what's going on. I thought Archie was probably a little bit ahead of me if I'm being honest. I think as far as the finale goes, there're a lot of conspiracy theories out there. I attribute the finale vote discrepancy just to my fans just being awesome. I don't really know how else to explain it."
He continues, "My hat's off to Archie just for the whole scenario. He handled himself with a lot of grace and, more importantly, he's just an amazing human being. I was just honored to share the stage with him."
Going into the finale, there was extensive online discussion of whether or not Cook might, in fact, be better served by letting Archuleta take the American Idol win. Chris Daughtry, the conventional wisdom said, didn't win on Idol and he turned out OK. That wasn't the way that Cook was thinking.
"Obviously the theory's there. Did it cross my mind at any point during the competition? I mean, sure, but only as an objective point," he acknowledges. "I think going into this with the idea that you don't want to win is a huge slap in the face to the 103,000 people who auditioned this season who really wanted to win. So I definitely went into this to try to win it."
Still, Cook's win came after a performance Tuesday where judge Simon Cowell praised the rocker's sincerity and personality, but scored it a knockout win for Archuleta. But even that praise was something of a victory for Cook, who Cowell derided as cocky and arrogant earlier in the season. Asked about the journey from pomposity to humility, Cook hedges a little.
"You know, I didn't really change much of anything, as strange as it is," he says. "I went into this with a kinda different perspective from everybody else. I didn't have any expectations as to what the show was going to do for me or what I was gonna do for the show. I just went into it as an opportunity to expose myself musically to a large audience. And so my confidence level never really wavered and maybe that's what got misinterpreted as cocky or arrogant, but I think as the season went on, maybe he saw the work that I was putting in, not just on my own stuff, but really just to make it a positive working environment for everybody."
Thanks to those awesome fans, though, Cook now faces the pressure of following up an Idol win.
"I can't believe the level of support that has come out of me doing this crazy TV show, he says. "All I can do is try to embrace it and make all the effort that these people are putting into supporting me worthwhile and that's going to start with a record and hopefully moving down the road a tour and a lot of success. The sky's the limit right now."
And what can we expect from Cook's album?
"I think it's going to be a mixture of my writing and hopefully writing with some other people. The bottom line is I just want to come out of the gate with a solid record, so if I can do that I'll be happy. The idea release did is 'as soon as possible,' if you ask me, but obviously these things take time. As far as the type of record? It will probably be a rock record, but I think that's a pretty vague generalization. I just want to make a record that's gonna make the hair on the back of your neck stand up."
Other highlights from Cook's exit interview with the press:
On his musical journey: "When I graduated from college, I had a choice of moving to Tulsa and playing music or staying in Kansas City and getting a real job. I moved to Tulsa to join a band called the Midwest Kings and they needed a guitar and I'd known them for years and consider them great friends. So it just seemed like I didn't give up on music and I didn't think music was ready to give up on me, so I just made the decision to chase the dream a little bit. I think working in the clubs and the bars and stuff, I mean it helped me from a humility standpoint. You get pretty humble playing shows to five people and having that experience made the Idol experience all the sweeter."
On his brother, without whom he never would have tried out: "As far as hard feelings? No. I really lucked out in that arena. He has been my No. 1 supporter from Day One and has routinely told me how proud he is of me and I can't wait to see what happens after this, I can't wait to hopefully help him out and try and help him enjoy some of the fruits of my labors since this is, as I said on the show, this is all his fault."
On confounding expectations: "That was the exciting thing for me about this show, is I loved knowing that there were things that I could do that people would never expect that I could do. Like Andrew Lloyd Webber Night was fun for me. I loved the fact that everybody was like 'What?' I'm going to try to recreate that energy within this record. I want this record to have some twists and turns in it. I want people to feel like they got taken on a trip from beginning to end. I've got my work cut out for me, but it should be a lot of fun."