'American Idol' finalists David Cook and David Archuleta on girls, video games and more
"I just wanna make a record that's gonna make the hair on the back of your neck stand up," exclaimed newly crowned "American Idol," David Cook, during a conference call with the media this morning. When asked when he would recover from the exhaustion and excitement of it all, Cook replied, "Hopefully never."
Throughout the competition, Cook's mentality has been "hope for the best, expect the worst." After all, following Tuesday's performance, the general sentiment was that Cook's rival, David Archuleta, had won the night. Believe it or not, Cook agreed. "I definitely thought if you were basing it off of Tuesday, [Archuleta] deserved to win. He came out and did three amazing songs," recalled Cook.
After his big win, Cook stopped by the "Idol" after-party with none other than his family. Throughout the call, Cook's family was at the front of his mind. Cook even mentioned the possibility of a collaboration with his musician brother. "I've left the option open, and I'm kinda leaving it up to him," Cook explained, adding that he hopes that his brother will come hang out with him on tour, if only for "a short stint."
After all, Cook's brother was the one who persuaded him to attend the "Idol" audition in the first place. "He has been my No. 1 supporter from Day One," emphasized David Cook, "and has routinely told me how proud he is of me." When asked what he had given his brother in return, Cook replied, "Inadvertently, I'm responsible for getting him into video games." Hmmm, sounds like one of the Cooks is getting the short end of the stick here.
As for his new star status, Cook remains in awe. "I can't believe the level of support that has come out of me doing this crazy TV show," he marveled.
The level of support in the "Idol" community was clear on Tuesday night, when 12 million more votes were cast for Cook than for Archuleta. "I attribute the finale vote … to my fans just being awesome," Cook stated simply. Still, Cook doesn't want the public to read too much into that number. "I think that number is actually really misleading," he mused, in yet another shout-out to formidable opponent Archuleta. "I was just honored to share the stage with him."
When the conversation moved back to Cook's time as a struggling musician, Cook recalled, "I wasn’t ready to give up on music, and I didn’t think music was ready to give up on me." Now an international star, Cook is grateful for his starving-artist days. "You get pretty humble playing shows to five people," he said with a chuckle.
As for the idea that he would have been better off not winning "Idol" (in terms of credibility as a rock musician), Cook admitted that the idea had crossed his mind, but he said he didn't give it much attention. It would have been "a slap in the face" to the competition and fans, he explained. "As far as having more success by not being a winner, I think that is something that will get played out in the next few years," he concluded.
If Cook looks like a different man today than the one we met months ago, it's not just the gleam in his eye. "I've lost probably 10, 15 pounds on this season," he revealed. And Cook's physique isn't the only thing that changed. He's become more open as a performer, thanks to vocal coach Debra Byrd, who helped him break down the "wall" he was putting up. Hence Cook's late-season success -– and his late-season proclivity for tears, especially at the finale. "The crying after I'd won was like an exhale," he recalled. "I felt like that whole time I was holding my breath."
After the remarkably articulate and mature "Idol" winner bid us adieu, David Archuleta took over the call. Following Cook, Archuleta's relative youth and worldly inexperience were apparent. The two Davids are at such different stages of their lives, it seems amazing that they ever competed.
"Even after this interview I have to go to school," revealed Archuleta, a 17-year-old high school student. During the competition, while all of the other contestant enjoyed free time, Archuleta completed his requisite three hours of home-schooling.
Archuleta is more like a typical high school student than one might assume. Believe it or not, he still isn't sure what he wants to do with his life. "I'm still looking at options and careers I'd be interested in in the future," he mused. At the moment, he's considering a career as an ear, nose and throat doctor. "It's something that really interests me because it's something that helps people who have the same problems as me," explained Archuleta. "It's something I can really relate to people with."
But don't fret, Archie-fans; he's not inspecting any noses just yet. Archuleta is still devoted to making an album. "The competition is now over, and now it's time to really focus on music," he asserted. Archuleta's album will include both "real music, where it has meaning and depth to it" and "fun stuff." After all, he asserted, "I still wanna be able to relate to kids my age."
And as any kid his age might, Archie got more than a little choked up when the topic turned to girls. "It just bugs me when kids are like … all the drama," he said in reference to his lovesick contemporaries. "It's not like your infatuation with them is going to support you." Still, Archuleta is not totally closed off to the idea of a love connection. "It's definitely something I'll want to focus on later on in life when I'm ready. When I feel like I've met a girl who has a great personality and someone … who has respect for themself, but not in like an arrogant way."
When the conversation turned to another uncomfortable topic -– the portrayal of his father, Jeff Archuleta, in the media -– Archuleta was surprisingly forthcoming. "I heard one thing was like he refused to give me water," Archie exclaimed in disbelief. "I'm 17. If I want water, I'm pretty sure I'd just go get it." "The next thing is, he's a great guy," David said of his father, adding that his whole family had been incredibly supportive during his time on "Idol." "No one understands what I'm here for more than they do."
One of the things that he is not "here for," however, is the pictures. "I hate looking at myself," he revealed, adding that even before the competition, whenever a camera came out, he would "be the one hiding behind a bush or something." And it's not just looking at himself that irks Archie. "I can't stand hearing my voice," admitted the "Idol" finalist. "I've never watched myself on the show … I'm OK with talking on camera as long as I don’t have to hear it afterwards." Sure, he may be a world famous singer, but first and foremost, David Archuleta is a 17-year-old kid.
Before the call was over, Archuleta wanted to say thank you, and not just to his fans. He was grateful to us, for even wanting to speak to him. "I'd just like to thank everyone for their time," said Archuleta, overbrimming with love and sincerity. "For them wanting to speak with me even though I'm out of it right now … it means a lot to me when people appreciate the hard work I've been putting into this."
-- Stephanie Lysaght
(Photo courtesy Fox)