The extraordinary seventh season of American Idol came to a spectacular conclusion tonight as 25-year-old David Cook was crowned the winner during the live two-hour season finale on Fox. A new record was set after an amazing 97.5 million votes were received after Tuesday's performance show, shattering the previous IDOL record of 74 million set after last season's American Idol finale.
It was a duel of the Davids when Archuleta and Cook each performed three songs on Tuesday night's final competition show. Cook, from Blue Springs, MO, emerged as America's choice in a competition that began with more than 100,000 hopefuls who auditioned in Atlanta, Charleston, Dallas, Miami, Omaha, Philadelphia and San Diego.
Cook capped his coronation on Wednesday's finale by singing "Time of My Life," written by songwriting contest winner Regie Hamm. The song is available for digital download exclusively on AmericanIdol.com and iTunes.com.
The broadcast from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles featured appearances by Bryan Adams, Donna Summer, George Michael, Graham Nash, Jimmy Kimmel, The Jonas Brothers, Mike Myers, One Republic, Seal, ZZ Top and Gladys Knight, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller and Jack Black.
Also returning to the American Idol stage were past winners Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks. Underwood sang "Last Name" and Sparks performed her new single "One Step at a Time."
The Top 6 guys were joined by Bryan Adams for a medley of his hits, while the Top 6 girls joined Donna Summer for a medley of her chart-topping songs. Cook and ZZ Top had the audience on its feet with "Sharp Dressed Man"; Archuleta crooned with One Republic on "Apologize"; third-place finisher Syesha Mercado and Seal rocked the house with their rendition of "Waiting for You"; and finalist Brooke White performed a duet of "Teach Your Children" with Graham Nash. The Top 12 introduced superstar George Michael by performing several of his greatest hits, then Michael took the stage to sing "Praying for Time."
Cook is the seventh American Idol to be crowned, joining Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks and Jordin Sparks as winners of the coveted title, a major recording contract and a management contract.
On Tuesday night's final competition, Archuleta and Cook each performed three songs. Cook sang "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Dream Big" and "The World I Know," while Archuleta sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," "In the Moment" and "Imagine." The night was capped with a special performance by Season Two American Idol Ruben Studdard who sang "Celebrate Me Home," this season's farewell song.
American Idol is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder and CEO of 19 Entertainment, and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Nigel Lythgoe, President, 19 Television; and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.