Having been a David Cook supporter all season, I was biting my nails a lot during last night’s two hour “American Idol” finale. There were some great moments (Brooke White dueting with Graham Nash, Jason Castro reprising his lovely performance of “Hallelujah”), some annoying sponsor-related moments (ie: both Davids reenacting the same “Guitar Hero” commercial), and some major WTF? moments (George Michael’s performance, whatever the heck Carrie Underwood was wearing). However, the real reason everyone tuned in was to see who won, and Ryan Seacrest did his best to drag the announcement on as long as possible–until about 10:01, ensuring everyone TiVoing the show would get cut off.

While David Archuleta was a worthy competitor, I’ve been a Cook supporter since the semifinals. This was the first year that “Idol” allowed instruments, and Cook used his guitar to supplement his voice and show that he wasn’t just a singer but a great musician. I also give him credit for taking the high road and refusing to bring a family sob story onto the program. Cook has two older brothers–Adam and Andrew–and is very close to his Missouri-based family. Adam has been suffering from brain cancer for the last several years. Although the story was widely reported in the press, Cook never brought it up on the show. The closest he came was wearing an orange bracelet during every program (to show support for his brother) and putting the initials AC on his guitar and sometimes his shirt. Considering how Virginia native Chris Richardson was raked over the coals last year for blaming an off performance on being upset about the Virginia Tech shooting, perhaps David Cook didn’t want his personal family sadness to get used against him.
Unfortunately, Adam Cook was too sick to make it to last night’s results show in L.A., but the rest of the family was there to cheer David on. And when his name was called, David, who’d done his best to keep his emotions in check throughout the last few weeks, began to cry. He pulled himself together to perform the closing song, but cameras cut to his family in the audience, all in tears. David’s other brother, Andrew, managed a smile when he caught a camera on him and mouthed “That’s my brother!”


David Cook’s well-deserved victory was a bittersweet one. Instead of wearing the orange band around his wrist, it was tied around his hand, causing many to speculate that Adam’s condition had turned more serious. David Archuleta seemed genuinely thrilled for his friend and competitor, and gathered the other finalists on stage with him to cheer Cook on. In my opinion, this year’s finale–in spite of George Michael–is the best one since Kelly Clarkson’s original victory. Sometimes people argue over whether the winner should be the best singer or the best person. This year, we got both.

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