David Cook claimed the American Idol title on Wednesday night, ending the toughest matchup in the seven seasons of the hit
Cook, 25, broke down to tears after being declared the winner by host Ryan Seacrest. His family watched in the audience, tearfully joyful over his win. Aside from inking a record deal with Simon Cowell’s Sony BMG, Cook also received a cash prize amounting to one million US dollars and a Ford Focus. David Archuleta, who was the runner up this season, took home a similar package, including the record deal and the car.
Cook is the seventh winner of the top-rating singing competition. Earlier winners Kelly Clarkson, Reuben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks and Jordin Sparks have rose to superstardom after being declared American Idol winners.
The two Davids garnered a record 97.5 million votes, the highest in American Idol history so far. Cook received 56 percent of the votes to get the nod of American audiences.
Idol judge Simon Cowell criticized Cook’s performance last Tuesday night claiming Cook had chosen poorly, performing a song the rocker has never done before and losing his chance to woo the voters. Cowell even went so far as to call the performance night a knowckout by Archuleta.
However, minutes before the announcement of the winner, Cowell took the opportunity to apologize for his comments.
"I went back home to watch it, it wasn't quite so clear cut as we called it. I will take this opportunity to apologize because I think I was verging on disrespectful with you. I don't think you deserved that," Cowell explained.