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In a landslide: Cook rocks the ‘Idol’ vote

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — For an "American Idol" season so flat and lifeless, the end sure rocked: Ex-bartender David Cook virtually body-slammed teen prodigy David Archuleta in a surprising landslide Wednesday night, capping an energized finale filled with big stars and polished performances.

All that, and the imperious Simon Cowell was reduced to apologizing to Cook for casting him as an also-ran to Archuleta the night before.

Turns out Cowell’s critique of Tuesday’s performances had limited influence: Cook, 25, from Blue Springs, Mo., swamped Archuleta, 17, of Murray, Utah, by a margin of 12 million votes out of the record 97.5 million cast by viewers.

Cook was overcome with emotion, bending toward the stage after his name was announced. When he stood up, his eyes were filled with tears, the second time in as many nights that the grainy-voiced belter had broken down.

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"The ride here has been pretty nuts," Cook said to a roomful of reporters backstage. "You couldn’t write this — or maybe you can."

For the final performances Tuesday, Cook refused to bow to the conventional during his three-song set, with Collective Soul’s "The World I Know" as his pick for a closing song. He also sang U2’s "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For" and the power ballad "Dream Big," his choice from the songwriting competition’s non-winning finalists.

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