People Staff
May 22, 2008 12:00 AM

After Ryan Seacrest announced Wednesday’s American Idol results — that David Cook had won by 12 million votes — the show’s newest winner, a bartender from Blue Springs, Mo., fulfilled his first duty as the American Idol: facing reporters. Backstage at the Nokia Theatre in L.A., Cook talked about getting a serious apology from Simon Cowell, beating 17-year-old David Archuleta and what it meant to have his mom and brother join him on the stage during his winning moment. –Jed Dreben

You won by 12 million votes but do you think it may have been more if Simon had apologized last night?Well, Simon’s apology came a little bit late for the votes but I don’t really know that the apology was warranted. I thought what he said was an opinion and nothing more. But at no point did I feel disrespected. But, yeah, I’m appreciative of that fact that he decided to apologize. An apology from Simon is a pretty rare gem.

What do you expect from the year ahead?I actually walked into this with no expectations and I’m walking out of it with no expectations. This show is a springboard, but it’s still a crapshoot. I could easily walk out of this arena and be just a regular Joe tomorrow. I hope that’s not the case. It’s kind of up to everybody else.

What went through you mind when you heard that you had won?That my music teacher Mrs. Gentry made me sing in a Christmas pageant in second grade, and now I’m here. The ride has been pretty, pretty nuts. You know you couldn’t write this … or maybe you can, I don’t know maybe you guys can. But I can’t.

Did you think you were going to win?I didn’t. You know, the respect that I have for David Archuleta is very much past a competitor thing. He has more talent at his age than I know what to do with at 25. So, to be able to share the stage with him was an honor for me. And I went into Tuesday just to have fun, and so the fact that I walk out of here as the next American Idol is not a testament to me so much as it’s a testament to the other 23 contestants we had this season, and to everybody behind the scenes.

What kind of album do you want to make?A good one — that’s the kind of record I want to make.

How did it feel having your brother Andrew and your mom on the stage with you at the end?It just made the whole experience full circle. In August, I stood in line in Omaha, Neb., at 5:30 a.m. when it was raining with no intention of auditioning and now I’m here and I got to share that moment with the same two I stood in line with 7, 8 months ago, so, it was a nice bookend. Kathy Hutchins/Hutchins Photo

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