By People Staff
Updated May 14, 2008 12:00 AM
Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Mama’s Boy He wished her a happy Mother’s Day for the second time while onstage and she was the first one to stand and the last one to sit down as he performed Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Almost every show, David Cook always manages to show love for his mom, Beth Foraker, who is always in the Idol audience. But what about that red rose pinned to his guitar as he rocked Switchfoot’s “Dare You to Move”? Was it another symbolic thank you to his mother? Maybe, but an eager female fan in the pit was the lucky recipient of the bloom when Cook tossed it into the crowd before leaving the stage. Still, after the cameras had stopped, Cook made sure to get his mother’s attention to let her know that he would call her later. In the end, it was a great night for Cook, as Simon Cowell declared after his final performance: “David Cook wins the night!” We’re sure his mom agreed.

Father Knows Best? David Archuleta had a busy week, which included a hometown visit, three songs to prepare and gossip about his father being banned backstage, which didn’t deter his dad from making a noticeable entrance. After a few brief words of possible confusion with ushers in the front entrance, Jeff Archuleta eventually entered the Idol arena and took a seat next to his wife, Lupe, via backstage. The parents then cheered on David as he kicked off the show in what looked like a Rick Springfield getup — a Member’s Only jacket and a skinny black tie — and rocked Paula Abdul‘s choice, “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel.

The Girl Just Wants to Have Fun Representing for all the ladies out there, Syesha Mercado, the only girl left in the Top 3, has some big shoes to fill. But despite the pressure of being the only woman onstage, Syesha seems to have nothing but fun at each show. As she stood in the dark during the breaks, she threw a thumbs-up to the crowd and walked over to the edge of the stage to field questions from her fans in the pit. She also hammed it up a bit and did her usual leg stretches as well as a few dance moves before show time. Feeding off all that energy, the Idol just glowed.

The Judges’ Moves After Syesha finished her cabaret version of “Fever,” Ryan walked over, grabbed the chair she’d used as a prop and sat on it instead of one of the usual metal stools. … During a break, Simon happily chatted with female fans standing near him in the pit. And after the show, rather than run outside for air, he started doling out hugs to those loyal fans. Before long, a line formed. … Ryan offered Syesha some warm support at the break when he walked over and consoled her as the lights went down after the judges had given her lukewarm comments. … Rather than go on live TV holding a gift he received from a fan, Randy made sure it was in the safe hands of his bodyguard.

In the House Rex Lee kicked it in the Idol auditorium without an entourage, enjoying the show a few seats back from another TV star, Emily Van Camp of Brothers and Sisters. And, wearing his signature black derby cap, singer Gavin DeGraw held court in the front row, as young female fans ogled the rocker from the pit. When Corey the warm-up guy asked one young lady if she was going to see the singer’s show in L.A., she replied that sadly she’d be in Sweden at the time. So instead she begged DeGraw to give her a private show beforehand, and he jokingly held his hand to his ear like a phone and told her he’d call her.

Idols Always Come Home How could anyone miss the curly locks of Mr. Justin Guarini, who was in the house, along with last season’s Top 12 contestant Brandon Rogers — with some noticeable locks of his own. Also there: from the Celebrity Apprentice, actress Marilu Henner, who received a lot of love from the judges, who all came over and hugged it out with the Taxi star. And, finally, you probably remember him from City Slickers (costarring Idol Gives Back joker Billy Crystal) and Home Alone, Mr. Daniel Stern everyone!

More Stuff You Didn’t See • At the end of one break, producer Nigel Lythgoe grabbed Simon Cowell as he was returning from backstage, so he could point out a particularly clever sign in the bleachers: “Simon You’re My Third Favorite Judge.” Upon reading it, Simon broke into laughter.

• As the crew was setting up for his second performance, David Cook came onstage a little early (carrying his signature white electric guitar with his brother’s initials on the side) when the lights were still down, and began tuning up. All the female fans began to go crazy as he strummed loud distorted chords. After he was set, he handed it back to a stagehand and then casually sat next to Ryan on the stools.

Cook’s final show-stopping performance of the night, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” he received a standing ovation from everyone in the audience except one man — David Archuleta’s father, who remained seated. At least he’s loyal!

• When Paula Abdul announced that Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Diane Warren was in the house, rocker Gavin DeGraw could be seen giving her a “we’re not worthy” succession of bows. –Jed DrebenFrank Micelotta/FOX