'American Idol' Winner David Cook Reveals How the Popular Show Changed His Life (Exclusive)

David Cook hit the ground running as soon as he made his mark winning American Idol's seventh season. The day that will forever be remembered by both fans and the Missouri native has been a memorable one since that Idol finale night on May 21, 2008, where the aspiring musician received 56 percent of America's votes, earning 12 million more than runner-up, David Archuleta.

Cook revealed to PopCulture.com in an exclusive, sit-down interview that he's enjoying the ride of music while he can because, despite over a decade of musical success, he'll eventually "have to get a suit and tie job."

"I'm getting to do stuff now that like, if you'd asked me at like 25, 'Are you gonna be able to do this stuff in your 30's?' I'd be like, 'No way!'" he said, admitting that, at the time, it only felt like a dream.

"I'm just enjoying it now because I'm gonna have to get a suit and tie job one day," he added.

Cook, undoubtedly, confessed that the popular Fox singing competition changed his life forever.

"I was a terrible bartender who played acoustic gigs for rent before Idol," Cook said. "I was known as the guy who could play 20 seconds of almost any song. I didn't know a lot of entire songs but I could fake my way through a chorus."

Since he graced the Idol stage as winner, the show has changed quite a bit. Not only are there new judges — going from Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson as the original panel, to now, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry. Over the years, other celebrities like Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj have had the opportunity to make or break the careers of aspiring artists. However, with the panel changes comes show changes as well. Idol was cancelled at Fox in 2016, but it was soon brought back to life on ABC in 2018.

For someone like Cook who has experienced the show as both a fan and contestant, he's all for the revamp so long as the contestants are priority.

"I think for me, I think as somebody who benefited from it and went through it, my hope for the show has always been: as long as it can continue to be a platform for the contestants, then I'm game, I'm all in," he said of the ABC revival. "I think you always kind of toe that line between is it about the contestants or is it about the judges panel.

"When Idol was at its best, it was a platform to really, as a viewer, to invest in these contestants and follow them through their careers ... I think as long as it's that platform, I'm in."

As far as the judges panel, Cook says he was "pleasantly surprised" with who was chosen to sit behind the famous desk.

Now that the judge's panel has been revealed to stay the same, there's still the one question on Idol fans' minds: Will Ryan Seacrest return? The "Light On" singer believes that the popular face will in fact make it on to another season, despite his busy schedule between hosting LIVE With Kelly and Ryan and his radio show.

"I think he will," Cook predicted. "Listen, the guy doesn't need sleep, it's like the weirdest thing. The guy works — even when I was on the show — it was like 20 hours a day."


For now, Cook is keeping busy with music this year after his Broadway debut in the show Kinky Boots in 2018. His new single "Death of Me" is available for fans to hear as well. For more on Cook, visit his official website at davidcookofficial.com.