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Cook won the seventh season of American Idol on May 21, 2008, receiving 56 percent of the votes, with 12 million votes over David Archuleta, the runner-up.
Cook then sang "The Time of My Life", the winning song of the 2008 American Idol Songwriter's Competition.
In the final tally, Archuleta received 44 percent of the votes.
During the final show, identical commercials promoting Guitar Hero featured Cook and fellow finalist Archuleta mimicked the Tom Cruise scene from Risky Business where he dances in his underwear playing an air guitar.
In addition to this, he was an active member in the Blue Springs South High School National Forensics League (or NFL), where he qualified for the national tournament twice for duo interpretation, an event that relies on performance and interpretation of a literary work.Cook had earlier announced via his myspace blog that two former bandmates from Midwest Kings (MWK) would join his band, with Neal Tiemann as the lead guitar player, and Andy Skib on rhythm guitar and keyboard.Other members who joined later were Joey Clement (replaced later by Monty Anderson) on bass guitar, and Kyle Peek on drums and backing vocals.Besides his Hollywood audition, he also accompanied himself on electric guitar for his performances of "All Right Now", "Hello", "Day Tripper", "I'm Alive", "Baba O'Riley", "Dare You to Move", and "Dream Big", and on acoustic guitar for "Little Sparrow", "All I Really Need Is You", and "The World I Know".
His white, left-handed Gibson Les Paul electric guitar has the letters "AC" on it; as Cook told TV Guide, "I have two brothers, Adam and Andrew.The Declaration Tour began on February 13, 2009, in Tallahassee, Florida, and was originally set to end in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on April 25, 2009.