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As David Archuleta sang with One Republic at last night’s Idol finale, sometimes, it’s too late to apologize. But in David Cook’s view, it’s better late than never.

The winner said last night that he was happy to have the "rare gem" of an apology from Simon Cowell, plus he told reporters about his hopes for the future and what had been going through his mind before the result was announced.

Meanwhile, his runner up, David Archuleta, explained his plans for going back to school and how it feels to be a teenage heartthrob.

Judge Simon Cowell had slammed Cook performance of The World I Know Tuesday, saying it was a big mistake not to have revisited one of his hits from earlier in the season.

But after watching the show back, Simon decided he had been too hard on him.

 

And last night he offered the singer an apology just before the result was read out, saying: "I was verging on disrespectful to you and I don’t think you deserved that."

David responded last night when he spoke to reporters after he was named the winner of American Idol.

"Simon’s apology came a little late for the votes," he said, adding, "I don’t really know that the apology was warranted: I thought what he said was an opinion and nothing more.

"But I’m appreciative of the fact that he decided to apologize. An apology from Simon is a pretty rare gem."

When asked what he was thinking about before he heard the result, the 25-year-old said: "That my music teacher Mrs. Gentry made me sing in a Christmas pageant in second grade and now I’m here. So the ride’s been pretty nuts. You couldn’t write this."

David said that he had not expected to be named the seventh American Idol, because he has respect for his rival, David Archuleta, that is, "very much past a competitor’s sense."

"He has more talent at his age than I know what to do with at 25," said David, a former bar tender from Blue Springs, Mo..

David was a little vague on the details on the type of album he planned to make ("a good one"), but said that he knows that winning Idol isn’t necessarily a ticket to stardom.

"I walked into this with no expectations and I’m walking out of it with no expectations. I think that this show is a springboard but it’s still a crapshoot," he said. "I could really walk out of this arena and be a regular Joe tomorrow. I hope that’s not the case."

His competitor in the finale, 17-year-old David Archuleta — who lost by 12 million votes — said that it was a relief just to have finished the show.

"After last night it’s like ‘oh my gosh': no more getting judged after each performance; we don’t have deal with it being viewed as a competition and be judged right after singing," he said. "It’s like ‘oh, enjoy this for a second.’"

The teen from Murray, Ut. said that it was a lot harder than it looked, even to some of the judges.

"I think Paula and Randy both appreciated what we did and all of hard work and Simon, I’m glad he apologized to Cook because I don’t think anyone realizes how much work we put into this," he said.

Although the teen, a winner of the Star Search talent contest, had been a front-runner since the beginning of the semi-finals, he said had never expected even to make it through the first round, much less win the competition.

 

So, he said, it was "an honor" to compete with Cook for the title. "I can’t believe that people decided for me to be next to him, of all people."

The high school student also told reporters about his plans for returning to the real world once the Idol summer tour comes to an end.

"I really want to make an album and see how that turns out, and if music doesn’t go as far as I was hoping it would be then I’ll focus on, you know, I still want to complete an education.

"School is very important," he said, "especially after all this ends. It would be nice to make a living off of this but you never know. People can have a few years of performing and touring and making money that way but then they have to go back to something else afterward so you always have to be prepared."

 

So how, after months of having hoardes of girls screaming at him twice a week, does he feel about being a teen heartthrob?

"I don’t really see myself as that," he said. "That’s kind of weird. I still think I’m David."

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