David Archuleta Says ‘American Idol’ Champ David Cook ‘Deserved It So Much’

'My main priority wasn't to win the competition,' runner-up says.

“American Idol” runner-up David Archuleta doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.

Want to know what kind of album he hopes to release? How he felt about the controversy surrounding his dad? Whether he has time for a girlfriend? (We know a few of you are wondering … ) Read below for that and more.

Q: Backstage after the finale, you said you felt a sense of relief. Can you explain that?

A: It was such a relief to just feel good about what I did [on Tuesday’s performance night ] and the fact that that was the last impression I gave on the show. The competition’s all over. Now it’s time to really focus on music.

Q: What do you want to say to your fans who are disappointed that you didn’t win the show?

A: To the people who’ve been supporting me so much, I just want to thank them. It means more than anything to know that people are appreciating the hard work that we put into this. I want them to know that I’m feeling great about it. The fact that Cook won, I think he deserved it so much. He just proved it week after week. He deserves to be the American Idol! He’s such a great guy too. My main priority wasn’t to win the competition; it was just to do my best. You can suck and people can vote enough for you to win, but that wouldn’t feel very good. [Laughs.] We both gave it all. We just poured it all onto that stage on Tuesday night. And we both feel really great about it. I don’t think I could have done anything better or change anything to make me feel any better about what I did.

Q: Was it hard to hear all the criticism about your dad throughout the season?

A: I hadn’t really heard much of it until later on. I tried to stay away from the press. I didn’t like to hear anything going on in the news about me, good or bad, just because I didn’t want it to distract me or let it go to my head. I just wanted to stay myself and how I was at the beginning of the competition. … In interviews, it started coming up, and it was just kind of strange, because they’re really weird things, like that he refused to give me water. That’s the weirdest thing. I’m 17, and if I want water I’m pretty sure I would just go get it! [Laughs.] And then another thing was that he made me cry during one of the recording [sessions]. He’s a great guy. There isn’t really anything he’s done that’s bad like the things that have been spoken about him. My family has just been such a great support, and they’re the ones who’ve kept me grounded and allowed me to be who I am today. No one understands what I’m here for more than they do. They get what I love about music and how it’s changed my life.

Q: What kind of album do you hope to make?

A: I’d love to still do the pop thing, just because I’m still a teenager, and on the show, I was getting a little mature with my songs, even though I love to do that stuff. I still want to be able to relate to the kids my age, so I like the pop, but I still wanna have meaning in my music. I’d still like to do some fun stuff, along with songs that have more meaning in them. John Mayer and Sara Bareilles are examples I use of people who have done the more pop side of music, but their music is still real. It has meaning and depth to it. They’re respected as real musicians and artists.

Q: You have a lot of female fans. Now that the show’s over, do you have a little more time to date someone?

A: Now it’s really time to focus on making an album and writing songs and all that. I just feel like, being 17, I’m not really mature enough to understand those feelings yet. I’ve watched so many of my friends, like, “Oh, we broke up. I can’t live without them!” It’s like, “You’re 17! What are you talking about?” … I so don’t want to deal with the drama right now. [Laughs.] I just wanna be able to focus on music and then, when I feel like I’ve met a girl who has a great personality and I can connect with and has really good standards for themselves and has respect for themselves, but not like in an arrogant way, someone who cares about others as well, you know, it’s not all about them. It’s just something I’ll want to focus on later on in life, when I’m ready, but I just feel like I’m so young. I’m still learning so much.

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