Why David Cook Won American Idol

When Ryan Seacrest announced that David Cook had actually won this year's American Idol, it was the GASP heard round the world.

Not because people weren't happy, but because it wasn't supposed to happen that way. David Archuleta, the 17-year-old warbling wunderkind from Utah, was supposed to take the crown.

But this wasn't just an upset victory. Not like the Giants beating the Patriots on a last minute touchdown. No sir, this was a rout. Cook didn't just beat Archuleta, he blew him away by 12 million votes. That's a thumping.

Within hours, the blogosphere was exploding with the same question. How did he do it? Everyone thought Archie would win. The judges. The critics. Even David Cook himself seemed resigned to lose Tuesday night, telling the audience he was just there to "have fun."

But we all forgot one little thing. It's not up to the judges, the critics or the contestants. It's up to the fans who vote. And they spoke loud and clear.

So after an entire season where it seemed that David Archuleta was invincible, the question for me isn't how did David Cook manage to win. He has plenty of talent and is certainly deserving of the victory. Instead, the questions for me are: How did everyone guess this all wrong? Why didn't we see this coming? Why did fans vote overwhelmingly against the guy we all thought would win?

Here are a few possible reasons.

1. Rock & Roll is Here to Stay -- With his win, David Cook becomes the first real "rocker" to take the American Idol title. I think fans have had enough of the Whitney Houston wannabes battling out with super-high notes and vocal vibratos. They clearly want more than just a traditional pop singer, which is exactly what David Archuleta is.

2. Everyone Loves an Underdog -- Between the judges and the critics, David A. was crowned "the one to beat" pretty early on. But what fun is it rooting for the favorite? America is the land of the underdog. A land where the Giants CAN win the Superbowl. Where Barack Obama CAN beat Hillary Clinton. Frankly, I think a lot of people voted for David Cook because they thought he didn't have a chance. Especially after Simon, Randy & Paula practically declared Archuleta the winner at the end of Tuesday's show. Take a look at one person wrote me:

"I became so angry with the judges for fawning over DA and then giving DC so much grief, that I voted for David Cook as furiously as I could for four hours, with two phones."

Could be a lot of people did that too.

3. Archie's Dad -- Nobody likes a backseat driver or a backstage parent. The late season scandal of David Archuleta's father being banned from backstage at Idol because he was overbearing and pushing his son to the brink of tears undoubtedly left a bad taste in some people's mouths. His father also reportedly helped pick his son's songs, rewrite lyrics, and rework musical arrangements, which some fans might have seen as an unfair advantage.

4. Nice Guys Don't Always Finish Last -- By all accounts, David Cook is one of the nicest contestants to come down the pike in a long time. All the judges and other contestants say so, at least. (Does that mean Carrie Underwood isn't as sweet as I think she is?) For the most part, Cookie came across as genuinely humble and honored just to be in the competition. He rarely talked back to the judges, and in fact often thanked them when they were harsh. Before their final showdown Tuesday, Simon told the two Davids that the winner would be "whoever wanted it more." I think fans took the opposite view, and decided to give the title to the one who deserved it more instead.

Have your own theory about why David C. won? Drop me a line and let me know.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.