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Published: Wednesday, 4/29/2009

'American Idol' winner in Toledo Wednesday

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
David Cook, last season's (2008) "American Idol" winner, performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Owens Community College Student Health and Activities Center on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township. David Cook, last season's (2008) "American Idol" winner, performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Owens Community College Student Health and Activities Center on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township.
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Like millions worldwide, David Cook, last season s American Idol winner, has been caught up in the phenomenon of Susan Boyle, a contestant on Britain s Got Talent.

I think she s an amazing example of if you ve got talent, you ve got talent. She s got an amazing voice we ll see what she s able to accomplish with it. My hat s off to her, he said in a recent phone interview. It s no small feat, as far as nerves are concerned, to walk on stage in front of a bunch of people in a room, not to mention everybody watching at home, and to pull something like that off.

And, like most, Cook who will perform in the Toledo area Wednesday was surprised what came out of the dowdy singer s mouth when she started to sing.

I think like everybody, it was a little bit of a curve ball, he said. I try really hard not to put people into boxes.

But Cook s interest in Boyle is more than curiosity. The 26-year-old singer also sees parallels in his own career and when Boyle first took the stage and was mocked by a disbelieving crowd and a panel of judges, before she floored everyone with her soul-stirring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.

I ve had people look at me and say I don t look like that voice should come out of me, so I kind of love to prove people wrong and to put people s expectation on their head, he said. I think that s why I loved my time on the show, cause I made it a point to try to do what people didn t expect me to do.

Like Boyle, once Cook established himself, he quickly became a frontrunner on American Idol, with powerful performances of Free s All Right Now, The Beatles Day Tripper, The Who s Baba O Riley, Dolly Parton s Little Sparrow, and Aerosmith s I Don t Want to Miss a Thing.

Cook beat his Idol competitor David Archuleta by more than 10 million votes, and proved his win was no fluke a week later with a record-breaking 14 debuts on Billboard s Hot Digital Songs survey. His single, The Time of My Life, was the highest-debuting song of 2008, entering the Hot 100 at No. 3. And his self-titled album, released in November, went platinum.

With all that chart success, Cook was itching to perform his pop-meets alt-rock catalog for audiences, so he put together a band that included musicians from a previous outfit he fronted, and hit the road in a nationwide tour of college campuses. Cook and company are in town for a sold-out Wednesday night concert at 7:30 at the Owens Community College Student Health and Activities Center on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township. Additional tickets may be released the day of the show.

The crowds have been really cool and extremely diverse, he said. I think doing this college tour has really worked out for us in a sense that we ve gotten to really get the record to some ears that otherwise I don t know would have given it a chance. The crowds have been really receptive. That s always fun.

Some of these crowds, I think most of them, maybe didn t watch the show, but maybe heard the record and [said] I ll see what this is about. And it s fun to watch us win a few of them, some of them, or all of them, hopefully, over every night. It s part of the challenge, part of the fun.

With all the attention that s come his way, Cook is still grappling with the sudden fame aspect, especially when it comes to his personal life. A short-lived romance last year with former Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell, for example, proved to be fodder for gossip magazines.

Cook, perhaps naively, never thought such personal areas of his life would be of interest to few other than himself.

I never thought anybody would care who I hung out with, he said. But you take the good with the bad. And right now, the good pretty heavily outweighs the bad.

At the moment, Cook said he has put his personal life on hiatus, as he focuses on his career.

That makes it tough to kind of incorporate a third party who s not around every day, he said. Obviously, I can t bring a girlfriend out on the road. ... Right now, I m just really focused on making this work. So whatever I ve got to do to make it work is whatever I ve got to do to make it work.

David Cook performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Owens Community College Student Health and Activities Center on Oregon Road in Perrysburg Township. Ryan Star opens the sold-out show. Additional tickets may be released day-of the concert for $20 each. For more information, call 567-661-2787 or 1-800-466-9367, Ext. 2787.

Contact Kirk Baird atkbaird@theblade.comor 419-724-6734.



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