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'Idol' backstage Q&A: David Archuleta

”How can you be disappointed?” the gracious season 7 runner-up told EW.com backstage after the finale. So what was bugging him?

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David Archuleta
Michael Becker

Anyone who’s watched even a few episodes of this season’s American Idol knows that David Archuleta’s aw-shucks awkwardness is a big part of what makes him so appealing. And as the singer worked his way through the gauntlet of press after last night’s season finale, the 17-year-old was quite often grinning ear-to-ear, showing no signs of disappointment that he had come in second to rocker David Cook. So what made Archuleta develop a rash? Read on.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling having all of this finally be over?
DAVID ARCHULETA: It’s just such a relief. [Laughs] Because there’s no more competition, and no more getting judged every performance you do. It’s just, you know, finally great to be able to just start performing and be an artist.

So no disappointment at all?
Oh no. How can you be disappointed? I mean, making it to the top two, and then, just, I feel so good about my performances yesterday. How can you be upset about it?

I really liked how David Cook acknowledged you right after he’d won.
Cook is such a great guy. He’s been like my big brother through all this. I’ve learned so much from him. I have a lot of respect for him. It just shows what he finds important in life, that it’s not just about him. And him being able to share that moment with everyone was really cool.

I know you want to complete school, but have you been thinking about that first album, what you want it to be?
Oh, I want to be doing that. There have been a lot of young people who have been able to manage through it, and Jordin [Sparks] proved it last year.

You mean, to be able to do school and do an album?
Yeah. Anything’s possible, you know? [Laughs]

So what would you like to do with your album? Are there any dream collaborators?
Um, I’m not sure. [Looks down at his wrist] Do I have, like, an irritation with this thing, or something? [Quickly inspects his left wrist, and discovers a rash underneath a braided dark metal bracelet he’s wearing] I think I have an irritation with this jewelry. [Smiles sheepishly] Sorry. What was the question?

Oh, well, do you have any dream collaborators for your first album?
[Begins to unclasp the metal bracelet as he talks] Oh, I guess it depends on the song, because different artists connect with different songs, and once the songs come, I’d look at what would be some cool things to try.

You seem like a naturally shy person.
Oh yeah. [Laughs] Awkward person.

So what’s it like for you when all those girls start screaming for you and grabbing at you?
Well, it’s really weird. It’s like, ”Why are they yelling my name? I’m just David.” [Gives his bracelet to the bodyguard standing next to him] Oh, thanks. Sorry. I have this big lump. [Shows his wrist, which is now both discolored and starting to swell]

Oh jeez!
I think I’m allergic or something to that [bracelet]. [Puts his hands on his hips] That’s not good. Anyway. [Laughs sheepishly] It’s just kinda weird, because I’m just the same person. I don’t know why they’re treating me any differently, but I’m just glad that people are showing me support and they show how much they appreciate all the hard work we put in to this.

Are you relieved, now that the show is over, that the scrutiny about your family is going to die down?
Um, hopefully, because there’s just a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense to me. I was just kind of confused. I didn’t really know what was going on with that. But my family’s great. I wouldn’t be who I am without them, and they’ve helped keep me grounded.

Finally, what piece of advice would you have for people on American Idol in the future?
Just enjoy this. Just remember what music does for people, and how many people have been affected by music. You know, to have been given this opportunity and to be able to share that with people is just the best feeling ever. There’s no better feeling I’ve ever felt.

More American Idol finale:
David Archuleta’s Idol journey
David Cook’s Idol journey
David Cook’s Idol backstage Q&A
The Idol finale: A photo album

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