If you’ve already read my on-the-scene blog about last night’s American Idol performance show, you may have picked up that I didn’t really have all that much to talk about, since the impressive size of the Nokia kept the stage at such a distance as it was a wee bit tricky picking out any telling details. And I do feel bad about that, PopWatchers (Smirkelstiltskin doesn’t, but then he’s still sleeping, so what do we care?); fortunately, I got to observe the Davids far more up-close-and-personal during the “winners walk” press event that followed the show in the basement of the Nokia lobby.

First up, a press conference with a couple dozen radio outlets, where Cook (right) and Archuleta (left) built on the mutual-appreciation society they’d started at the top of Tuesday’s show. When they were asked if they ever had a “competitive nature” about each other, Archie said “our biggest competition is ourselves.” Cook took a difference approach: “I was a competitive kid growing up, but” — and at this point, he reached over to smoosh little David’s cheeks — “how could you compete against this face?! I want to get so mad at him, but then it’s like, Awwww.” The crowd loved it, and Archie did too, though he did first reflexively jerk back from Cook’s attempted cheek-smooshing. Later, they were asked about their post-Idol expectations, and Cook played it cool, stating that this very well could just be a great four-month ride. At which point, someone yelled out, “I like bartenders!” Cook smiled and replied, “I like bartenders, too,” and then Archie warmly slapped Cook’s shoulder and said “Me too!” Much hilarity and adorably awkward grinning followed.

addCredit(“David Archuleta and David Cook: F Micelotta/American Idol 2008/Getty Images”)

Next, the Davids were shuttled to a photo shoot with a long line ofsponsors — your Cokes, your Fords, your iTuneses, almost all of whosereps had their children in tow — and what struck me the most was howcompletely at ease David Cook especially handled the whole enterprise.I can’t imagine watching Daughtry, or Blake, or even Soul Patrol posingfor photo after photo with gladhanding corporate execs and not givingoff even a whiff of too-cool-for-schoolery, but Cookie handled it alllike a consummate pro. Archie took to it well, too, operating in hisstandard “gee, golly, gosh” mode, which I’ve come to feel is absolutelygenuine, especially after I realized that neither Mama nor PapaArchuleta was anywhere in sight the entire time.

Finally, they all made it to the press line, which is where they talked to me.Tonight, I’ll be speaking a bit more in depth with Mr. Archuleta, whilemy colleague Shirley Halperin will be sidiling up to Mr. Cook. Checkback tomorrow for all the backstage goodness!