It wasn’t the first time that David Cook had been back to L.A.’s

Nokia Theatre since he won season 7 of American Idol there last spring. But

performing at the American Music Awards pre-show on Sunday still brought out the jitters. “I actually get panic attacks whenever

I’m in a five-mile radius of this place,” he told following his two-song set in the courtyard, a stone’s throw away from the Idol finale showdown

stage. “It’s home to one of the most

nerve-wracking moments in my life.” In the months since, Cook has performed at the Staples Center across the street, as part of the Idol summer tour, but Sunday’s visit for the AMAs stirred up memories nonetheless. “I’m presenting, so I do have to walk on that stage. We’ll see how

it goes. If I have a freak-out or something, it’ll make for good TV, I


In fact, for Cook and his fellow Idol finalist, David Archuleta, the competition continues, in a way. also bumped into the season 7 runner-up, getting his take on their current close race in record stores. (Archuleta’s first week tally of 183,000 is already in and sales numbers for Cook’s debut are due out on Wednesday.) Archuleta, for one, said he’s content with his album’s performance. “I’m

quite comfortable with second place,” he quipped. “Right behind

Taylor Swift is not a bad place to be.”

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