"I thought that [Archuleta] did amazing [Tuesday] night," Cook toldAccess Hollywood following last night's live Idol finale. "I had my mind made up that I was taking second. I had it in my head. 'Alright, they're going to say his name, I'm just going to make sure that I congratulate him properly.'"
However it was Cook who would be receiving the congratulations, as the 25-year-old Tulsa, OK resident became Idol's seventh-season champ during last night's live two-hour finale.
"When they said my name, I heard Archuleta, so I turned, then it processed as I was turning," Cook told Access Hollywood about the moment when host Ryan Seacrest revealed him to be the seventh-season victor.
Cook defeated Archuleta, a 17-year-old from Murray, UT, after Seacrest said "97 and a half million" home viewer votes were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw both finalists each sing three songs. Cook bested Archuleta by a 56% to 44% home viewer voting margin, or roughly 12 million votes.
"I just told [Archuleta] that I loved him," Cook told Access Hollywood. "I've definitely got big brother syndrome with him. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of what he was able to do -- from start to finish. He was the front runner from the get go. So to be able to carry that torch all the way through, my hats off to him. I couldn't have done it."
While Cook and Archuleta were largely considered to be equals during the more recent weeks of the competition, judge Simon Cowell awarded all three rounds of Tuesday night's performance episode to Archuleta and said the teenager scored a "knockout" over Cook.
"I honestly thought that he had been more consistent," Cook told Access Hollywood about Archuleta. "For a 17-year-old kid, never mind, for a performer he's amazing. And it was an honor just to share the stage with him. I kept catching myself almost crying tonight through out the whole process because it was just like, 'What am I doing here?' But you know, it was a trip, it was heavy."
Cook found himself auditioning for Idol's seventh season last summer in Omaha, initially attending the open casting call to instead support his brother.
"This is the last thing I could have anticipated when I was pushed into auditioning by brother Andrew," Cook told Access Hollywood. "So to be here now, it's such a trip."
While his Idol experience may be in the books, the residual affect of winning the show has only just begun.
"I haven't celebrated in four months," Cook told Access Hollywood. "I'm gonna do all this fantastic press, and then I'm going to go hang out with my friends and family, and hopefully let it sink in."