Grunge rocker David Cook won the seventh season of "American Idol" Wednesday night.
Cook, 25, of Blue Springs, Mo., beat 17-year-old teen heartthrob David Archuleta, of Murray, Utah, for the title.
Some 97.5 million votes were cast, according to figures announced on the results show. Cook won 56 percent of the votes, while Archuleta claimed 44 percent.
Cook gained momentum as the season's contest progressed, grabbing fans with rock renditions of hits as eclectic as Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby."
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Cook never landed among the show's bottom three vote-getters -- a distinction also held by Idols Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks and Jordin Sparks.
Archuleta skirted the bottom three all season, too.
While judges on Tuesday predicted an Archuleta victory, Cook's fans voted heavily, likely eager to see the first-ever "Idol" victory from a hard rocker. Wednesday night, judge Simon Cowell apologized for his reluctance to praise Cook on the performance episode, saying he was verging on being disrespectful.
Get a full recap of the finale at the "American Idol" blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com.