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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

"American Idol" Finalists

Aired May 26, 2008 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, an all new "American Idol" exclusive...
(VIDEO CLIP FROM "AMERICAN IDOL," COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA INC./19 TV LTD/FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY)

KING: Here's your chance to ask David Cook and the nine finalists questions. San Antonio, Texas asked Jason if he'd auction his dreads for charity.

(VIDEO CLIP FROM "AMERICAN IDOL," COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA INC./19 TV LTD/FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY)

KING: And the whole country is curious about this -- what goes on when the cameras are off.

It's an hour of your e-mails -- "American Idol" and you, next and only on LARRY KING LIVE.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: OK. Quiet. Quiet, guys.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I said quiet.

Look at the name on the show.

It's a return visit for "American Idol" winner and top nine finalists. We're taking your e-mails, rather, from our Web site, cnn.com/larryking.

The American Idols Live tour will take the country by storm this summer with over 50 stops. And it kicks off July 1st. For more information, all you do is go to americanidol.com.

And now joining us are the winner and the nine finalists -- David Cook, David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado, Jason Castro, Brooke White, Carly Smithson, Kristy Lee Cook. Michael Johns is with us from Las Vegas. Ramiele Malubay is here, as is Chikezie.

They are all aboard for this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Now, tonight's show will consist mainly of e-mails. And all of our gests will be with us altogether -- have you all become friends, by the way? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes, a few of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're more like family...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We are friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...so there's no love, really.

KING: Well he says family and you say -- what do you -- well...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I agree, though, it's family. Because family like...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... argue all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...friends still kind of like have that kind of barrier where they're like, you know, we kind of crossed over the barrier. Now we're kind of like, it's everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KING: How long have you all, Syesha, been together?

SYESHA MERCADO, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: Gosh. Like ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: July of last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beginning of February.

MERCADO: July? I don't even know. Like somebody asked me that today. And I'm like how long has it been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Right. The auditions started, actually, in, what, July of '07?

MERCADO: August, July?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: July.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. July, August of '07 and now we're here, so ...

KING: Was it worth it, Kristy?

KRISTY LEE COOK, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: Oh my gosh, it was -- it was totally worth it. I wouldn't have taken anything back. KING: Even though you didn't finish in the top five?

K. COOK: Even though I didn't finish in the top five, I finished in the top 10, which was my goal, so ...

KING: It was.

And does this start a career for you?

K. COOK: Yes. It definitely is going to start a career for me.

KING: Let's go to some e-mails.

First is from Paula in Loudonville, Ohio. And this is for both Davids: "What was it like preparing for the finale at Nokia and did you get any sleep?"

First you, Archuleta.

DAVID ARCHULETA, RUNNER-UP, "AMERICAN IDOL": Well, it was definitely pretty crazy trying to prepare since there wasn't very much time to rehearse, you know, so much going on.

KING: Were you nervous?

ARCHULETA: No, not really nervous. Just because it's like, you know, I just wanted to really enjoy it up there on the stage and I wasn't really concerned about winning or not. I just wanted to do my best.

KING: You weren't concerned about winning?

ARCHULETA: No. No, I mean, it just -- the main priority is to do your best and it was like, you know pretty (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: What about David Cook?

DAVID COOK, WINNER, "AMERICAN IDOL": Well, we had actually, to kind of go off of what he was saying, we actually had a conversation when we were standing backstage before Tuesday. And, you know, we just talked about first or second, you know, we both won and just to go out and enjoy it like it was just a concert. You know, we had 7,000 people at the Nokia and then millions of people watching at home. So I mean it's a win-win. There's no way you can go wrong, as long as you don't mess up the words so.

KING: And both of you have set careers, right?

You get recording contracts?

D. COOK: I believe that's the way it works, yes.

KING: Don't you?

ARCHULETA: I think so.

KING: Do you get a lot of money for winning?

D. COOK: They...

(LAUGHTER)

D. COOK: Well, they take good care of us and definitely set us up for success. But (INAUDIBLE) now, you know?

KING: I would hope so.

Michael, why are you in Vegas?

MICHAEL JOHNS, FINALIST, "AMERICAN IDOL": Actually, I'm out here taking a card dealing class because I just...

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNS: ...this whole -- if this whole singing thing doesn't pan out, Larry, I've got something to fall back on.

KING: Don't you miss all your friends?

JOHNS: Yes.

Have you seen them?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Is 17 a little young for this?

ARCHULETA: I don't think so. I mean, Jordan did it last year. She was 17 and she won. Well, I guess it just depends on what kind of 17- year-old you are.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...for David Archuleta.

JOHNS: Larry, David Archuleta once told me, he said, "Michael Johns, you know, you're old enough to be my little sister's dad."

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNS: I was like, "Thank you. Thank you, David."

D. COOK: I think in order to do this show, you have to have a level of maturity that kind of goes beyond age. You know, to -- I think Arch is a very, very genuine, very, very nice person. And I think that's why he was able to do a show like this. Because to be grounded means the world when you're standing onstage in front of that many people. I mean, it's a pretty heavy thing to try to wrap your head around.

KING: Ramiele, did you enjoy this?

RAMIELE MALUBAY, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: I did. I had a lot of fun. I mean, not a lot of people get to experience what we experienced. And it's just -- I mean like what he said, when you're up there in front of people -- sometimes people judge you a totally different way than what you are. But he was definitely everything he was on TV so.

KING: We have an e-mail from Lisa in Western Florida: "Do the contestants receive any monetary compensation for appearing on the show and do they receive anything from their iTunes download sales?"

All right, let's go around the deck. And we'll start with Carly.

CARLY SMITHSON, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: Yes, we do.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITHSON: I'm not sure we're allowed to say what it is, but we're all members of AFSTRA, so we do.

KING: You have to get paid.

And from the iTunes, as well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It definitely comes a little later in the game. The first...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first handful of weeks you don't, you know, not so much. But as it progresses, we did become members of AFSTRA. So that was a good thing.

KING: By the way, when you go on tour, Jason, how does that work?

Do all of you perform individually, how many songs, what's the order?

JASON CASTRO, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: Yes we get our own sets in order like that, how you (INAUDIBLE), you know, (INAUDIBLE). All of us get three songs and then in the finals, I think the final, two?

D. COOK: I think Archie gets four and I get five.

KING: Do you all sing -

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Is there any point where you all sing together?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the first act, there is, I believe, up to myself, we do a group number. And then the rest -- the top five then also do a group number. And then we have duets between us that we've kind of picked but are not set in stone as of yet.

KING: Michael, you didn't answer the question.

Why are you really in Vegas?

JOHNS: Why am I really in Vegas?

I came out for the sunshine, mate. And now it's all overcast. I can't believe it.

KING: Why are you...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Michael, you'll never be on this show again.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNS: Oh, Larry King. I've got to sell enough records to come back.

KING: Look, I'm only kidding you Michael.

Why are you in Vegas?

JOHNS: I'm out here for a little -- for a little thing that I'm doing, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: OK, Michael, I've got to get out of this segment now, but maybe later we'll find out who she is.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We're just getting started. More "Idol" questions and more "Idol" answers when LARRY KING LIVE returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP FROM "AMERICAN IDOL," COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA INC./19 TV LTD/FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY)

KING: We're back with David Cook, David Archuleta and the rest of the runner-ups. They're all finalists, runner-ups -- make them all runner-ups in the "American"...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Isn't that nice?

You're all runner-ups. Hey. It's my show, I can say what you want.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow!

KING: OK. We're back with the cast and crew. What an honor to have them with us tonight. You saw them also last Friday night. We'll go back to your e-mails. Most of the show tonight will be your e- mails, but I can't continue first without asking Chikezie why he only has one name.

CHIKEZIE, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: See, I was born with two.

KING: Like most of us.

CHIKEZIE: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CHIKEZIE: But a time came in which it got a little irritating to hear my name being pronounced as "Chikezie Easy." And I just thought it would be simpler to just go by Chikezie. Yes, a pretty boring story but it's good for show business.

KING: And you're happy with it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better than going by just Easy.

CHIKEZIE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still don't know how to pronounce his full name, though. It's like...

(CROSSTALK)

CHIKEZIE: Yes. They haven't gotten it right ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you pronounce it again?

CHIKEZIE: Chikezie.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How ...

CHIKEZIE: Yes. Let's not even touch it.

KING: Back to the e-mails. But first a question that's been weighing on me since we began. It's for Jason -- why?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: No, I don't have to finish the sentence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That question has so many connotations, too. And I love it. KING: Why?

CASTRO: There are a lot of whys I ask everyday.

KING: Why do you -- why do you do that?

CASTRO: What, my hair?

KING: No, your nose.

CASTRO: Oh. Well, I started in high school. It was my senior year and I had long hair. I was bored with it and I was about to cut it all off.

Somebody was like, why don't you do dreads?

And I did it kind of just for fun, just a joke. And they were like short and stuck straight up when I started them. And I don't know, then they just stuck, I had nothing else to do and then they started looking cool and...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They stuck ...

KING: How long did it take to do it?

CASTRO: There's a few answers to that. But the initial process was something like 15 hours (INAUDIBLE).

KING: And then what about maintenance?

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNS: There's no maintenance, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Well, wait a minute.

How do you know, Michael?

JOHNS: Because I roomed with him.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: There's no maintenance.

You wash it every night?

CASTRO: I do wash it. Well, not every night because I don't shower every night. But every time I shower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're learning. We're learning.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: OK. Back to the e-mails. An e-mail from Maureen in Manchester, Connecticut. It's for David Cook: "Have you gone out to dinner with Kimberly Caldwell yet? You make a really cute couple. It was really sweet giving her a flower and asking her out on live TV. So, has she gone out with you yet?"

D. COOK: I'm about to turn Brooke's shade of red on national television. No, we have not yet. I have talked to her. And we are -- we're in the midst of figuring it out. But

KING: It's hard to figure out?

D. COOK: You know, there's a lot going on right now.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's kind of a busy guy .

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's great. I think they'd be...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Where do you live?

D. COOK: Right now, I live wherever -- wherever the show takes me.

KING: Where does she live?

D. COOK: She lives in the L.A. Area, so ...

KING: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You're having a difficult time working it out?

The last I checked, we were in the L.A. Area.

D. COOK: I know. I'm trying - you're really messing up my game here, Larry. No, she's -- for all intents and purposes, you know, in talking to her, she seems like a really great girl and so I'm glad that -- that, I'm sorry, who was it that said we would have made a great couple?

KING: Maureen in Manchester.

D. COOK: Well, I'm glad Maureen thinks so, because hopefully -- hopefully it will be a little bit of long, drawn out process.

KING: Hope so, too.

D. COOK: And now we're moving on.

KING: She's very pretty. E-mail from...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: E-mail from Ashley in New York: "Were there any romances behind the scenes between any of the Idols?"

Truth.

JOHNS: We're boring this year, because we're all married pretty much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was going to say...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's too many married (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard rumors recently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... minus me and Archie, I think -- I think everybody else is married or ...

KING: Are you married, Kristy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're all lies.

KING: Kristy, are you married?

K. COOK: I'm engaged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Close to.

KING: Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm engaged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm married to my work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chikezie and the two Davids are the only three that are single.

KING: Ramiele, you're married?

MALUBAY: No, I have a boyfriend.

KING: You have a boyfriend.

MALUBAY: She's got a boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got a boyfriend.

KING: Syesha?

MERCADO: I'm engaged.

KING: Wow!

An e-mail from Connie in Newville, Pennsylvania: "Do you think it would be a good idea to have a female and male "American Idol" each year?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ooh. I like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like that idea.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would cost too much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think...

KING: Why not one from each gender?

D. COOK: I think -- you know, I could see - I think I could see that going both ways, honestly, you know?

To have a guy and a girl, I think, would be ...

JOHNS: Go both ways, Dave? D. COOK: Easy. Easy, Michael Johns. Easy.

Yes, it would put a different spin on the show. But...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then they're obviously going to be fighting in the charts afterwards.

D. COOK: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).

JOHNS: I don't think it's necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That and the simple fact, I mean, you'd be putting someone else out, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, then that gives two people for Simon to say bad things about for the next 25...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess I meant the girls would have had a chance this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: However, though -- I'll give you...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Let me give you the other side that favors the girls -- a male singer and a girl singer. They're two different idioms. You don't judge them the same. You don't look at them the same. They're not - they're just different artists and one kind of voice is different.

How do you compare here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys have it a lot easier, though, because girls are crazy over guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you say this, Kristy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. You know it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to chime in...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girls got...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...the rest of your life.

JOHNS: And you guys get more - you guys have to do more dancing than we do, whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just know one thing...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The choreography is (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This season, all I remember is cookies being shipped every day, balloons being shipped everyday...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rows of -- they got 50 bouquets of flowers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fan mail, it was unbelievable.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNS: Because he rules. It's because he rules.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why I pay Michael Johns the big bucks.

KING: OK. I'm almost sorry we asked.

This is for Jason: "On your last show, people said you mouthed the words, 'Don't vote.'"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?

KING: "What were you saying and what message were you trying to convey?

CASTRO: I said "vote" twice. I was trying to emphasize it because I kind of didn't (INAUDIBLE) reviews.

KING: Oh, vote twice?

CASTRO: But nobody heard me, so I left them up to their imaginations.

KING: Who picks out the clothes, Carly?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That looks like "Don't vote" to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't vote. Don't vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we play that again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we please see it again?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we see it?

KING: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess not. OK. That's fine.

CASTRO: It was like this. Oh no, I just said "don't."

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNS: Oh my gosh. Castro, ladies and gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: It looked like "don't vote."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, you know what, actually I -- me being kind of the anal retentive person I am, I actually looked this up online. And then slowed down like that, he's saying "vote, vote," I think.

KING: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Vote and don't can come out ... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I'm just trying to help a guy out.

KING: Vote and don't can come out equal.

David Archuleta, did you feel like you were the kid?

That, you know that a lot of people talked about that -- your relationship with your father.

But did you feel you were, hey, I'm a young guy here amongst adults?

ARCHULETA: Well, I was still really young, even when I'm with my friends.

KING: You don't feel the youngest?

ARCHULETA: No. Well, just, you know, I guess I looked a lot younger than I already am. Like people are always like you're old enough to be on the show? I thought you were 13 and stuff like that.

KING: Yes, well you do. You look 15.

ARCHULETA: Yes.

KING: And that's a compliment. You want them to look like that all your life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Half of us don't even act our age anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Johns.

KING: Yes, Michael Johns acts his age, 47.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just say, Archie is like 17 going on 30.

JOHNS: Forty-seven?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then Michael Johns -- Michael Johns is 57 years old going on 12 so...

(LAUGHTER)

KING: OK, we've got to take a break.

Athens, Georgia and Duncan Falls, Ohio, we're getting close to your questions.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP FROM "AMERICAN IDOL," COURTESY FREMANTLEMEDIA NORTH AMERICA INC./19 TV LTD/FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY)

KING: We're back with a special Memorial Day edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

We wish you all a happy holidays. We hope it was very safe. If you're driving home tonight, please be safe.

Carly Smithson, who picks out the clothes and how much say do you have about what you wear?

SMITHSON: We -- the boys had a different stylist than the girls. We had Blair. They had Miles and Art. And we -- pretty much they're very -- they're great. They really take all of your...

KING: So what they say goes?

SMITHSON: No, they take all of your ideas and they help you develop what you want to look like. And we're not just kind of forced to wear a certain thing, so ...

KING: But it's your look?

SMITHSON: Yes. Pretty much. We're taken shopping. You know, we have a budget and they really -- they really help us out and they really - they take their expertise and show us what looks good on our body and that kind of thing.

KING: Are you pretty much, Kristy, working all the time when you're prepping for the show?

K. COOK: Yes. We work all the time. If we're not practicing singing, we're doing choreography or...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Photo shoots.

K. COOK: ...photo shoots or getting clothes. It just -- everything.

KING: What, if anything, Jason, didn't you like?

CASTRO: What didn't I like?

KING: About the whole gig. You can't love everything.

CASTRO: Well, everyday we kind of spent indoors a lot and there aren't a lot of windows. And it was really miserable knowing that it's sunny outside and we didn't get to (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Was that rehearsing?

CASTRO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you'd go outside and it would be still bright and we'd be shocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you had no idea what time of day it was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The days we were outside, during the Ford shoots, it was extremely cold. And we had blankets and we were like...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or we'd be on a mountain like in the middle of nowhere...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...out of all the days, why today?

KING: Anyone can jump in at anytime up there. I'm trying to call on everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm sorry.

KING: An e-mail...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: No, you can. E-mail from Katalya in San Antonio for Jordan: "Will you ever auction off one of your dreads for charity?"

CASTRO: Jordan?

KING: I'm sorry, Jason.

CASTRO: Jason. But, yes. You know, I've been thinking, maybe one of these days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Archie will give you five bucks for them right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could just chop (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney Spears made $3 million for her hair so let's see how...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Might you do it?

CASTRO: I'm not married to them. Maybe some day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get these dreads off my shoulder. KING: A question -- an e-mail from Caitlin in Lansing, Michigan for David Archuleta: "How old were you when you got vocal paralysis and does it still affect you today?"

ARCHULETA: Well, when I found out about it, it was when I was like 13. And the doctor I actually went to is the one we have right now. So it's kind of funny because, you know, when I go back to - it's nice to see the improvement from back then and he understands.

KING: There must have been a lot of panic though, huh?

ARCHULETA: At the time, yes.

KING: Yes.

ARCHULETA: You know, it was a lot more difficult back than it is now. You know, I'm doing a lot better and actually can sing a bit higher than I could back then, which is kind of weird.

KING: Where do you see yourself going?

Do you want to be like a Vegas star, do you want to do Broadway?

ARCHULETA: I'd actually just like to perform like a normal artist and, you know, make albums.

KING: Record?

ARCHULETA: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normal.

ARCHULETA: Oh, I mean -- no, I mean like...

(CROSSTALK)

ARCHULETA: A normal recording artist and...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get it all the time.

They're like do you want to do Broadway?

And I'm like I just want to be normal.

KING: Ramiele, what was that day like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But they're normal people.

MALUBAY: Which day?

KING: Any day?

MALUBAY: Oh, I thought you said like what was that day like?

KING: Tuesday.

No, what was a typical day like?

MALUBAY: Oh, just waking up early and then freaking out about your song half the time, stressing about how it's supposed to sound. And then...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The words.

MALUBAY: Yes, the words. And then changing the arrangement half the time. And it's usually -- it's just like a big cluster of stress ball in your mind.

KING: Chikezie, was the night that the show went on, was it very nervous for you?

CHIKEZIE: You know what, at first, no. At first - depending on what -- how confident you feel about your song, of course. You get up on the stage and the second that you're standing on the side, that's basically when it really hits you. When they -- when you know they're about to call your name out and you're about to step out there. Like, it's cool because you're watching the person sing before you and everything and enjoying that show. But the second that's done, it's like, oh, God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.

KING: Brooke, do you get nervous?

BROOKE WHITE, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: Yes, I do. Sometimes more than others. I - there were times when I felt more prepared than other times. Whenever I was playing an instrument, it was kind of a, you know, double-edged sword, because I wanted to play, but it's a lot more work. And the memorization, you know, you're doing - you're memorizing both the arrangement and what you're playing as well as the lyrics. And, obviously, we all know I had a little issue with that a few times.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITE: So, yes, I got nervous.

KING: If it will make you feel a little better, Frank Sinatra told me that every time he went onstage, right before he walked out, he would always worry, would it still be there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes.

KING: We've got a great "American Idol" contest and a sensational prize for the winner and I'll tell you about it later in the show.

Meanwhile, Frederick, Michigan wants to know what David Cook's orange bracelet is all about. The explanation is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: All right. We have an e-mail from Martha in Fort Worth, Texas, for everybody. So it will be a quick answer. Who would you most like to duet with?

D. COOK: I got asked this question before. And if it's anybody living or dead I'm going to go with Frank Sinatra.

KING: David Archuleta?

ARCHULETA: I want to do one with David Cassidy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alicia Keyes. CASTRO: Brooke White.

WHITE: Oh my gosh. I've got to say Jason Castro now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Annie Lennox.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Legend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mariah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jason Alding (ph).

KING: And our friend in Vegas, Michael, who would you like to duet with?

JOHNS: Annie Lennox.

KING: OK. Who was everyone's -- the next one is who was everyone roommates with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point or another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, Brooke and I were roommates since Hollywood week, but so were me and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kind of got the same apartment as well as the guys did.

KING: They moved you all into the same apartment building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Pretty much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were apartments that were designed for four. So I actually would find myself for most of the top 12 until after Amanda got eliminated I lived by myself because there wasn't room in the girls' apartment.

KING: You were all in Los Angeles?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Earth.

KING: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Van Nuys right now, but I'm originally from Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dallas, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live in Miami, but I was raised in Sarasota, Florida.

KING: David?

ARCHULETA: Murray, Utah.

KING: Murray, Utah. The home of the Mormons.

Mormons win a lot of these contests. Did you see that story in "Newsweek" last week?

ARCHULETA: I didn't.

KING: A big story that Mormons win a lot of reality shows.

ARCHULETA: Not this one.

D. COOK: And I feel like a jerk.

KING: David Cook? Where you from?

D. COOK: Blue Springs, Missouri.

KING: Blue Springs. Kristy?

K. COOK: Selma, Oregon.

KING: Michael, where in Australia?

JOHNS: I'm from Perth, Australia on the West Coast.

KING: Ramiele?

MALUBAY: From the Philippines but I live in Miami.

KING: Manila?

MALUBAY: No. Sumwanga (ph).

KING: And Chikezie?

CHIKEZIE: Englewood, California.

KING: Right near the racetrack.

JOHNS: That's just north of Nigeria, right?

KING: Michael must have been a load of laughs.

An e-mail from Nathan in Ottawa, Canada. "Do you enjoy having to put up with Simon?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enjoy? No, but we do it.

KING: OK. What's the reaction to Simon? Let's go around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's really not like that. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a really sweet guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not like that. Yeah, he's really, really sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's just really honest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, sometimes a little bit too blunt and mean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to watch the show and I always used to agree with him so --

KING: Did he ever hurt you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He hurt my feeling one time when he said about my clothes -- it hurt my feelings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He threw a brick at me. He tripped me once.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He never hurt my feelings but he always made me think, you know? He made me think.

KING: So he helped you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He helped me.

JOHNS: It's a tough job they've got, isn't it? I mean, they've got a minute and a half to come up with something witty and constructive and everything. And they're under just as much pressure as we are, you know?

KING: Did you appreciate him, David?

D. COOK: I think looking back on it now, yeah, absolutely.

KING: Were the judges generally helpful?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

D. COOK: Yeah. I'd say about 99 --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They make you want to do better like every week. Any time you got put down, especially, you were like, oh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they're all very nice. Even if they said something, they never meant to hurt your feelings. It was meant to help you to be better.

KING: What influence do you think they had over the voting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot. I think they had a lot of influence on --

(CROSS TALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I do think they have a lot of influence. I think sometimes even when people don't agree with the judges, it is a direct reflection, when people vote contrary to what they say, I think even sometimes, I don't know if there was purpose in that when they said something really extreme and the people were like, I'll do the opposite.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Simon is at his nastiest it helps you get through to the next round because the public goes wild and votes for you. It helps you stay in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But that can go the other way, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your performance isn't just when you stop singing. It is when you've stopped singing and then after the judges have spoken. That is your real --

KING: Yet, though, he put you down the night before you won.

D. COOK: They just talked about it. Sometimes it can help a fan base rally. Because I stood on the side of the stage during all three of Archie's performances and I had resigned myself the second going into Wednesday. I thought you did an amazing job and so to walk away with the crown is kind of absurd but really cool.

KING: A critic said -- I wonder if you'd comment. Anyone can comment here but one of the problems, maybe the only problem they found with the show -- it's hard to find a problem with 30 million viewers -- is that while you all really nice and in some cases great voices, you're forced to do vocal gymnastics, acrobatics, show off. Like the guy who sings the national anthem at the baseball games. It takes him 10 minutes to do. Do you think that's true?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're forced to do --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't do anything. I sang all five of the notes that I had and that was it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the purpose of the show is just to find artists and performers who otherwise just aren't given the opportunity and what you do with that opportunity is --

KING: But no one is telling you they want you to do gimmicky stuff?

D. COOK: Oh, well, as far as the gimmicky stuff, I think there is a give and a take. The show is supposed to be palatable for a cross section. But I think understand that. I don't think people are going to expect me to go do a group number after this tour is over. At least I hope not.

KING: On Friday, we asked you who is your favorite of all the American Idols. Well, there's still time to vote. And to make things interesting, we added a second quick vote. Who is your favorite "Idol" runner-up. Head to CNN.com/LarryKing and participate in both votes. You vote, we'll see you on the other side of this commercial break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: You could live a lifetime waiting for that note to end. Whoa. There's a lot of talent on this show as you can well tell.

The "American Idol" group is with us tonight as they were with us this past Friday. We have an e-mail from Barbara in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. "Song choice is so critical. Who gives the contestants advice as to which song to sing each week? Who helped each of you?"

Let's go around. We'll start with Carly.

SMITHSON: Nobody, because they're not allowed.

KING: Not allowed.

SMITHSON: Yeah. You're supposed to make the decision by yourself.

KING: Every song you sing is a song you selected?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes we were suggesting to each other but the producers and anyone who works on the show is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is not allowed. You can't really ask them about that. They won't -- they can't give you any answers about it. It's pretty much all on you. You can't let anybody --

D. COOK: The show does a lot to try to maintain the integrity of the competition, I think, and -- so -- and they let us make our decisions and we have to stand by them when we're doing it in front of 30 million people, so --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are like -- however, when we're singing in themes --

KING: There are theme nights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They give us our list of what to choose from, so yeah, there is -- we're given a list of songs to choose from but we make the decision of which one we're going to --

KING: A lot of famous musicians work with you, right?

You get the pick of those?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

KING: Michael, do you pick who plays for you?

JOHNS: No. I mean, Ricky Miner (ph) is the M.D. and he is just absolutely unbelievable and he has worked with everyone in the business from the Grammies to the Oscars so the list of musicians that he has on his roster is pretty great.

KING: Were you all happy with those who played for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Oh yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The men's words (ph) were totally a surprise to us to. We actually found out as the audience found out when it was being announced on the screen. We had no idea.

KING: We have an e-mail from Sherry in Columbia, Missouri. "What kind of antics went on behind the scenes to break the stress and ease the competitive atmosphere?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to answer that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Johns.

KING: Michael, did you do stuff to kind of ease it up?

JOHNS: Yeah. I mean sometimes the girls were really stressed about the dance choreography, and I had a sexy dance, you know, to break the ice a little.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

JOHNS: And it has the shirt off. It has a lot of skin, Larry. You're not interested. Trust me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love skin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We built puzzles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did puzzles.

KING: E-mail from Kyle from Frederick, Michigan. David Cook, what's with the orange bracelet?

D. COOK: There is a fantastic little girl in Tampa, Florida named Lindsay Rose Belcher (ph) and I met her dad. He is a reporter at the Top Twelve Press. And he told me this story about his daughter. She's got leukemia. She's nine or 10 years old. And asked if I would talk to her. So he called her on the phone and I got to talk to her for about five minutes and she was just such an amazing little girl. She's dealing with this horrible disease and completely unafflicted by it. She's just got an awesome temperament and her dad gave me the bracelet and I told him -- I was like, I'll wear it on the show. And for me, just, it was kind of a constant reminder that the show is an amazing thing but it's not everything. I get what the show is and what it isn't.

And to be able to have that kind of perspective on stage every night, I owe Lindsay this win. It was definitely a huge help.

KING: Great story.

E-mail from Nicole, Palmdale, California. "During the tour, will you guys be doing any meet and greet sessions before or after the show?"

JOHNS: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

JOHNS: Before the show.

KING: Before the show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Johns knows all about it.

JOHNS: I've been off the show a little while, Dave. I've got some -- I've got the rundown.

KING: David Archuleta, people who use DVRs or TiVos to record the show missed the results. Have you been hearing from people about that?

ARCHULETA: What do you mean?

KING: I don't know what it means.

JOHNS: I figured it out. It stopped on David. And the winner is David, and it stopped.

D. COOK: The comedic timing was perfect. The show ran a couple minutes over because Archie wanted more face time I guess. I don't know.

And -- so the TiVo actually cut off. The winner is David -- and then it stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow.

D. COOK: That's "American Idol" trying to create a little more suspense?

KING: Wasn't the reason Archie had to do his homework?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, that was a real long pause from Ryan Seacrest.

KING: We're not finished with our "Idol" worship. We'll be here after the break. Contest details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: We're back, Kristy, contestant David Hernandez was reported to have been a stripper. Did he ever say anything about that and do you think it hurt his chances?

K. COOK: You know, we all had stuff about us out there that could have hurt our chances but I think -- but I think -- I don't really think it did. I mean, we all went out, I think, the way it was meant to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And David Hernandez is a lovely person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. And a fantastic singer. I felt horrible standing up there with him. I'm always the last one standing with all my friends.

JOHNS: If I had a body like David Hernandez, I might strip too.

KING: We have an e-mail from --

(CROSS TALK)

KING: We have an -- Michael, you ought to go on the road. E- mail from Diana in Dixon, California. "Would both Davids consider recording a song together for their upcoming CDs?

D. COOK: Honestly, I always wondered how Archie and I were going to sound on that duet we did for the show and a lot of the feedback's been positive so --

ARCHULETA: Really? That's good. At least on his side. I think he just drowned my voice out.

D. COOK: I -- to be able to share the stage with these guys every week was what made it fun for me. And so I would welcome any of it. Archie, Carly, everybody but Jason.

KING: Chikezie, what advice would you give for someone wanting, thinking about being a contestant?

CHIKEZIE: Well, since I've had the most experience being a contestant, four years strong, don't give up. Don't give up no matter how many times Simon tells you to.

If it's your dream, then don't ever let anybody stop you because if you do, you'll be looking back wondering what if.

KING: Well said. E-mail from Christie (ph), Eagle Lake, Florida. Question for David Cook. "I think you're very talented and I know you went to the audition as a moral support for your brother and ended up trying out on a whim. How have you dealt with all that's happened over the past few months?"

D. COOK: With as much of a level head as humanly possibly, I guess. Just -- the experience was definitely different from what I thought it was going to be because I thought -- I walked into this thinking it was going to be like me and 23 theater majors, which -- there is a joke there and it never ends well.

But, honestly, I met and made friends with some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life and it's an honor for me to kind of represent -- hopefully you guys will allow me to represent the group this season. And --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.

D. COOK: No, I mean, I --

(CROSS TALK)

D. COOK: First or 24th, man, I walked out of here a winner, so everything is gravy for me.

KING: Well said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really is.

KING: Hey, you're going to want to enter our "American Idol" contest. You'll want the prize details right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: Syesha, you like doing groups like that?

MERCADO: Yeah. I enjoyed it. It reminds me of musical theater.

KING: It's not, can you top this?

MERCADO: No.

KING: OK.

We've got a second great contest for you. The first person to e- mail us, a complete list of the songs that David Archuleta sang solo during the "American Idol" competition -- competition is the key word -- will win a pair of my suspenders autographed by all the "American Idol" finalists. So go to CNN.com/LarryKing to enter and win.

And in a moment I'll tell you about a great show coming up tomorrow night. I want to get a few more e-mails in before this group leaves us.

E-mail from Tempest (ph) in New Orleans. It's for Jason. "Does it upset you some people think your laid-back personality is a result of smoking weed?"

CASTRO: It doesn't upset me. It's kind of an ignorant assumption, I think. Because I'm taking it easy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I jump in?

JOHNS: Michael Johns is kind of drag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the most (INAUDIBLE) guy on the planet. The truth is that he takes more nap than anybody I've ever known.

CASTRO: The reason I'm so laid back is because most of the time I just woke up.

KING: So --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the show, he's asleep on the couch.

(CROSS TALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were out (inaudible) and you were sleeping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually -- I lived with Castro for a while and I can promise you that that representation of him is completely false.

KING: It's a myth.

OK. E-mail, Gail, Sarasota, Florida. "Are you limited to a list of songs you can choose each week?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Sarasota. I'll answer that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's -- oh. It just depends. Like Carly said, there is a list that we get every week. Well, some weeks. And some weeks we get to choose what we want to sing. It just depends on what the theme was. It just depends.

KING: There were 97.5 million votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.

KING: What do you make of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mind blowing.

D. COOK: I think if anything that kind of indication for the season. We -- there was just a ton of talent this year. And I think having instruments helped because it allowed us to show kind of a different side of ourselves as performers so --

KING: What are you guys --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the harmonica.

KING: That's -- what do you fellows think of Ryan Seacrest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a professional.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a real nice fellow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a busy-body.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's always on his Blackberry.

KING: He's on his Blackberry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's always on his Blackberry.

KING: He's fleet-footed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got to be one of the hardest-working --

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Hold on. What did you say, Michael?

JOHNS: I said he's one-take Seacrest. He comes in, gets his script, looks at it one time and then looks straight at the camera, in front of 35 million people, and just delivers every week. He's pretty amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that number that we did on the finale night -- I don't know if you guys saw this but when all the break dancers were dancing --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was dancing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was break dancing --

(CROSS TALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) I didn't know he could dance like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man is a jack of all trades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if he sleeps ever because he's got a morning show --

JOHNS: He's going to take everyone's job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got a morning show and everything. KING: But he's got to have his little Blackberry in his hands. The man is fixated.

An e-mail from Nick in Bay City, Michigan. We love him, by the way. "Do you check Internet message boards to get the public's opinion about your performances?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

KING: No?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Try to stay away from it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I broke down a couples and I looked. I broke down a couple times this season.

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Let's get in another e-mail from Theresa (ph), Duncan Falls, Ohio.

"Do you think it would be easier for the fans to vote for the one they want to be voted off? Having more than one favorite makes it hard to vote but usually I know who I don't want to go on?"

D. COOK: You know what? Again, we keep talking about that. I think there's a good and bad in that because either way, if you stuff the ballot box either way, you stuff the ballot box, so --

KING: OK, David. Your honor. Right away, thanks a lot, Michael.

JOHNS: Hey, thanks guys. Appreciate it, Larry.

KING: Have fun in the desert. We all miss you.

Saluting you, I am going to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa.

D. COOK: Thank you. Thank you so much.

KING: Some day this will be valuable.

D. COOK: Thank you very much.

KING: The "American Idol" tour is coming soon to a city near you and don't forget our contest and our two quick vote questions, who is your favorite of all the "American Idols" who is your favorite "Idol" runner-up. It's at CNN.com/LarryKing. And while you're there you can downcast -- download, rather, our latest podcast, Jesse Ventura and it sounds like he's going to run for the Senate. We've got video clips, transcripts and our special "About Last Night" section where I comment on our last show. It's all at CNN.com/LarryKing. Tomorrow night, a look at the potential dangers of cell phones.

It's time now for Anderson Cooper and AC 360. See you tomorrow.