David Cook may be the newest "American Idol," and his fans back home think he's the perfect ambassador for the area.


 

David Cook slid across the floor, dressed in a white button-down shirt and white socks, and his fans went wild.

Cook impersonated Tom Cruise’s character from “Risky Business” for a Guitar Hero commercial on the season finale of “American Idol” before being named the winner.

Amber Smith, of Blue Springs, stopped everything to watch the commercial as the crowd around her screamed its approval.

“I think it’s amazing to have someone from this area,” Smith said.

Even Smith’s family in Georgia rooted for the Blue Springs native to win the contest. But in a singing competition where a 17-year-old was predicted to win early on, something about Cook stood out – something besides his talent and his ability change up his song choices.

“He seems so humble,” Smith said. “He’s never snide or smurky.”

Terri Murdock, also of Blue Springs, agrees with Smith. Murdock has watched every season of “American Idol,” and said season seven was her favorite.

“It’s almost like we have an emotional connection to it,” Murdock said.

Cook, through his songs and success on the show, helped unite the community around one goal – supporting a local guy as he followed his dreams.

And it wasn’t just Cook the fans were supporting. They were engrossed in the story of Cook auditioning for the show with younger brother Andrew and took it upon themselves to support Cook’s charity of choice – the American Cancer Society – through T-shirt sales.

Another charity benefited from the local David Cook craze. Watch party guests at the Hilton Garden Inn paid a $2 admission, which went toward the charity Give Children the World.

Kris Swoboda, director of sales for Hilton, didn’t know off hand how much money was raised through the weekly watch parties. She estimated it was about $5,000 to $6,000.

“It was just incredible to be a part of it,” Swoboda said. “We couldn’t have asked for more… Without a doubt to be a part of it is really special.”

Looking around the large conference room at the Hilton after Cook was named the winner, it appeared about 400 other people wanted to be part of the festivities.

Nancy Egerstrom of Lee’s Summit stood back from a crowd of cheering fans after the results Wednesday and smiled.

“I’ll tell you what, his mom has got to be so proud,” Egerstrom said. “I’m just so excited for her.”

And his hometown is proud of him, too.

Debbie Whisler, president of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, said the whole community rejoiced with Cook and his family.

“I think it was a sense of accomplishment,” Whisler said about the community’s pride in the outcome.

Whisler joked that Cook gained a couple dozen new mothers throughout his journey on “American Idol.”

Whisler said Cook carried himself well, which made it easy for people to get behind him.

“He was just so sweet to all the other contestants,” Whisler said, pointing out how Cook was often found hugging contestants or helping them on and off the stage. “He just seemed very compassionate to everyone.”

Now Whisler and thousands more of Cook’s fans have the pleasure of saying they are from David Cook’s hometown, which Whisler said will probably bring a little recognition to the community.

“I’d like to think people will remember Blue Springs,” Whisler said, saying maybe people will drive through town on Interstate 70 and remember David Cook. “It’s instant recognition.”

It’s not just Blue Springs Whisler believes Cook will represent well.

“He’s a good ambassador for the youth of America,” Whisler said. “His parents have done a wonderful job of raising a wonderful young man.”

The Examiner