'Idol' Cook Dating, Having 'Time of My Life'

A few weeks ago on "American Idol," David Cook announced that he was single. Well, it looks like his status is changing.

Monday, on ABC's "Live with Regis & Kelly," Cook admitted he took "Idol" Season Two finalist Kimberly Caldwell out on a date to Ruth's Chris steakhouse. Apparently, the date went well. Later, the 2008 winner told ABC News Radio, "She's great, and I look forward to seeing her again."

Caldwell and Cook bonded over their joint "Idol" journey. "We got a chance to talk a little bit about the whole experience, and it's nice to get a fresh perspective," Cook said. "For me, all this is new."

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The newly crowned champ remains humble. "I'm just a nerd who got lucky," he said of his win.

In fact, Cook was never the sure winner. Back during Hollywood week, judge Simon Cowell voted not to let him through, but fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson overruled him. Cowell also declared that Cook's finalist competitor, David Archuletta, had beaten him in the final sing-off -- but fans disagreed, making Cook the winner by 12 million votes.

So, is it time to stop listening to Cowell? Cook said no. "Simon, 99 percent of the time, is pretty dead on," he said. "I can only hope I won him over."

Cook believes the key to his success on the show was the fact that he was allowed to play guitar.

"Without instruments, this season, I [would've] probably been one of the contestants that didn't make it through," Cook said. "It definitely added to my performance ability. I've talked to some past Idols, and a lot of them are very talented instrumentally. It's just the show never really catered to that. So to have that come in this season, I thought, was a blessing for me."

Cook's Favorite Songs

"Nightline" sat down with Cook this week at Southern Hospitality in New York, the sports bar co-owned by Justin Timberlake, to talk about his musical influences and favorite artists.

"I think some of the best songs are the ones that you don't really know why they grab you, they just do," he said.

Growing up, Cook says he had "a little bit of an eclectic musical upbringing," listening to everything from pop to rock to country.

"Garth Brooks' 'Thunder Rolls,' I thought was a great song," he said.

"My parents always sort of allowed me to find my own way," he added. "Growing up I think the first band I got into — just following the trends like everyone else — I got into Boyz II Men and Kriss Kross and stuff like that."

"It's really funny because on the show I got to meet Mariah Carey, and one of my favorite songs Boyz II Men ever did was 'One Sweet Day' [with Carey]. I remember I bought that Mariah Carey album, actually. So it was a trip to meet her."

Cook also said he had an "awkward moment" with the superstar when the two met on "American Idol." He told Carey that one of the first records he bought was one of hers.

"I couldn't really remember what [the album was] called, so I said the one that's gold," he recalled. "She said, 'Honey, all my records are gold.' And I was like, no, the one that's actually gold."

As a teenager, Cook told "Nightline" that his musical tastes continued to evolve, and he was particularly influenced by two songs with "edge" and "a little bit of angst."

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