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Unlike previous seasons, contestants whose performances not considered good enough were given a second chance in the second round.

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David Cook was announced the winner of the competition on May 21, 2008, defeating runner-up David Archuleta by a margin of roughly 12 million votes out of over 97 million, which was at that time the highest recorded vote total ever recorded in the show's history. The seventh season was the first season during which neither the winner nor the runner-up was ever in the bottom group during any week before the finale on May 21, 2008, with the second being the ninth season.

It was also the second season during which both the winner and the runner-up were male contestants, with the second season being the first, the third being the eighth season and the fourth being the fourteenth season.

The judges then deliberated further on who should be in the Top 24, and their decision was revealed the next day in the Green Mile episode.

One of the more prominent contestants during the Hollywood week was Josiah Leming whose unhappiness with the backing band resulted in him dismissing the band. Another piece of drama involved contestant Kyle Ensley when Simon Cowell voiced strong objection over him not being selected for the semifinals.

Changes were planned for season 7 designed to return attention to the contestants by providing more information on their backgrounds and families.

A major change for the seventh season was allowing contestants to play musical instruments, an element that originated on Australian Idol and can also be seen on Norway's Idol and Canadian Idol.

He impressed the judges with his performance of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and Bryan Adams's "Heaven" during the Hollywood round.

He was never in the "bottom three" and finished as the season seven runner-up. Syesha Mercado (born January 2, 1987 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 21 at the time of the show) is from Sarasota, Florida who auditioned in Miami with Aretha Franklin's "Think".

Some were shown playing the keyboard, guitar, or even the drums.

If the judges approved of the contestant's performance, they received a "free pass" to the third and final round of performances, and 48 contestants were given this "free pass".

The seventh season of American Idol, the annual reality show and singing competition, began on January 15, 2008 and concluded on May 21, 2008.

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