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How American Idol Winner David Cook Helped Season 20 Contestants Through Hollywood Week

David Cook on American Idol on ABC
(Image credit: ABC)

American Idol Season 20 is moving right along on ABC, but so far, it hasn’t felt much like a landmark season. Sure, the inclusion of a Platinum Ticket twist was a nice touch, but it appears the show intends to work in more nostalgia now that Hollywood Week is finally here. As contestants work their way to advance in the second stage of the competition, they’ll have past alumni like Season 7 winner David Cook to aid them in the competition. 

David Cook will serve as a mentor to American Idol contestants during Hollywood Week alongside other past winners and contestants like Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina, Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard (who returned last season as well), Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze, Season 10’s Haley Reinhart, and even Season 19’s winner Chayce Beckham. Cook spoke to Variety about helping out the Season 20 contestants and how he specifically helped them navigate Hollywood Week and the immense pressure on them.  

I tried to be of service, pointing out, ‘You’ve got the talent to do this, and I understand the cameras and the lights and all of that could be very distracting, particularly if you’re not used to performing live in those settings with no net. You’re here for a reason, so just be confident in your space and let all the other stuff that’s going on around you go. It’s all peripheral. It’s all noise. As a performer, it is your job and your responsibility to own that space.'

American Idol’s audition process is stressful and taxing, but it’s fair to say Hollywood Week takes it to the next level. It’s there that the judges make their decisions on the talent truly worthy of the next stage of the competition and weed out those who don’t stand a reasonable chance of winning. It’s a lot of pressure, especially when contestants aren’t used to performing under those circumstances, as David Cook mentioned. 

The pressure of Hollywood Week also takes a mental toll (which leads to drama) beyond performing on stage. David Cook explained what all happens in Hollywood Week and how he worked to help stars handle that. 

Hollywood Week, especially, is a lot of work and not a lot of sleep. Everybody goes into it all excited, [and] by the end of the week, everybody’s so frazzled. That’s when you start to see the tears and the meltdowns and all that. So, I was trying to help them navigate that too– the mental, psychological aspect of just how crazy Hollywood Week can be.

American Idol’s Hollywood Week for Season 20 feels like a more important affair than past seasons, especially with so few contestants separating themselves from the pack. There are a lot of bubble contestants that can make or break (like Claudia Conway’s run last year) their runs with the right performance, and likely at least one or two contestants like those in past seasons who will just get unlucky (see Season 19’s Murphy). That’s all part of singing competitions, so I don’t envy Katy Perry and the rest on the decisions they have to make this season. 

American Idol airs on ABC on Sundays and Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. It’s one of many entertaining returning shows back on television, so be sure to keep an eye on all that’s airing in primetime so that you don’t accidentally miss the return of your favorite show!

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.