Although he claims not to have the same dedication to music as his older brother, he tried out for Idol in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was joined by Cook and Foraker. That’s when Cook was thrown into the reality show’s whirlwind purely on a whim, after never seeing Idol as his path. “I convinced David into trying out with me, and since then, we have never looked back,” Andrew explains. “I was so confident in David and I going to the next round [of auditions], but only one Cook made it through, and looking back I am glad it was David instead of me.”

“David came up to me one on one after the cattle call auditions and asked me, ‘Do you want me to continue farther into this competition or do you want me to stop here?’ I quickly told him, ‘David if you do quit right now, I am going to kick your (bad word that shouldn’t be printed).’”

As Cook and Johns sit before me, they seem to enjoy taking shots at each other with private jokes. Suddenly, the spitfire turns in my direction, and Cook’s dry wit rears its head as he begins to look at me both skeptically and quizzically. “I’m just lookin’ at her face,” he says to Johns as I cut in to argue my point, but Cook continues his thought. “Like it’s a real ominous question!”

After I am able to complete my inquiry, he tells me his current musical inspirations are a “Muse, meets U2, meets Our Lady Peace kinda vibe.” He continues: “I mean, Muse’s live shows; that’s the kind of stuff that inspires me. Just to think that there’s a chance that I could get to this point where I could put a show together like that. I think about, after all, how it was for me standing in an audience and seeing stuff like that. To be on the other side of that, I think, would be the coolest feeling in the world; just to have that entire audience in the palm of your hand.

“The first show I ever did for a large crowd was, for like, a thousand people at my college; we opened for Smash Mouth,” Cook recalls. “When I walked out onstage, I got a look up at how tall the ceiling was, and that was the barometer for me; the taller the ceiling, the bigger I’ve got.”

He couldn’t hide his awe and emotion later that night during his set on this large arena’s stage, staring up at one of the largest ceilings he’s ever played beneath. He asked that the house lights be turned up so that he could see his audience in its entirety and film them on his personal digital video camera. You could easily see the tears building up and the indisputable appreciation for where he was at that very moment. All of his hard work and passion had paid off, and whether he realized it or not, by the looks on their faces, he had that audience in the palm of his hand.

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