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After each group had finished, the judges cut those they felt not talented enough. In the final round, all the remaining contestants performed individually a song chosen from a large list of songs provided, accompanied by the band and three backup singers.

His nonselection was later revealed to have resulted in serious rift between Simon Cowell and the show producer Nigel Lythgoe.

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

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

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 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.

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.

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