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'Idol Hangover': David Cook Talks New Music, Old Label and What the Future Holds (Video)

Plus: the season 7 winner, who debuted a new track on this week's "American Idol," discusses leaving Los Angeles and where he plans to go next, both personally and professionally.

When American Idol winner David Cook returned to the stage that launched his career on Thursday, the purpose was to debut a brand new song, "The Last Song I'll Write For You," and offer a sonic sneak peek at his musical future. But his appearance also prompted many viewers to look back at the past -- to season 7 when the Missouri native first wowed an unsuspecting audience of some 30 million viewers with his always memorable performances and endless charm, turning out to be one of the most beloved victors the show had ever seen.

VIDEO: 'American Idol's' Hollie Cavanagh: Jimmy Iovine's Comments 'Were Like a Punch in the Face'

Not all that much has changed since that fateful day in May 2008, but now, at almost 30 years old and no longer tethered to RCA Records, Cook has the best of both worlds: the freedom to make his music his way while still maintaining a connection to the series that made him a household name.

Never one to shy away from such weighty matters, Cook sat down with THR music editor Shirley Halperin to talk about his new direction, which includes -- gulp -- moving away from Los Angeles, but never leaving Idol behind.

VIDEO: 'American Idol' Vs. 'The Voice': Contestants Take On Josh Groban, James Brown

Also on deck: his thoughts on season 11's hopefuls and what it means to be Idol's OG WGWG (white guy with guitar). That’s all in part 1 of this week’s episode (watch it below). In part 2, THR.com editor Joseph Kapsch helps run down the week's hot topics. Watch that here

A programming note: THR's special Idol correspondent Didi Benami is out sick this week and we wish her a speedy recovery!

Twitter: @Idol_Worship