Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol Finale Results

Who should have won American Idol: Kris Allen

Who I predicted would win American Idol: Kris Allen


After the last few years, it's nice to finally be able to celebrate an electoral victory!

This odd season of American Idol has produced the most unlikely winner in it's 8 season history. When Kris Allen walked into an audition room at Louisville, Kentucky last summer, he almost certainly had no idea that he might possibly win this competition or even come close. Neither did anybody else associated with the show. In America though, all things are possible, and the new microphone trophy goes to a complete darkhorse, in what will be a shock to many, but one that I saw as a realistic possibility well over a month ago.

In fact, before the season even really began, when Idol junkies were still buzzing over contestant spoilers and possible winners, I had a feeling that the person to take it all might be one who was not even being mentioned as a possible Finalist. America likes underdogs and takes some umbrage at being told by judges and producers who they were supposed to vote for. When things like that happen, a backlash is almost inevitable, as the fans of the contestants who were voted off find it hard to pledge their support to a front-runner. The hopefuls for Season Nine are going to be very wary about getting too much airtime or "pimping" early on. This season, the stack was decked against Kris from the very beginning, considering his audition was not even broadcast, but he found a way to prevail. By the way, did the cameras catch Simon Cowell and the other judges facial reactions at all after the results were announced? I do not recall seeing it, as is usually seen at that point. I would love to see the look on Simon's face, assuming he did not already know what the results were.

One cannot help but feel good for Kris on a personal level. His humility (in contrast to some politicians for instance) is quite admirable. Also worthy of praise is the gracefulness of Adam Lambert this evening and throughout the season. He definitely auditioned thinking he deserved to and could win. Confidence has never been his problem, but whether it involves some acting or not, he has come across this season as a likable person, and I think he is probably truly happy for his friend Kris. At least this way, he may not have to answer as much on his first album to the "Idol Machine."

There is no denying Adam's vocal abilities. For the record, I thought he was definitely better than Kris tonight in all the duets and group performances they got to do, not that it mattered at this point. It might really be a good idea for Queen, who is in need of a new singer, to try to work something out with Adam, but that is not likely for at least another year, as long as Adam remains under contract with 19 Entertainment. To be sure, Adam will have an album out this summer, and if he does the music he most wants to, he might find it hard to keep all of the fans he had on Idol. His musical direction will not resemble what he did on "Tracks of My Tears" or some of the other ballads he did. It also will not be very '80's rock, to which he has often been likened to. Instead, it will likely be sort of the techno male Lady Gaga direction, and he could do reasonably well on the charts in the short term, but I have my doubts if he is truly going to be relevant for the long-term. Adam may have the "better voice" than Kris, but it is far easier to envision the eventual album of the now winner, and how it would be able to fit in better with today's current radio and record sales markets.

Adam has a lot of good things to look forward to after years of toiling in the musical theater industry, but I do not see him reaching the levels of mainstream success seen by Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, or Chris Daughtry, or even that of emerging Idol standouts such as Jordin Sparks, David Cook, and David Archuleta.

I can almost guarantee that the next few days of Idol discussion in the media will involve accusations of homophobia among Americans and if Kris owes his victory to the "Christian Vote." As I mentioned yesterday, somebody is going to directly ask Adam the gay question and try to engage Kris's opinion in that as well. How both handle it will be interesting, but it is likely to overshadow the music aspect of the show in the next few days. I also have to note that Kris is so laid back and humble, he is going to find doing all the media rounds very interesting. Kris seems like a great guy, but he is not exactly great for interview soundbites. Last year, the two Davids made the media rounds together, but runner-up Archie certainly deferred to the very loquacious Cook. This year may see the reverse with Kris, the winner, letting the runner-up Adam do most of the talking.

Congratulations to a worthy winner, who by his own admission, knows he does not have one of the greatest voices in music today, but has appealed to enough people through his personality, appearance, musical abilities, and an ability to connect to what he was singing about, a trait I first found positive about him way back in the semifinals. He also took a great deal of risks throughout the competition through his song choices and arrangements that wound up paying off. It also helps that he hails from the South and speaks with a bit of an accent. Once again, "Blue Staters" are denied the American Idol title, just as I predicted would happen way back when (even though I might have personally wound up voting for Allison Iraheta in a Finale.)

Kris and the first ever First Lady of American Idol are in for quite a ride the next year plus. I hope they enjoy it, because when they said their vows back in September, this was probably not something they considered would really happen.

Finally, it has been said throughout the season about what a generous person Kris was in regards to helping out his fellow contestants with song choices and arrangement tips. Now, is a great opportunity for Kris to do what he can to truly exemplify "Idol Gives Back" by ceding the dreadful "No Boundaries" single to Danny Gokey.