After many weeks of whittling down the pool of contestants to the final two, American Idol crowned a new reigning champ to take the title of American Idol … and last night’s show was a doozy. As you should be well aware, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were the last two competitors standing and who performed on Monday night in the final showdown:
Just in case you missed watching the finale last night and just in case you missed news of the winner as it saturated every corner of the Internets, I’ll keep the reveal behind the cut. After the jump, find out who won and who lost in this year’s American Idol competition …
Much to pretty much everyone’s surprise Adam Lambert did NOT win last night’s competition … despite the fact that Entertainment Weekly thought he was a shoe-in and featured him on the cover of their magazine weeks before last night’s finale:
It was actually Kris Allen, the little guy with the guitar, who shocked the world and won the title … he is our new American Idol:
Kris Allen beamed with disbelief, shook his head as if to reject that this was really happening and doubled over in shock. The fact that he’d just beaten rollicking vocal powerhouse Adam Lambert for the “American Idol” title wasn’t going to sink in quickly for the unassuming underdog from Arkansas. The only downside to this stunning victory: He was going to have to sing “No Boundaries” one more time. “I’m sorry, I don’t even know what to feel right now. This is crazy,” said the 23-year-old from Conway, Ark., as he leaned on host Ryan Seacrest to keep from staggering. Allen’s smooth vocals and boy-next-door image gave him the edge after nearly 100 million viewer votes were cast, turning the theatrical Lambert into the most unlikely of also-rans. When the season started, Allen seemed unsure he had a right to take center stage, let alone stand there and snatch victory from such a formidable rival. During his “Idol” audition last summer, Allen, hands in his pockets and a newsboy cap pulled down around his eyes, was asked by the judges if he was the best singer around. “You know, there’s probably people who are better than me,” was Allen’s response, offered in the quiet, low-key spirit he retained despite his growing profile. Conversely, Lambert’s commanding vocal range and stage presence — and the judges’ lavish adoration — at times turned “Idol” into “The Adam Lambert Show,” with the other contestants mere guests. But it turned out that “Idol” viewers could embrace a gifted performer like Lambert, one who sported black nail polish and bold self-assurance, only to a point. Cowell tipped his hat to both contestants Wednesday night, who shared a moment of musical camaraderie when they joined with Queen on the rock anthem “We Are the Champions.” “To both of you, and I don’t normally mean this, I thought you were both brilliant … the future’s all yours,” the judge said. “Adam did win. So did Kris. Nobody lost tonight. These are two champions,” said Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley from backstage. The comments from Cowell and Stanley aren’t necessarily empty platitudes. Past contestants can testify that losing the title doesn’t mean you’re a loser, nor does winning mean you’re a shoo-in for superstardom. Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, who finished fourth and seventh in their respective seasons, have gone on to huge success. As for “Idol” winners, they range from blockbuster artists like Carrie Underwood to the mostly under-the-radar Taylor Hicks. Backstage, Lambert was asked about how his second-place finish would be interpreted online. “The blogs have a lot of opinions, don’t they?” he said, smiling and looking relaxed. His own interpretation? “I think Kris won because he’s a great artist and I was happy to be runner-up to that,” he said. Wednesday’s outcome echoed last year’s contest, which also looked at the outset like it was going the other way. Cowell all but crowned David Archuleta after the performance finale, calling his a “knockout performance” — but the victory went to David Cook. Lambert was such a powerful, unique performer that his fans were allowed a sense of entitlement on his behalf. But his triumph wasn’t inevitable. When Allen and Lambert were declared the finalists last week, just 1 million viewer votes separated the pair out of 88 million cast. Allen bloomed during the season, gaining more assurance onstage and winning viewers over with his heartfelt vocals, modest demeanor and well-scrubbed good looks.
When I heard the news, I was pretty damn surprised myself — but mainly because I was totally influenced by the media hype machine (I don’t even watch the show and, yet, I thought that Adam had the competition in the bag because that is what everyone was saying) … but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Adam Lambert lost because of a mix of circumstances. First, he was overhyped (the media saturation did not help him, in the end it hurt him). Second, Danny Gokey‘s fans/voters went over to support Kris Allen (all the voters who were voting for Adam all along stuck with him but the Gokey + Allen fans put Kris over the top). Third, you can never underestimate the Christian vote (just like in California when it was widely believed that same-sex marriage would be upheld, Christian voters came out in droves and won … it’s very clear who they were supporting in this competition). In the end, Adam Lambert will be totally fine … he will deffo have a huge career and by not winning, he is not saddled down by the constraints of having to be the American Idol (ie. he won’t have to sing that horrible Kara DioGuardi song No Boundaries ever again!). Kris Allen absolutely deserves to win … his talent, in the end, is what made the difference. Much congrats to him.
The thing about American Idol is … once all the drama dies down (in the fast-paced world of the Interweb, that should happen sometime today) we can all move on and focus on something else. After all, it won’t be long until American Idol starts casting for next season’s competition.