KRIS ALLEN IS THE NEW AMERICAN IDOL.
Now, my regular readers know I am extremely crushed--CRUSHED!--by this news. I might have been rooting for Bo Bice in season 4 and Blake Lewis in season 6, but their respective defeats were much easier for me to take (and much more expected) than this shocking setback.
Adam Lambert was my unabashed early favorite the instant I saw a viral video of him glamming and hamming it up in a Hollywood rock band wearing vaccum-packed pleather pants and some sort of bizarre man-corset. Back then, I jadedly assumed he wouldn't even make the top 13, because his theatrical antics--along with those much-discussed Interweb JPEGs of him floating around--would likely alienate much of America. But soon it seemed like none of that "scandalous" stuff mattered much to the viewing public, and Adam subsequently kept getting voted through based on his TALENT.
I started to believe that there was a subtle cultural shift going on in this country. I mean, if a black, Democratic president could be elected in 2008, then surely a black-nail-polished, androgynous Idol could win in 2009, right? Yes he could!
Well, that did not happen. In perhaps the biggest upset in AmIdol history, the competition's darkest dark horse, the little contestant that could, the tortoise to Adam's hare--Kris Allen--took home the Idol title tonight.
But you know, maybe it wasn't such an "upset" after all. Maybe it was foolish of me to think that a copiously mascara'd, leather-sheathed, rock-operatic free spirit from Southern California could actually beat out a clean-cut, happily married church worship leader from Arkansas who kind of looks like Joey from Friends.
Then again...maybe Adam's defeat had NOTHING to do with any sort of liberal/conservative, guyliner/guy-next-door cultural divide after all. Maybe it was just all the over-the-top weekly hype surrounding Adam that created an unfortunate but inevitable backlash--especially the judges' blatant favoritism, which even I will admit was a bit much and would have bothered me a lot if I hadn't so wholeheartedly agreed with the judges or personally found Adam so uniquely deserving of such fawning. But perhaps Lambertmania turned off a lot of other voters, or made voters assume that Adam didn't "need" this victory as much as underdog Kris did.
Whatever the reason, I don't want Allen fans to think I have anything against Kris. I believe Kris is talented and authentic, and I'm glad he made it to the finale instead of any number of other contestants (like Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Anoop Desai--but NOT Allison Iraheta, whom I adored). I think Kris was a worthy opponent for Adam. I just don't think he deserved to WIN.
I honestly think America (or, more specifically, America's Danny Gokey fans, who possibly defected to Kris's side after Gokey left and effectively bridged that million-vote gap between Adam and Kris) got it very wrong here.
I will just take solace in the fact that a) Adam Lambert will get a record deal anyway; b) not winning may allow Adam to have more creative control over his debut album, and thus he'll release more genuinely freak-flag-flying material; c) Adam won't have to release that insipid "No Boundaries" as his first single; and d) Adam will probably outsell Kris in the long run.
Feel free to post your comments about the season 8 winner now, and let me know if you think Adam was robbed or if the right singer prevailed tonight.