There are times when I've actually felt a little bad for Kris Allen. Yes, I know that sounds weird: How could anyone feel sorry for the guy who won on the biggest show on TV? But Kris spent the entire eighth American Idol season being labeled the "dark horse" and having to prove himself to Simon Cowell over and over again. And although he was ultimately (and some would say unexpectedly) the winner of this year's Idol, snagging the majority of the finale's whopping 100 million votes, most of the media attention--from Rolling Stone cover stories to 20/20 interviews to (YES, I freely admit it) this very blog--has still focused on the "frontrunner" that Kris beat out, second-placer Adam Lambert.
Despite Kris's constant humility on Idol, whether auditioning (when he declared, "There's probably better singers than me"), winning (when he reacted, unscriptedly, with "Adam deserves this"), or dealing with post-finale Glambertmania, I've always wondered...doesn't he secretly resent this? Doesn't he ever want to get up in people's faces and shout, "Hey, everybody, newsflash: I WON. Not that other guy. ME." Hasn't he ever come close to having some sort of Jan Brady "Marcia Marcia Marcia"-esque meltdown moment?
Except, dear readers...Kris is that nice. He really, really is.
When I interviewed Kris in his dressing room at the Idols Live Tour rehearsals, I tried my darnedest to get him to admit to a little jealousy, or even just assert that he hands-down deserved to win American Idol. But no dice. That's just not Kris's style.
Instead he praised his fellow contestants, spoke glowingly of the Kradam bond, declared "Adam's a winner too," and even over-modestly claimed he can venture out in public unnoticed. (In fact, when I met him, he introduced himself to me by his first and last name--as if I would not recognize him or something. Ha.) I didn't believe him for a moment regarding that last statement, by the way. Just because he doesn't go out in public wearing attention-getting black nail varnish or platform Kiss boots hardly means he doesn't run the risk of being mobbed by fangirls every time he leaves the house without a bodyguard. Puh-leeze. If his laid-back style was enough to win over much of America, it's enough to cause a commotion if he walks into a 7-11.
So I finally realized that Kris's nice-guy act is in fact NOT an act, and that he is indeed one of the nicest guys on the planet; that took up a decent chunk of part 1 of my interview. But we also discussed how Kris is a great role model for Christians (well, of course KRIS doesn't think he is, but I do, and I told him so); why all the political/cultural debate surrounding American Idol this year shouldn't matter; how he's a "rebel" in his own quiet way; and how (despite his humility) he should be proud to represent a really strong, musically diverse Idol season (in my opinion, the best season yet). Here's how the first part of our chat went:
In part 2, we got down to what always mattered most: The music, man. In this section I admit I got a little fangirly myself discussing Kris's genius decision to cover the Once soundtrack's "Falling Slowly" (one of the most musically credible moments of AI 8, and my favorite performance of his), especially when Kris emotionally spoke about the reaction his version elicited from the song's composers, Glen Hansard (of the Frames) and Marketa Irglova.
We also talked about what his debut album will sound like and, perhaps most excitingly, the big singalong number he will be performing on the Idols Live Tour. When you go to the concert make sure to bring your cellphones, kids (or your Bic lighters, if you're old-school), 'cause you're going to want to whip them out and hold them up, high and illuminated, when Kris gets his big, non-humble, victorious stadium moment:
The Idols Live Tour starts July 5, buy your tickets HERE!