Reality Rocks - Archive

It’s Not Kris Allen’s Fault

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

I'm beginning to feel bad for Kris Allen. It's not his fault that America made a mistake.

Now, my regular readers know that as an avid Adam Lambert supporter since Hollywood Week, I am still reeling over Adam's defeat on American Idol last Wednesday. I truly feel Adam was the REAL Idol. Many other viewers and readers agree with me. And I have a feeling even Kris Allen agrees with me a little bit, since the first words out of his mouth, upon hearing the news from Ryan Seacrest that he'd won, were: "Adam deserves this."

But poor Kris, deserving or not, hasn't been able to fully savor his victory, and not just because he might be suffering from survivor's guilt. His win is the most tainted and bittersweet in Idol history--especially in light of new accusations of voter tampering.

For instance, the entire finale--which was supposed to be a celebration of the WINNING Idol--was instead The Adam Lambert Show, since the only real finale highlights people were chattering about around the watercooler the following morning (aside from Kara DioGuardi's Bikini Girl duet) were Adam's history-making performances with Kiss and Queen. (Yes, I know Kris sang with Queen as well, but "We Are The Champions" was completely inappropriate for his style and he was utterly upstaged, only taking on the lower, easier parts and then stepping back into the woodwork while Adam belted out all the big power-notes.)

And then, from the minute Kris entered the finale night press room about an hour after winning, the question on the lips of every reporter at the Nokia Theater was not "How does it feel to win?" but "Are you surprised you won?" or "Are you surprised Adam lost?" (I was in the press room and I can assure you, the reporters were much more excited when Adam showed up backstage to field press queries.)

And of course, the big news on every blog and in every newspaper last Thursday morning was not "KRIS ALLEN WINS!" but "ADAM LAMBERT LOSES!" Despite coming in second, Adam was still the bigger story.

Conspiracy theories abounded--about the "Christian vote," about Arkansas phone-banking, about the voting being rigged by 19 Entertainment because Adam didn't "need" to win as much as Kris did, about anti-Semitism and homophobia, and most recently about unethical AT&T involvement. The fact that more Americans might have preferred Kris's musical style, plain and simple, was rarely discussed.  

And then everyone was crying out, "What will Adam do next?"--record with Queen, go on the road with Kiss, star in the next Spiderman movie?--while no one in the media seemed to care about Kris's next crucial career move. (Then again, Kris-friendly finale acts Jason Mraz and Keith Urban weren't exactly offering jobs to Kris, were they?)

I understand the lack of general media interest in Kris. He's just not as interesting. I mean, I'm a member of the media and I've never been all that interested in him. But then both versions of "No Boundaries" came out, and it seemed like the powers-that-be at Idol weren't all that interested in Kris, either.

Adam's recording was a lushly produced, speaker-rustling power-ballad that sounded like it was slaved over in the studio for several days. Kris's single comparatively sounded like it was recorded in a closet during a studio lackey's lunch break. Additionally, Adam's cover art featured a slickly styled picture and lots of cloud-flare Photoshop effects, while Kris's resembled a student project from a basic Quark Xpress 101 class, with just some Helvetica slapped across a Kris photo that looked like it'd been taken at a kiosk in a mall.

And on top of all that, the record label that reps both Kris and Adam sent out a press release declaring Adam "the real American Idol." Yes, I wholeheartedly agreed with this statement--I do deeply believe, down to my very core, that Adam was totally robbed--but still, I felt bad for Kris that he didn't even have the support of his own label.

Of course, it's hard to actively dislike Kris. As angry as I am that he won, I've never been angry at him, since he's been extremely, self-effacingly humble about his Idol win and it's clear that he has nothing but admiration and respect for his good friend Adam. If the conspiracy theories about the "Christian vote" are at all true, that stuff had nothing to do with Kris, and Kris himself would surely not approve of any sort of anti-Adam hate campaign. (Kris made that clear on CNN's Larry King Live show last Friday, telling guest host Ryan Seacrest: "I guess me and Adam were doing an interview before the show. [And I was asked] 'Kris, do you think you're going to get the Christian vote now that Danny's gone?' And that was rough, that was kind of upsetting, because the show's not about religion...we are there to do music and there to sing, and hopefully people vote on that.")

Obviously, many people, myself included, are unhappy that Kris won American Idol. But it's not really his fault that he won. He knew he wasn't the best singer (he said so, flat-out, at his audition), but he shrugged his shoulders, crossed his fingers, and tried his best. He's not the one who messed up. It's the voters (or maybe AT&T) who messed up.

I wonder if any of this bums Kris out. I wonder if he worries that he won't ever sell as many records or get as much press as Adam. I wonder if he feels like a fraud. And I wonder if Adam Lambert feels kind of bad, too.

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