Look at Kris Allen’s astonished face. He’s just been told he’s won American Idol and even he knows he probably shouldn’t have. “Adam deserves this,” he tried to say, as a woman brought him that ugly winner’s trophy and the band launched into his new single about mountain climbing during hurricanes, “No Boundaries,” by Kara DioGuardi. When Adam Lambert congratulated him, then graciously ceded the spotlight, Kris looked embarrassed and disappointed, and not just in the fake way that most contestants do when other people get sent home. So we totally get it — he’s humble and fully aware that his modest vocal gifts and dopey, soft-rocking stage presence are no match for Lambert’s flamboyance and virtuoso screeching ability. Is it possible to begrudge Kris his victory? Of course not. Even we like him now! But did he win for his down-to-earth appeal or because part of America was voting against an unambiguous gay who dresses like Captain EO? And, since the answer is both, how are we supposed to feel about it this morning?
It’s a bummer. No matter the final result, the big story of American Idol’s eighth season was clearly viewers’ unlikely embrace of fey, eardrum-rupturing Adam Lambert. The fact that he made it past Bible-thumping Danny Gokey to the finals at all is a sure sign that some kind of progress is under way. Though the judges gifted him with front-runner status way before it was deserved, he totally grew into it (“Mad World” probably did it for us). And, as was made obvious by his hilarious outshining of his rival on last night’s duet of “We Are the Champions” (a song selected by producers who were surely expecting a different victor), if the world were fair, he would’ve won easily.
Still, his name is already on Katy Perry’s cape — what more could a guy possibly ask for in today’s dead music business? Realistically, controversy over his loss will further his career more than a victory (and being cursed with “No Boundaries” as an atrocious first single) ever would’ve. And if either of this season’s finalists could actually benefit from appearing in Ford commercials and signing an inescapable deal with 19 Management, it’s Kris, who certainly has no business advocating for himself out there.
So, yes, last night’s results were mostly bullshit. Even so — good for Kris!