Idolatry: Kris Wins


Kris Allen took home the title of American Idol (and a nifty trophy) as Season 8 came to close with the biggest celebrity whoopla under one roof.

But let’s be honest. Kris is talented, distinct, heartbreakingly gorgeous and one of the most likeable contestants ever on the show, but stacked up against Adam Lambert, technically he is just not as good.

Earlier in the season The New York Times ran a piece on the front page of its Sunday Styles section about Adam’s sexual ambiguity. While the article didn’t come right out and call him gay, we all have seen the pictures of him kissing other dudes.

But Adam didn’t lose the competition because of his sexual orientation. He lost because he is different.

In a year where America elected its first black president, it’s a bit odd that we wouldn’t vote for a glam-man on a singing competition. But if you look at President Barack Obama, other than skin color, he is not that much different than any other president – he is poised, eloquent and put together. Above all else, President Obama is approachable.

Adam on the other hand appears standoffish and a bit arrogant. How can a mom in middle-America relate to a California guy who wears eyeliner, black nail polish and metal wings? Adam may have fit right in with Kiss last night, but not with the general population. We may declare and demand change, but not when that change is strange.

Since the show aired in the summer of 2002 America has had a fascination with the reality competition, as proven with nearly 100 million votes cast Tuesday night. The idea that anyone can go from being a student, bar tender, mother, or oil rig worker, to an instant household name, is the ultimate American dream.

That dream was realized in Kris Allen, the small-town boy from Conway, Arkansas who got the chance last night to stand on stage in front of a packed stadium and strum a guitar next to Keith Urban.

Only nine months ago he simply made a decision to audition, never expecting he would be the one left standing. “There’s probably people better than me,” he told the judges during that first audition. And up until the very end he maintained that humility saying “Adam really deserves this,” even after he was declared the winner.

It’s that familiarity and humble charm that drove votes. If Kris can win the biggest talent competition in the world, maybe there’s a chance for me.