Stunning ’American Idol’ Victory Opens Wide Doors for Kris Allen

Kris Allen’s stunning victory tonight on the season finale of American Idol comes as quite a surprise.

Adam Lambert had been the front-runner for months, but like the horse that charges late in the race – does the Kentucky Derby ring a bell? – Allen came on fast and strong at the end.

As we surmised last week, Allen may have split the “mainstream” vote with Danny Gokey, nudging him in to the finals.

It seems now that was more than hyperbole.

Allen’s homespun appeal apparently was the ticket that carried the day.

As shocked as I may be, Allen has a door of wide open musical possibilities.

His worship musician background could lead to a folksy brand of contemporary Christian music, although that genre seems in the short-term more likely for Gokey. Seeing Gokey cover a Casting Crowns tune on his first album, for example, would be a natural fit.

Allen could conceivably go down a country music road. He has the look and the guitar-playing flair, as his duet Wednesday with Keith Urban illustrated.

What seems more possible, and frankly more appealing, is somewhere in the Dave Matthews-John Mayer-Jack Johnson arena of nimble playing and intelligent soulful lyrics. Simon Cowell may have panned his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” but I rather enjoyed it and saw it as a realistic direction.

The most important thing for Allen as his faith walk begins a whole new dimension in stardom is to stay true to who he is.

As Matt Carpenter, director of the Chi Alpha ministry at the University of Central Arkansas where Allen performed, told Everyday Christian: “I pray for Kris that this doesn’t change him. “It really doesn’t need to. I think Kris feels God has entrusted him with everything he needs in life. It’s an incredible feeling to see him use his gifts and talents for God’s glory.”

Lambert’s talent is undeniable, regardless of how you feel about the screechiness of his high notes. His repeat performance of “Mad World” on Tuesday with the black trench coat and fingerless gloves points to the image he’ll project on stage professionally. Wednesday’s theatrics with Queen and KISS were right up his alley.

He’ll shoot to be a rock star for sure, aiming for the swagger and sound of Aerosmith front-man Steven Tyler and the hard-edge appearance of a Marilyn Manson, but probably without the overwrought degree of dark brooding.

The result now known, there’s only one thing to say: Congratulations, Kris.


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