Kris Allen's just a dude. A talented dude, who happens to be handsome and one of the stars of American Idol 8
, but a dude nonetheless. Witness his modest persona, his choice to wear a t-shirt and jeans on Tuesday when most everyone else was dressed up in outfits ranging from professional to the obscene. Kris was content to take the stage in an outfit he could potentially wear out to a dive bar later that evening. American Idol is a marathon, not a sprint. David Cook, Jordin Sparks – the last two winners of American Idol came on steadily throughout their seasons, reaching their peaks at the right time, not exerting themselves too early. If anyone is poised to replicate the slow burn of those last two American Idol champions this season, it's Kris Allen. Adam Lambert is the singer who immediately makes his presence clear among this season's batch of contestants. He's dynamic, loud, impossible to ignore. Kris Allen, contrarily, is the Da Vinci to Lambert's Jackson Pollock, plain, maybe boring at first, but more fascinating and brilliant the closer you look.
Kris Allen had quietly been producing very good performances all season until this past week. He was given the pimp spot, and finished Tuesday's episode with one of the two best performances of the season. He's now a real contender. It's a two-horse race right now between Kris and Adam Lambert. Danny Gokey has fallen off, not because of a decrease in quality, but because his presence has become a static one. He's remained very good, but shown no growth, no diversity. Matt Giraud is waiting in the wings, but hasn't been able to find a groove with the audience or the judges. He's still got a chance to peak late, but he has to avoid elimination first. Lil Rounds has shown an inability to improve. Allison Iraheta is maybe a little too weird.
Kris Allen's dude-ness is more important than you may realize. The ability to connect with the audience on a human level is important, especially as the season nears its end. Adam Lambert, as much as I may like him, is an entertainer. He is an other-worldly singer, but it's all a show. I don't begrudge him this, because his singing talent cannot be matched by anyone on American Idol this season. Kris Allen, however, is a much better musician. He's a song writer (he self-released an album of original material back in 2007), he's a musician (he can play the guitar, ukulele, piano and the violin) and is a pretty damn good singer on top of it. As was mentioned by Simon nearly two weeks ago, Kris might lack the killer instinct. Simon claimed that Kris didn't show much confidence on stage. I'd argue that Kris actually has the confidence, but that his modesty shields that confidence to a degree.
There's a good chance we'll look back on the Top 9 week as Kris Allen's coming out party. I'm excited to see what he'll bring from here on out. He may lack the dynamism of an Adam Lambert, but his ability to wow the audience with his musicianship makes up for it. Before the Top 13 got underway, I placed Kris Allen at the top of my Top 13 power rankings. I backed away from that prediction a week later, but I probably should have stuck with my gut. He might just win it all.
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-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)