Lambert and Allen to sing for "American Idol" crown

Tue May 19, 2009 1:05am EDT
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By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A showy musical theater actor and his clean-cut acoustic guitar-playing rival get their last chance to woo viewers and votes on Tuesday night in the final performance episode of U.S. television talent show "American Idol."

After 100,000 people auditioned last summer and five months of broadcasts on the Fox network, Adam Lambert, 27, and Kris Allen, 23, are expected to sing three songs each before "Idol" viewers call in their votes to anoint the eighth winner of the TV ratings juggernaut. The winner will be announced at the season finale on Wednesday night.

The Lambert-Allen matchup marks the third time in "American Idol" history -- and the second year in a row -- that the show's finale has come down to two male contestants. The two finalists reportedly roomed together for much of the season at the so-called Idol Mansion, apparently because they both have a penchant for neatness.

That's about all this year's two finalists have in common, however.

Widely considered the front-runner going into the finale, the flamboyant, nail-polish-wearing Lambert has wowed audiences with his off-the-charts vocal range, outrageous costumes and his willingness to take risks with songs like Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."

"From a pure TV spectacle standpoint, this is the Adam Lambert show," said Michael Slezak, who covers "American Idol" for Entertainment Weekly. "It's hard to deny his effect and his dominance."

Nicknamed "Glambert" by his fans, the San Diego native was in the cast of the Los Angeles production of the musical "Wicked" before auditioning for "Idol."


<p>Kris Allen poses at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>