Kris Allen's "Idol" win chalked up to likability

Thu May 21, 2009 5:51pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kris Allen's "American Idol" win over presumed front-runner Adam Lambert was a triumph of quiet likability and not as unexpected as some fans imagined, some pop culture experts said on Thursday.

Lambert, 27, was widely considered the favorite going into this week's two-part finale, in large part because of consistent praise from the show's four judges.

Arkansas student Allen, 23, looked shocked when he was announced the winner on Wednesday after almost 100 million votes were cast for the two finalists.

But Time magazine critic James Poniewozik said in a blog post that the TV singing competition favors contestants who embody a story, and for that reason he expected a win by Allen.

"Over the season, he grew in stage presence and seeming confidence, creating a narrative of a sweet guy next door blossoming before our eyes," Poniewozik wrote.

In a New York Times article titled "'American Idol': The Triumph of Soft Rock," writer Jon Caramanica said Allen's "innocuousness proved to be no liability."

Caramanica said Allen will likely produce an album that could get regular play on cable channel VH1.

"In other words, the new soft rock, a post-Coldplay movement that most tastemakers ignore but remains relevant to broad swaths of the country," he wrote.   Continued...

<p>Winner Kris Allen poses for photographers at the finale of Season 8 of "American Idol" in Los Angeles May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>