Coming into last night's finale, even the most ardent Kris Allen fans would have to admit that their adorable little troubadour was a long shot for the big title (check this out if you missed the play-by-play). The media (myself included) had pretty much already declared Adam Lambert the successor to David Cook's Idol crown weeks ago. Most anticipated a Lambert-Gokey showdown, during which Lambert would mop the floor with Gokey (shod in fantastic platform boots and a floor-length black trench coat, obviously).
But what we didn't account for was the scrappy-dooness of "The Cute One," the underdog who clawed his way from the middle of the pack to become a frontrunner. When Gokey got kicked off last week, it was clear that Idol viewers heads weren't exactly where we thought they were (which, in that case, I would argue was a very good thing).
And Kris delivered Tuesday night, with respectable, radio-ready versions of "What's Going On" and "Ain't No Sunshine" (let's not even go near the Kara song, agreed?)."
Despite all this, I'm not going to pretend I didn't almost spit up the giant swig of Coke I had just taken when Kris was actually announced as the winner.
So what went wrong for Adam? He wasn't on his absolute A-game Tuesday night, but I would argue that he still beat Kris where it counted, and, over the course of the season, consistently outrocked and outsang pretty much every other contestant (and out-prettied even Ryan Seacrest, no small feat).
Some say there was an Adam backlash brewing for weeks: too much over-the-topness, too much screaming, too much fawning from Simon. Some say Kris had been quietly building up steam and was never as much of an underdog as people thought.
But the argument heard loudest (at least in the Twittersphere) was that Idol fans, despite all claims to the contrary, still aren't ready for a gay Idol. Of course, Adam has never officially come out as gay, but when you have Bill O'Reilly talking about "offensive" pictures surfacing of you giving another guy a tongue bath, you don't really have to come out, do you?
There's obviously no real way of telling if Kris won because America really thought he was more worthy or because they're secretly all a bunch of raging homophobes. I really hope it's the former rather than the latter. The bottom line is that when all this talk of Idol upsets and conspiracies dies down, the world, as it is wont to do, will right itself.
Kris will go on to make a pleasant, inoffensive debut album that will likely go platinum. Adam will make a more in-your-face, potentially more unsetling album that will likely go platinum. They will each find their audiences, maybe even with some overlap between the two. Because, despite all its cheesiness, the beauty of Idol is that it gives us choices. Or at least the illusion of choice. And if I choose not to buy Kris' album but choose to drop $12 on Adam's, well, yknow, that is, as a wise man once said (and a hot Indian man once sang), my perogative.
Well, it's been real, Idol-ers. What are we all going to do with our Tuesday and Wednesday nights now? Wait, what's that? So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight? Phew! Crisis averted.