Most “American Idol” winners so far have fallen in the “humbly likable” category. Think Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks.
Exceptions: powerhouse R&B diva Fantasia from season three and authoritatively confident rocker David Cook from last season. (They were both likable in different ways, just not evidently humble by my definition of humble.)
This year’s winner Kris Allen joins the majority as Mr. Understated, not Mr. Swagger. And he proved no different during a phone interview earlier this month to promote Friday’s sold-out Gwinnett Arena “Idols Live” concert.
Q: So far, reviews have been good for the tour so far. Have you had time to read any of them?
A: I just read some stuff last night. I figured it there’s a place to read reviews, it’d be the L.A. show. It was all good. Everybody got good reviews.
Q: You’ve done eight shows so far. How’s it been going so far?
A: It’s been going good, man. We’re getting used to it. We’re able to relax a little bit and have fun with it.
Q: Is it intimidating to follow [runner-up] Adam [Lambert] and his big rock show?
A: It’s not intimidating. Like on the show, we’re completely different artists.
Q: I know you and Adam are good friends but there has been some tension among your fans.
A: Maybe there has been some. There have been some run ins. But for the most part, they get along.
Q: You sang the coronation song “No Boundaries” the first few dates but have switched to a Killers song. ["All These Things I've Done"] What happened?
A: It was a collective thing with the producers. After the first show, the director came up and said he felt like the energy took kind of a downfall [when he sang “No Boundaries”] We needed to pick things up so we switched out that tune. So far, it’s been going amazingly well.
Q: A lot of people hate that song. I’m sure even if you did, you wouldn’t be in a position to say anything.
A: [Chuckle.] I would never say that. [He has told other media he still likes the song.]
Q: An MTV reviewer was impressed how well you were able to sing that really deep bass part of the Killers song, something we never heard on the show. Why were you holdling out on us, Kris?
A: I don’t know! I mean, “American Idol,” you have to be singing as high as you. That’s how the show goes.
Q: Why are you closing with “Hey Jude”?
A: That’s an easy one. Once they told me I could do it, I decided to close with it. It’s such an anthem. I don’t care how old you are. You know that song. [That song was sung during the season six tour, too.]
Q: When “Idol” reached the top 13, nobody really expected you to win. It was all about Danny [Gokey] and Adam. Do you think being the dark horse helpd you?
A: Yah. America is so ADD. They push one thing, then they get tired of it. I’m not saying that happened. [It's clear he added that disclaimer so we wouldn't immediately think, "Danny!" even if we did...] For me, that’s kind of the way I roll anyways. I’m pretty low key. If you like me, you do, if you don’t, that’s fine. I hope people like me. I’m not trying to please everyone. It wasn’t about me trying to be showy. Really. I didn’t pick my self to win. I didn’t even pick myself to be in the top 12!
Q: What can we expect from your album?
A: It will be a pop-rock mix. I don’t know if it’s a particular genre. It’s going to be something hopefully people will be a little surprised, a good surprise.
Q: I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother passing.
A: It’s okay. It’s always hard to lose someone. It was hard to lose my grandma. It was really hard on my mom. I’m glad I was there for her to be there with her. My grandma was in the hospital for the past month. She had diabetes. She had surgery and they thought she’d be fine. But she had heart problems.
Q: She did get to see you win “American Idol.”
A: That was very cool. We went to her house and while we were going through stuff, we found this huge notebook of all the “American Idol” stuff she had clipped out of the newspaper. It was sweet.
Q: Have you been to Atlanta before?
A: I’ve done a lot of travelling, just not in the States. So no.
Q: Unfortunately, the way the tour is set up, your stop in Duluth won’t really count, will it?
A: It’s more like a drive by. That’s kind of the bad part about it. Hopefully, I’ll have more time later on.
Here’s a teaser I wrote for the print edition on what you should expect when you go to the concert. It’s all pretty elementary stuff for you regulars:
— All ten finalists will get at least two solo songs. They will perform in order of how they finished on the TV show with a few duets and group performances.
— This is a three-hour concert and usually starts promptly at 7 p.m. so if you want to see 10th place finalist Michael Sarver, get there on time.
— The show is split into two, with an intermission.
— Although Allen was the winner, runner up Adam Lambert’s fans in concerts so far scream far louder when he’s up on stage. His David Bowie medley is an homage to his hero.
— The finale is a group sing. We won’t give the tune away but you probably heard it on “The Sopranos” finale episode.