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Underdog Kris Allen wins “American Idol”

23 July 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on SDNN

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kayla Powell, 13, dropped her jaws.

Diane Rohrbach, 53, held her hands to her chest.

Christina Burton, 9, said later she would cry.

When Kris Allen was declared the “American Idol” winner Wednesday, hundreds of Adam Lambert fans watching at San Diego’s Copley Symphony Hall fell silent in shock.

They were among the 250 or so fans who packed the hall for the season finale of the singing competition, which shot San Diego native Adam Lambert into the national limelight. Lambert was one of two final contestants in the show from a field of tens of thousands nationwide.

After a two-hour, star-studded blowout show, host Ryan Seacrest announced the winner: Kris Allen.

In all, nearly 100 million votes were counted, said Seacrest, handing the title to the stripped-down, folk-balladsy Christian from the small southern town.

The fans in the audience expressed shock and disappointment.

“It is horrible, I am so shocked,” said Sarah Edwards, 13, who had come with a sign saying “Adam is a sexy beast.”

“I felt devastated,” said Soloman Stovall-Ceja, 1o.”I really thought Adam should have won.”

“I’m gonna cry my tears out, I’m really sad,” said Burton, 9.

But they also saw the silver lining for Lambert’’s career.

“I guess it’s kinda good, because he won’t have to be on the Idol contract and he can do whatever he wants,” said Megan Edwards, 14.

“I think that Adam will still have a great career,” said Katie Silverstein, 13.

The San Diego event, which ran from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific standard time, took place during the live taping of the show in Los Angeles, which aired 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. East coast time. It is traditional for “American Idol” to feature live feeds of fans from the final contestants’ hometowns during the final show.

Just the night before, during the final singing competition, judge Simon Cowell said that if Adam Lambert did not win, it would be a “huge upset.” And it was.

“Adam should have come away as the American Idol,” said Rohrbach. “He was the best.”

People started waiting downtown at Copley as early as 11:30 a.m., forming a line outside the historic hall. According to Copley press officer Stephen Kougias, American Idol organizers had rented the hall, which featured gold vaulted ceilings and white-tuxedoed ushers, special for the event.

During the show, the audience was treated to knockout performances by guest singers, including Black-Eyes Peas, Queen Latifah, Keith Urban, Lionel Ritchie, Carlos Santana, Cyndi Lauper, Queen, Rod Stewart and even Steve Martin on banjo. They were accompanied in turns by the top 13 Idol finalists.

In the last few minutes of the show, the winner was announced, and it was all over. Seacrest called Allen the “underdog.”

Cheers turned to silence and dropped jaws. Then, fans started chanting, “Adam! Adam! Adam!”

But the feed ended and the screen went blank. But for Lambert fans who had followed him all season, the memory will remain.

“Adam deserved it way more, and we’ll always support him,” said Edwards.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang.

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