American Idol finale for Kris Allen and Adam Lambert: the star vs. the dark horse
Kris Allen's under-the-radar charm brought an unexpected result tonight, knocking Danny Gokey out of the American Idol finale to place the unassuming Arkansas singer-songwriter up against a guy predicted to win it all weeks ago, Adam Lambert.
If you believe the show is a straight-up contest, Gokey got zapped by the curse of the front-runner, peaking so early he had few surprises left when Allen began gathering steam as a performer.
If, like a few of my entertainment reporter colleagues, you think the entire Idol contest is rigged from the start, viewers saw another masterful move from producers -- who kept Allen in the background until a string of confident performances could push him into the finals.
Now the show's finale comes down to a serious contrast: the self-assured glam rocker vs. the low-key singer songwriter. The humble married guy versus the ambiguously maybe-gay attention sponge. The guy so favored by Idol fans that singer Katy Perry performed tonight wearing a cape with his name on it, vs. a guy no one would have predicted for the final even three weeks ago.
According to host Ryan Seacrest, less than a million votes among 88-million cast separated Allen and Lambert. Which means Game On next week, people.
It's a tough end for Gokey, whose white-boy soul chops marked him as one of this year's first standouts. But early standouts have to keep topping themselves week after week; Gokey seemed to run out of surprises a few ejections ago.
No matter how it happened, this is going to be one of the most interesting Idol finales in years.
Too bad one of the guys who seemed fated to take part in it got nudged aside by a dude who stole the stage while no one was looking.