As testament to the cyborgian texting thumbs of 12-year-old girls — and perhaps a populace not ready to embrace a dude who wears more makeup than Mary Kay — clean-cut cutie Kris Allen beat out guylinered yowler Adam Lambert on Wednesday to be named American Idol champ.
A huge upset? Not really. While Adam, 27, was a dynamic (creepy, flamboyant, Depeche Modey) singer, Allen, 23, was a humble Arkansas kid with a chinny mug and a solid voice. Toying with the show's safe edges, Lambert played the game well — but so did Allen, layering on subtle shades of aw-shucks. Nearly 100 million votes were cast — and Allen snagged more of 'em.
There will be cries of conspiracy; people will moan about phones lines being clogged. Whatevs. Allen will put out a safe, soft-pop album, and Lambert, by coming in second, will be allowed greater creative room. Everyone will be happy.
Per usual, Idol's bloated finale was more about surprise duets and freaks and Kara DioGuardi in a bikini. (Wait — what?) Here are lights both high and low:
BEST DUET: If it weren't obvious enough that Idol wanted Lambert to win the whole shebang (so how'd that work out, guys?), producers paired him up with KISS for a pyrotacular, tongue-wagging medley. Allen got … Keith Urban? Sadness.
Other cool pairings: Lil "Kapow!" Rounds and Queen Latifah, Allison Iraheta and an ageless Cyndi Lauper. Plus, Danny Gokey was obviously stoked (stokeyed?) to croon with Lionel Richie. Niceness.
WEIRDEST DUET: Steve Martin, Megan Joy and "Big Oil" Michael Sarver. I had some bad clams for dinner, so I'm not totally sure that one happened.
GOOD BIKINI: Like you knew they would, producers brought back Katrina "Bikini Girl" Darrell, a tryout oddity. "I was going to ask you what's new," said Ryan Seacrest as the tan, two-pieced lady showed off some new assets, "but I think I know."
BETTER BIKINI: They let Bikini Girl warble Mariah Carey's Vision of Love. As if that weren't humiliating enough, a few notes in, DioGuardi appeared behind her and finished the tune. Kara THEN ripped open her dress to reveal her own bikini'd bod — not store-bought, but not bad!
WORST FREAK: Nick "Norman" Mitchell. Not funny then, not funny now. Please go away.
BEST FREAK: Tatiana Del Toro, the loopy Latina. Is she eligible to try-out again? If she is, I'll be back for season nine, kids.