American Idol Season 8 champ Kris Allen was born in Jacksonville, Arkansas to Kimberly (née Wood) and Neil Allen. He is the elder of two sons; his younger brother, Daniel, is a college cheerleader and a cheerleading coach. Kris Allen is a Christian and served as assistant music director at the non-denominational New Life Church in both Conway, Arkansas and Little Rock, Arkansas. Kris Allen's soulful voice and insightful interpretative skills that lifted him to win American Idol Season 8 enabled Kris Allen to participate in missionary work around the world, including in Burma, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.
Kris Allen's interest in music began very early. He began playing the viola in elementary school and went on to play the instrument in the Mills University Studies High School orchestra, eventually winning a spot in the Arkansas all-state orchestra. Additionally, he taught himself to play the guitar at age 13, and also plays the piano and the ukulele. Kris Allen's musical influences, as stated in his Idol confessionals, include the Beatles, Jamie Cullum, Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Michael Jackson.
After high school, Kris Allen moved to Conway, Arkansas to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where he was a business major and a member of Chi Alpha. He soon dropped out to pursue music professionally, performing in local bars and working as a shoe salesman to make ends meet. Kris Allen debuted his first full length CD, Brand New Shoes in September 2007, which spotlights Kris Allen's songwriting, guitar, piano and vocal skills. After marrying his girlfriend of seven years, Katherine "Katy" O'Connell, on September 26, 2008, Kris Allen planned on going back to college to finish his degree and "get a real job. He has described his decision to audition for American Idol as a "last hurrah" before giving up his pursuit of a music career.
That was not be as Kris Allen rose from obscurity in the audition and Hollywood Week episodes of to put together a string of consistently strong, heartfelt, artistic performances that lifted Kris Allen to the top of American Idol Season 8. Kris Allen's first two live performances for America saw him re-interpret two Michael Jackson songs and bring new depth and meaning to each of them. Kris Allen's performance of "Ain't No Sunshine" in the Top 9 caught everyone's attention and then his selection of the obscure but great "Falling Slowly" for movie week made him a contender. Kris Allen then derailed Adam Lambert's march to victory with a revelatory re-interpretation of Kayne West's hip-hop chart topper "Heartless".
We, at One21music were Kris Allen fans from very early on and started pointing to Kris's victory after his performance of "Ain't No Sunshine". Here is our anaysis of Kris Allen in our American Idol Season Top 5 Power Rankings:
Kris Allen has put together the best body of work on American Idol Season 8. Week after week Kris makes great song selections, finds the emotional core of those songs, arranges the songs to fit his style and delivers exceptional performances. He has had more show topping performances than any other and has only had one stumble with “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”.He is building a credible covers EP. Look at this collection of downloadable performances:
"Ain’t No Sunshine” “Falling Slowly” “She Works Hard for The Money” “To Make You Feel My Love” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” “Remember The Time” “Man In The Mirror”
Kris Allen first caught my attention when he turned Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” into a pleading prayer for self revelation. MTV, Entertainment Weekly and Buddytv have all jumped on the Kris Allen band wagon, suggesting that he could be the only person capable of disrupting Adam Lambert’s coronation. “With him [Kris Allen], it’s much more about the emotion of the song and trying to tell a story through the lyrics rather than hitting these giant notes and using vocal bombast,” said EW’s Michael Slezak.
I assume Kris Allen will continue his consistent, thoughtful march through American Idol Season 8. Regardless whether Kris Allen wins American Idol Season 8 or not he will be our top idol.
Listen to Kris Allen Here
|Brand New Shoes||2007||Independent|
|Kris Allen||2009||Jive Records|
|Thank You Camellia||2012||RCA Records|