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‘Idolatry': Kris Allen On Obscure Songs, Matching Aprons and The Coolest Thing He’s Ever Done


Kris Allen Idolatry Interview

Finally! The Kris Allen Idolatry interview with Michael Slezak is now online.

I haven’t watched it yet, but wanted to let all of the fans know that the interview is now accessible here.

 Because I live in Canada, I cannot embed the video on MasterclassLady.Com.  I don’t get it myself, but, apparently, those are the rules on the EW.Com site.

I will have to delve further into this technical glitch, but for now, just head on over to the Entertainment Weekly site and enjoy 25 minutes of pure Kris Bliss!

And don’t forget to come back and discuss the interview. Sounds like a good one!

Update: Kudos to Idolatry producer Jason Averett for editing this interview while under the weather.

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Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

52 Responses to “‘Idolatry': Kris Allen On Obscure Songs, Matching Aprons and The Coolest Thing He’s Ever Done”

  1. Thank you! I have been eagerly awaiting this interview as well! Watching now; will comment later. =)

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  2. What this interview did was show me the truth about Kris – he’s not just the nice, quiet guy who showed how to be a gracious winner and how to stand by a friend.

    He’s a true musician who knows and loves his art and wants to share it with the rest of the world – to tell the stories it has. He’s also intelligent and articulate, with a wicked, below-the-radar sense of humor. I think this bodes very well for his future career, and I look forward to following it.

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  3. Positively the best Kris interview EVER! People rave about how articulate and funny Adam is and don’t realize that Kris is as well in his own way. He is good at explaining things and is very lively if he is allowed to give longer answers. Thank you to EW for asking questions about each week specifically, as I found that information fascinating.

    Also, Kris has some spite and isn’t afraid to express his honest opinions. He’ll say exactly what he thinks if he is given the right questions and time to answer them. We were able to see all this in this interview and it was AMAZING!

    I am also EXTREMELY GLAD he didn’t get another “Why did you say Adam deserved it” question. That question annoys me and seems like a put-down of Kris for being so humble. Honestly, some things are blown way out of porportion. Not in this interview though. So refreshing and insightful.

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  4. Agreed. A very nice interview. Even without saying anything really derogatory, Kris’s feelings on a couple of subjects were pretty easy to read. The apron story was pretty funny, and I was glad to see that he is not the puppydog pushover that some try to make him out to be. The most entertaining part is the comment section…it’s easy to see how Idol fans get such a bad rap…a few of these people need to be examined.

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  5. Dede – About the comments section, I am with you. Maybe people mistook spite and honestky for being mean. I didn’t get that at all. But, poeople have their views and on EW it’s not worth arguing. It made me sad though. There was one comment saying Kris snubbed Danny in that interview. All I heard was him being upset about Danny being called better on the duet, which, I must say, was A DUET, so I don’t understand why the judges would compare individuals on A DUET. Of course Danny has the more overpowering voice!

    Anyway, some of those people need to cool it. Here, on the other hand, people are very respectful, which is why I love this website.

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  6. Kris is one cool guy! My favorite remark was when he said he likes to do music to make people “think.” I know that I liked Danny’s voice throughout the competition, but honestly I really believe it was better that Kris won. As he said, his range isn’t as good as some of the other contestants, but in watching the clips throughout the interview, he was definitely more original than some of the others.

    And I highly admire and respect him as a person.

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  7. I meant “honesty”

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  8. Kris definitly is cute as a button…However, I would like to pose a question! Not sure where to post this exactly…no one seems to be home in the other articles postings.

    Why do we Americans Compete? Is it to become the best of the best in whatever we do? If so, do we always choose the best when given the opportunity?

    I say this, becasue I have a child who competes. He competes to be the best at what he does. If each time he went to a competition and the “underdog” won leaving the best standing on the floor, I would be assured that he would not compete any longer. This said, Did America truly get it right? Is Kris Allen the best singer to come from season 8? I’m not NIT’PICKING, just curious. Would it have went different if America couldn’t vote? If it were completely up to the judges, would the outcome been different? My son sits before five judges when competeting, no one in the crowd has any influence over the choice (not supposed to anyway) the goal is to find the best out of what the judges are given. Now I’m not saying their always fair, mind you. But I can say that they mostly always get it right. Again I ask did America get this right, is Kris Allen the best, or was the best left standing on the floor?

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  9. Wow, interesting point Vonnie. Kris and Adam are totally different artists who excel in their own ways. If the judges had the choice, they would have DEFINITE;Y given Adam the crown, so in that sense America did get it wrong.

    HOWEVER, here’s another thought. At every AI finale, you have two contestantsave many people who voted them to that position. Therefore, America can never get it completely wrong because those hard core fans will be there no matter what for BOTH contestants after Idol.

    I struggle with why this has to be a “competition”. There are some people who are clearly vocally and musically superior. Some people just can’t sing, as evidenced by the muriad of terrible auditions every year. Beyond that, though, it comes down to personal preferences. Many sports use a scoreboard, which is completely objective, and it is obvious who the winner is. Singing is highly subjective and open to opinion and debate. It’s very hard for me to conceptualize singing as competitive, even though it is. There is a lot that is out of the singer’s control. Kris and Adam have made their non-competition with each other more than clear in their post-finale interviews.

    Well, those are my thoughts. Don’t know if they are a good answer to the question, but I just had to chime in. Hopefully other people will share their thoughts too.

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  10. I meant “DEFINITELY”

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  11. Another typo. It is supposed to say: “At every AI finale, you have two contestants who have many people who voted them to that position.”

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  12. Kirsten,

    Thanks for the response! I am in no way upset how the season ended, I really would have liked for Adam to win, but am completely OK with Kris winning.

    I just wonder how the outcome would be in each of the seasons if it would have been judges pick; would it make the show more credible? You read so many stories of people dissing Idol, because of some of the past winners lack of success. I loved Taylor, but, I do know that if the judges would have picked, then Daughtry would have won, thus making Idol a success in a broader way because of Daughtry’s success. I’m not sure if this is making any sense! I know the show would not have the same appeal to the general public if it were judges choice. It would have less “reality” TV “CHARM”.

    I guess my thought is maybe I would like to see it more a serious competition, I know the winner and the runner up do get the recognition of a star, and it is a great honor to win this show. What if all the fluff were taken away, and all that was left was voice against voice?

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  13. Vonnie – you might be sorry that you asked when you see how long my response is. LOL.

    I don’t think it’s possible for America to get it wrong. They vote for who they want to win, and Kris got the most votes. It’s as simple as that. There’s always the, “But it’s a singing competition!” thing to go along with that, but really, it’s a television show about a musical performance competition. I don’t even say “singing competition” because the contestants are allowed to play instruments and rearrange the songs. There are so many other factors at play here, and I’m glad to have them. It adds interest and… sophistication, I guess, to something that started off in Season One as televised karaoke.

    Even if you do call it a singing competition, I certainly wouldn’t want the judges we have right now picking the winner. Simon lost all credibility with me the moment he told Megan in the semifinals, “It doesn’t matter about the vocals. It was terrific.” Huh WHAT, Simon? Sorry, I’m still bitter about that little comment.

    So right away, there’s already a problem when trying to answer your question: there’s a difference between what the show actually is and what it “should” be. Then you have to consider that not everybody agrees on what the show “should” be in the first place. The judges certainly can’t. On one side of the table Randy will say, “It doesn’t matter about anything else, you can SING!” On the other, Simon will complain about likability and confidence with one performer, song choice with another, vocals with another, and wardrobe with yet another. Even they can’t make up their minds, so I think they just fall back on whichever contestant they happen to like the most, and adjust their praise and “What we’re looking for this season” to fit that particular contestant. It’s very arbitrary.

    But for the sake or argument, let’s say it really is about singing.

    I do make a distinction between “vocalist” and “singer.” If the competition were about pure vocal skill, it would be on the radio and voted on by a panel of experts rather than America. I think Michael Slezak makes an excellent point here, and one that I’ve wanted to articulate this whole season but couldn’t find the right words: a big voice does not necessarily make a great singer, and a person without a big voice CAN be a great singer.

    Compare, say, Lil Rounds with Kris. Lil has the bigger, showier voice, but she was largely unsuccessful in her performances because she was missing so many other things: the ability to pick the perfect song for her voice, song arrangements, emotional connection to the music, phrasing, subtlety. Kris has all of these in spades, and I’ll take that any day over someone who relies on little more than volume to try and get a musical point across.

    Of course, we’re not comparing Kris to Lil, we’re comparing him to Adam. Which, in my opinion, is kind of a silly thing to do anyway. It’d be like getting in my car and trying to decide between two CDs to play, one being Aretha Franklin and the other being the Beatles. My taste might lean more to one artist than the other, but either way, how on earth could I possibly go wrong choosing between those two?

    But my point is this: music is not something you can quantify or give an objective score to. Even if somebody came up with a system to score a contestant’s performance out of a 10.0 or something like that, the scores would be every bit as subjective as it is for figure skating or gymnastics. Not only would the scores themselves constantly be up for debate, but the makeup of the scoring system would be as well.

    Think about the logistical nightmare that would create. Do you get extra points if you play an instrument? What if you can play more than one? How much should range factor in? What about phrasing and dynamics? How would you “score” phrasing in the first place? And how on earth would something as subjective as interpretation fit in? It certainly should be a factor, but how much of one? And what about the song choice? If one of the judges happens to hate the song you choose, will that unfairly drag down your score?

    Winning American Idol isn’t like winning the 100 meters in the Olympics; it’s more like winning an Oscar for Best Actor. There is never a winner that everyone will be happy with.

    In short: no, America didn’t get it wrong, because they can’t get it wrong. If anything, they’re looking for a marketable recording artist in today’s music industry. It’s “American Idol” after all, not “America’s Next Top Vocalist” (if it were the latter, you can bet we’d see a lot more opera singers on the show). In that respect, I think Kris is absolutely the right winner, because I felt he was clearly the most contemporary contestant in his song choices and arrangments.

    This is not a meant as a rag on Adam, who of course has the potential to be huge and is mind-bogglingly talented. Adam brings to mind Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Robert Plant, and of course he was completely at home performing with KISS. I think that’s awesome, and I love that kind of music. But to look at it from a music industry perspective, though, there’s a problem here: when was the last time any of those artists were actually popular? With good, contemporary material to work with, I think Adam can be that worldwide star that Simon is looking for. (I hope and pray that they go the Robbie Williams route with him). We just didn’t hear him do much of that kind of thing on the show. In the same vein, Taylor Hicks and Bo Bice made for excellent contestants and entertaining TV — but not recording artists who will burn up the Billboard Charts, because that’s just not the type of music that they do. There’s nothing WRONG with that and it doesn’t mean that they aren’t great at what they do. It just means that their styles don’t translate well to record sales. (For the record, I think Adam is a far more versatile vocalist than either Taylor or Bo and he *can* be current. He just didn’t show us that so much on the show.)

    Contrast that with Kris: he gets comparisons to Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Gavin DeGraw, and the Fray. I’d throw Damien Rice in there, too. All are artists who have found their popularity in the last few years rather than the 70s and 80s. The type of music that Kris does is modern and it sells, and it’s all wrapped up in a very likable package of a nice, attractive young guy. That’s my objective analysis. For those reasons alone, I’m shocked that Simon and Kara weren’t fawning over him every week, particularly because of the “package artist” thing they pushed so much.

    Now for my biased view: I love the sound/tone of Kris’ voice and don’t care that he doesn’t have a three-octave range. I think he’s the best overall musician that’s ever been on the show, and in the running for being the best song-chooser of the bunch, too. I also think he was the best this season at emotionally connecting with his songs and selling that connection to the audience. His arrangements are always excellent (and frequently underrated by the judges, IMO). I know from MCL’s critiques that Kris is very green in the technical department, but I never really noticed such issues with him like I do other contestants because his tone is so lovely and he rarely ever had problems with pitch. I’m no expert when it comes to the technical aspects of singing. I just know what sounds good to me. Kris sounds good to me, and that’s all I really need.

    So there is my defense/dissertation on Kris as the winner, as well as the nature of the show itself. Slezak and I keep fighting the good fight. LOL. I’m not expecting to change the mind of any die-hard Adam fans (I’m an Adam fan myself and could come up with a bunch of reasons why he would have been the “right” winner as well). I just want people to see where I’m coming from.

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  14. Erin,

    UMMM…Thanks?

    Just kidding! Loved your post and Thank You for responding. I love me some lively debates! Not really saying America Got it wrong; but did they get it right? Out of all the contestants was Kris truly the one. Alot would argue that Allison too, could be very relevant to todays music. She’s young and fresh with a throw back kindof sound. I think it’s just fun after the season’s over to look at things maybe differently than we did while the show was on. I would have fought tooth and nail during the show for Adam to win, but post Idol, it’s all good.

    About “those” judges; I would like to see new people sitting in their places. They have all fallen by the wayside as far as I’m concerned. Some of the mentors gave more credible and useable advice than the judges do. Wouldn’t it be nice to have judges who didn’t look at each contestant with $$$ eyes?

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  15. LOL. You’re welcome.

    Yes, America got it right. They also would have gotten it right if Adam or Allison had won. With those three contestants, there isn’t really “the one.” Just three very different shades of awesome.

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  16. Kris – all class. America got it right because two talented classy guys were in the finale.

    I agree with what many people, included Slezak (and Kris), have said. Range and amplitude are impressive, but there is quality. Quality in the sense of on key, should be a given. I guess I mean quality and uniqueness or character? There are so many rockers, folk-rock, alternative rock singers who are not vocal purists, but we have fallen in love with their voices because they can tear at our heartstrings or fill us up with joy. John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Crosby Stills and Nash, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Bono, Sting, Michael Stipe, Dave Matthews, Cheryl Crow, Cyndi Lauper, Natalie Merchant, Allison Kraus, etc, etc.

    I don’t think any of these would win the “Vocal Olympics.”

    Almost all the men are probably in the tenor range, except maybe Jim Morrison, who had quite a rich lower range (baritone maybe?). Out of curiousity, does anyone know the ranges of these or other male rock singers?
    What was John Lennon’s range? He sings quite low in “I’m a Loser” and if you include falsetto in “Twist & Shout”?

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  17. Erin –

    The point is that Adam has both a great voice and is a great singer. That is the rarity that makes him special. I will always try to turn the argument around and make the case for Adam. I believe that he is extraordinary, a true once in a generation talent. How often in this life do you hear people comparing someone to the likes of Elvis Presley AND Freddie Mercury? Never before. I know that no one has ever even come close to reminding me of Elvis. The one thing you did not factor in was that intangible certain something that only a very few performers possess. Elvis certainly had it, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger and some others. But not many. Yes it is about more than the voice. It’s about star quality, charisma, the “it” factor, whatever you want to call it. I felt it the first time I saw Adam perform. It was instantaneous. It’s like a rush of adrenaline. This is something that cannot be taught, learned or acquired. It is inborn.

    I do not feel the need to demean Kris in the slightest. He has many great qualities that you have already mentioned. It is true that some do not need to listen to a brilliant, incandescent, glorious, pitch perfect voice. We connect to those that touch us, move us, make us smile, laugh, cry. It’s what makes a competition like this so fascinating. You can never know to a certainty who America will embrace. That’s what gives this show its drama.

    Sometimes I have been drawn to singers without perfect voices. I can also enjoy those with softer, more laid back, stripped down vocals. James Taylor is one of my all time favorites. I loved him for the simple timbre and beauty of his incredible voice. He didn’t have to overpower me with dramatic, high intensity singing. I also was fortunate enough to see him perform in person, as I have mentioned here in previous posts. I saw him when he was just on the brink of his breakout success. He was peforming in a small venue and the setting was intimate. I was sitting pretty close to him and it was an unforgettable experience. He could capture the attention of a whole room just by sitting on a stool and eloquently, gently singing in his own distinctive, heartfelt style. But he did have a truly exceptional vocal instrument and used it to perfection. He was pitch perfect and precise, gifted with a unique and easily recognizable sound.

    I loved Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin with their husky, raspy, raw, powerful voices. I agree that perfection is not necessary. But there must be other qualities that compensate. I have loved a diverse group of singers, but it is true in the end that those I have loved the most are those who have been gifted with a God given vocal instrument that almost transcends the boundaries of mortal beings. Adam is in that select group as far as I am concerned.

    Maybe the whole idea of a musical or singing competition is kind of absurd, when you get right down to it. We respond to whoever moves us. It’s just part of the human condition. As for Kris, I believe that he is a very talented musician, great arranger, knowlegeable about arrangement and instrumentation. His voice has a wonderful timbre that helps him connect with the audience. I don’t find anything to take issue with as far as Kris is concerned. I have enjoyed some of his performances, but have not connected with him on the deep emotional that I have with Adam. Simple as that.

    We are lucky that these two young men are so deserving.

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  18. I’ve come upon some good interviews or fun things, and, as usual, I’m far behind reading our wonderful MCL’s blog. So, if you don’t throw things at me, I’ll post some, and hope they haven’t been posted and talked about unendingly!

    Kris & Adam interview, day before Tuesday show http://tinyurl.com/pmq7cw

    Check out a behind-the-scenes practice videoed by Michael http://tinyurl.com/oz7cay Allison at 2:25 cracks me up, and, as the poster points out, Anoop’s flailing … er … dancing at 2:56 is a hoot!

    http://tinyurl.com/pkyvfw This is the last practice (sound, no video) of Matt & Scott’s finale performance that we DIDN’T GET TO SEE. GRRRRR. Apparently, Scott was to sing w/ Billy Joel at the finale, but Joel canceled, so Scott was to sing a Joel song with Matt. This is a super piece to listen to, with the dueling pianos and voices. But, did we get to see it?! NNOOOOO, but hey, we got to see Bikini Girl … that’s right, Scott & Matt’s performance was CUT due to lack of time. Scott was the only Idol that didn’t get to sing a solo (or w/ star), but we got to see all the crappy Golden Idol “Awards” … sorry … notice I’m a wee bit peeved over this?!?

    Hugs to all, and I hope to catch up soon!

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  19. Mindy,

    Do you think America got it right?

    “Maybe the whole idea of a musical or singing competition is kind of absurd, when you get right down to it”.

    I agree with this statement! Idol poses this as a competition, so what is the criteria?

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  20. Jessica T,

    Wasn’t it Paul instead of John who sang “Twist and Shout”?

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  21. A more succint way of saying what I said is that once the auditions are over, it turns into a preference fest. I’ve never viewed it as a competition per say, but as a chance to enjoy music.

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  22. Erin said: “I don’t think it’s possible for America to get it wrong. They vote for who they want to win, and Kris got the most votes.’

    Kris may have gotten the most votes, but did the most PEOPLE vote for him? Would the result have been the same if each person was allowed only one vote instead of thousands? Something I guess we will never know … fortunately, Kradam is helping us all get past that question … but I wish Idol would think about it seriously before next season.

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  23. Depends on how you look at it, Karen — if each person were only allowed one vote, a LOT of the competition might have gone differenly throughout all eight seasons. Sometimes the “vote as many times as you want” aspect of the competition is frustrating, but I do also understand that it serves a very important purpose: people who will sit down and make an effort to cast a lot of votes — whether it’s giving 10 or 100 or 1,000 or whatever — those are also the people who will buy albums or iTunes downloads or concert tickets. If you inspire that kind of rabid fanbase, it probably means that you’re more likely to succeed as a recording artist.

    If the one-vote-per-person rule were in place, it gives the viewer who thinks, “Eh, I thought X was better than Y,” a lot more power. That SOUNDS nice, but those casual viewers who’ll take ten seconds to dial in one vote are also the ones who won’t give the show or its contestants a second thought when the season is over. So… it’s a double-edged sword there.

    Since you asked, though, I think if the one-vote-per-person system were in place, Kris would have won the voting in the Top 3 show. For the finale, I think it would have been Ruben/Clay levels of close and don’t even want to venture a guess.

    Vonnie – John Lennon sang “Twist and Shout.” To this day it’s one of my favorite vocal performances ever recorded.

    Mindy – I never mean to imply that Adam isn’t a great singer; I think he’s fantastic. One of the main reasons I made that post was to throw some unqualified praise in Kris’ direction, because I know this is a VERY Adam-friendly site (not that it’s unfriendly to Kris, but you know what I mean) — Adam gets so much glowing praise here that he doesn’t need any more from me.

    I just want to be realistic about Adam’s chances in the recording industry, because the type of praise he’s getting puts an enormous amount of pressure on him. It worries me when everyone automatically proclaims him to be a worldwide star, says that he will be a legend, etc. I just want to wave my arms and say, “Slow down! He hasn’t even put out an album yet!” You can have talent for days, but without the right material and promotion, stardom won’t happen. It just makes me nervous that so many expectations are being heaped on him when his success hinges on SO many other things that are out of his control right now. As it is, I’m worried that there is absolutely no way he’ll ever live up to the hype no matter how well he does — through no fault of his own. He doesn’t deserve that.

    I have similar worries for Kris, but not quite as many. Mainly because he hasn’t had those same expectations foisted on him, and the style that he presented on the show is already very radio-friendly. Actually, I think Allison probably has the best chance out of any of them to become huge. At the end of the day, I just hope that each of them get great songs and a great A&R team to help them out. Fingers crossed, since I’d buy albums from all three of them.

    And since I pretty much forgot to say it the first time, Kris’ interview was fantastic. Idolatry always brings out the best in the contestants. I particularly loved Anoop’s, Matt’s, and Allison’s interviews as well.

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  24. Vonnie and Erin – I remember in a documentary on the Beatles, George Martin (their producer, arranger, occassional piano player – he did the piano in “In My Life.”) said they had to record “Twist and Shout” last because John’s voice would give out after the “ah’s”. George and Paul did harmonies on that one. Remember that they did this album on one track I think. No going back over to harmonize with oneself.

    I always hear John’s voice has much more nasaly than Paul’s sweeter tone. George’s Liverpool accent creeps in more and has more of a closed tone (don’t know the technical way to describe it). Ringo is well, Ringo.

    I have the book of the Beatles Scores if anyone has a question.

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  25. Vonnie, you asked if America got it right by choosing Kris Allen. Here’s my long-winded answer.

    There are several factors to consider:

    1. American Idol is first and foremost a television show and as a tv show, its first priority is RATINGS, in order to maximize advertising rates and commercial sponsorship dollars.

    2. In terms of competition, AI is primarily a VOTING competition, masquerading as a POPULARITY contest, masquerading as a SINGING talent show. The public voting aspect is designed entirely to boost the official sponsor AT&T (which is probably paying AI as much as last year, if not more, despite falling tv ratings).

    So let’s recap regarding the priorities of AI producers:
    TV ratings >> voting competition > popularity contest >>>>> singing competition

    Of course, Sony Music, which, as a major sponsor, is contracted to make an album with and promote the winner, wants someone who is also marketable outside of the AI bubble. Why? Well, when you (and others) ask whether America got it right, the question is rather misleading. Despite being the highest-rated tv show in the U.S., still only a small fraction of the general music consumer audience actually follows AI. To be a successful recording artist, AI winners have to appeal to more than just the AI audience. 4th place finisher Chris Daughtry found success in this way, while 5th season winner Taylor Hicks has not been able to expand his fan base much beyond AI. So in the overall scheme of things, one COULD argue that America DID get it right, since Daughtry’s debut CD sold 4+ million in the U.S. (and 5+ million worldwide) while Hicks’ post-Idol CD still hasn’t reached a million in sales yet. The only thing to conclude from the AI season 5 results is that Taylor Hicks’ fans won the voting competition.

    If you’re actually looking for some answers on how Kris Allen was able to beat Adam Lambert (or even Danny Gokey), might I suggest this excellent 2-part analysis from WhatNotToSing.com:

    http://www.whatnottosing.com/library/editorials.asp?id=53

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  26. Yep…I googled it, and sure ‘nough, John sang it. Awesome! Not that I didn’t believe you guys! You know how you get something in your head…?

    Remus,

    I totaly agree with the thoughts of idol being more of a Populartiy contest. Thank you for your response and for the link to the article.

    Jessica T,

    I found this in my search from, Songfacts. Thought you might like it!

    You can hear McCartney yell “hey” over the very last chord of this song, possibly because it was such a challenge doing the vocals with Lennon suffering from a cold (he was plagued with them his entire life). A lot of people think that the song was recorded once – a one time shot. They actually did two takes, and kept the first one. John was totally knackered, sick as a dog and had stripped off his shirt to let himself sweat it out, but he pulled it off. The next day – February 12, 1963 – The Beatles played two shows, one at the Azena Ballroom in Yorkshire and another at the Astoria Ballroom in Lancashire.

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  27. I really love this site, and appreciate civilized discussion. It’s to the point where I don’t bother to post other places, as it just seems to be a put-down war. Although I truly loved Kris all season, I voted for Adam in the finale b/c, like Vonnie, I thought he was the best singer. I was a little disappointed that he did not win.(mainly because I felt there would be a backlash if he didn’t…boy was THAT right!) I am very happy for Kris though. Adam is doing just fine, and is getting just as much press as Kris. I do wonder if Adam had won, if Kris would’ve gotten any attention at all? I really don’t think so…not that it would’ve been a bad thing, b/c I think Kris likes to fly under the radar. The way things are, I sort of wonder if Kris is set up to fail? He has a lot of built in detractors b/c of the mere fact that he won. If he isn’t stellar…I wonder if people will give him a break? I hope that 19 truly intends to do right by him. (I hope this comes across the way I intended, Kris was actually my favorite.I voted for him up until the finale)

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  28. dede,

    Totally agree about this site, I no longer post on any other sites either, would rather spend my time reading here.

    I really appreciate that you voted for Adam in the finale. I wonder too about Kris! If he slips in the least will the media pound him, declare him another Idol who shouldn’t have won. I really don’t like when they do that. I don’t like to hear all of the negatives, especially about Taylor. I truly think Taylor is happy doing what he is doing.

    I wish Kris all the best and hope he has a wonderful career. I wish Adam would have won, but I know he will be okay.

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  29. Awww…the digs on Taylor get a little much. I actually like him quite a bit, he has a lot of energy and seems likable. I don’t know why he never really connected. Most people consider him a “failure”, but he gets to do what he loves and he made $300,000 last year.(not much in the music world I guess, but I’d take it!!!!)

    I don’t understand why so many people seem to get a thrill out of these kids being deemed failures.Why hope for bad things for people you don’t even know? (or for anyone for that matter) I hope everyone we got to know on the stage has a rewarding career.

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  30. I will put Adam aside for a moment. He was special coming into the competition.

    AI has set up a “category system” for the auditions. This is for the producers and assistants. From what I have read from those auditioning, they decide ahead of time what they are looking for. The classic example is the “blonde female country singer.”

    One contestant said the gal before her auditioned beautifully but was passed on. The producers/assistants have 30 seconds to decide whether to move someone on. If they have let through 10 blonde country singers, they may pass on this one.

    I think there are many Kris “types” that audition for the show. But this Kris had something special, probably his humble personality that set him apart. We also have to remember the importance of the backstory.

    1. American Idol is first and foremost a television show and as a tv show, its first priority is RATINGS, in order to maximize advertising rates and commercial sponsorship dollars.

    This is absolutely true. I am not as eloquent as most of you in my writing. I don’t believe all the best singers actually make it to Hollywood. Did America get it right? Vonnie, that is a tough question to answer. I don’t think Kris was the best singer, but he had something special that attracted his fan base. This is also true of Taylor.

    I put Adam aside because I believe there was a scouting report put out on him. I believe it was already on paper that Adam would be in the finale before the first episode. This was also true of Jordin Sparks. I don’t have as much faith in the show as many of you do. There is so much editing and manipulation. Yes, we believe “America decides”; however, I don’t believe the TOP 10 from each season were really the best singers AI could find. I hope my remarks don’t offend anyone. I am trying so hard to put my thoughts into words and feel inadequate to do so.

    As Remus states: So let’s recap regarding the priorities of AI producers:
    TV ratings >> voting competition > popularity contest >>>>> singing competition

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  31. dede,

    Please, I hope you didn’t think I was saying anything negative about Taylor, He was and still is one of my favorite Idols. (Taylor, Jason and now Adam) that’s my top three. I was just saying I don’t like the media’s jabs they take at the idols who don’t blow the roof off the music charts. I seen Taylor in concert not long ago, and I think he is extremely happy doing what he is doing. He also made mention of his tour bus! He was a happy camper!

    Kariann 1,

    I put Adam aside because I believe there was a scouting report put out on him. I believe it was already on paper that Adam would be in the finale before the first episode. This was also true of Jordin Sparks. I don’t have as much faith in the show as many of you do. There is so much editing and manipulation.

    I did not realize this! To me, Tayolr was the best! But I completely understand what your saying. I guess for me the very reasons that you brought up are probably the very reasons why I will not watch next year. I wish MCL could be a judge on a show like this and truly judge them on technical skills – vs – popularity. As far as Kris is concerend I didn’t and still don’t think he is the worst singer, I actually like to hear him sing. I was very glad it was Kris and Adam in the finale. I just always have that question in my mind, yeah, but was he the best?

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  32. No worries, Vonnie, I didn’t take it that way at all.(just agreeing in a confusing way!) I also think Taylor gets a bad rap. I always feel bad for him b/c I know he hears the comments from people who compare the supposedly undeserving contestants to him. Which, I guess that’s kinda silly…to feel bad for the “hurt” feelings of these guys. It’s hard though to feel that you really DON’T know them after watching and being so invested week after week! I guess that’s why it’s so easy for some to go “overboard” with the love/hate,…the producers really know how to set us up, Lol!!!

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  33. dede,

    You know I always wonder why they treat Taylor they way they do. It’s not like he is sitting home on his couch watching the world go by. He’s really busy! I just love that it doesn’t seem to bother him at all, he just goes on with life and seems very happy! I would love to see him in “Grease”. Simon thinks if you aren’t charting in the top ten each week, your a failure in some way. That is so far from the truth though…Jennifer Hudson! I too feel bad for the ones that seem to never be good enough in Idols eyes.

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  34. Vonnie, when I look back at the IDOL WINNERS, I am thinking which one gave me the most pleasure the entire season? Which one I feel a real connection to? Which one did I actually jump for joy because he won? Which one am I really wanting to know more about his career?

    IT IS TAYLOR HICKS!!

    Dede, your last statement, “I guess that’s why it’s so easy for some to go “overboard” with the love/hate,…the producers really know how to set us up, Lol!!!” is somehow located in my mess of a post. I totally understand as this is how I feel.

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  35. Vonnie –

    Sorry, it’s taken me a day or two to get back here and there are so many posts! You deserve an honest answer to your question and my answer is No. This is not meant to denigrate Kris in any way. It is my personal opinion. It’s not based on popularity, ratings, judge’s opinions, media critics, the blogosphere or anything else. I believe Adam deserved to win based on his truly exceptional vocals and stellar performances.

    As far as the criteria for Idol, well, there are a number of factors that come into play. Many of them have already been discussed here. Popularity plays a huge part, also where a contestant comes from geographically. It’s no coincidence that most of the winner of Idol have come from the south. I think having the right image, being mainstream, likeable, All American good looks, the whole package, all come into play here.

    I am not so sure that those who vote the most are the ones more likely to go out and buy their winner’s album. I just am not convinced of that. I do think that the voting system on Idol is deeply flawed. There should be a major rehaul, but I don’t see the producers doing it. I think the problem of unlimited votes per phone line does leave the voting process wide open to abuse. I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving a limited number of votes per phone line, like Dancing With the Stars. If I had my way, I would abolish the text voting completely. That definitely gives an advantage to a certain segment of the audience and is also fair game for abuse. But I am not really optimistic that the producers will change it going forward. As long as the show is so popular, I think they will assume that the viewers are going to just go with it.

    Erin –

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You have certainly given me food for thought. I agree that being commercially successful can be tricky. I don’t even pretend to know who will be most likely to achieve commercial success in today’s pop music market. My tastes would not be considered mainstream by today’s standards at all. I do agree that the expectations for Adam will be incredibly high, but he somehow managed to continually raise the bar every week during the Idol competition. I don’t think we have even heard everything in his vocal arsenal. I think he may well have some surprised in his debut album. One reason I don’t worry too much with Adam is that he seems to be knowledgeable, realistic and savvy about what he needs to know to achieve commercial success. We will just have to wait and see if he can get it done. I hope so. The world should hear more of his incandescent voice.

    I sense just a hint of edginess and defensiveness from those who support Kris. The term “throat Olympics”, has been used as a kind of criticism of Adam’s voice. However, Adam has shown that he is more than capable of performing stripped down, almost acappella vocals. He did so on “Tracks of My Tears” and “Mad World”. You can’t get more restrained than that. I also believe that you use what God gave you. The idea that Adam somehow has to apologize for his two and a half octave range and powerful vocal ability, seems to be kind of absurd. If he can do power singing and hold a high note for 14 seconds, I say why not? He was blessed with a God given gift, but has worked extremely hard to hone it to perfection. I see nothing wrong with so-called “throat Olympics”, if we must use that phrase.

    What I like about Adam is his versatility as a singer. He can do so much with his voice. He can do the laid back, simple head voice, power through his strong lower register, start off soft and build to a crescendo and then pull it back to soft, rock out with the best of them (KISS, anyone?) and even sing r&b soul. He wants to try to include a lot of different genres of music in his first album. As MCL said, he is trying to be a Cabaret artist in the truest sense of that word. It’s risky, but I honestly hope he succeeds.

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  36. Jessica T —

    I just wanted to say that I think you are underrating the vocal ability and purity of James Taylor, Willie Nelson, and Alison Kraus. I understand what you’re talking about with regard to all of the other singers, but I really don’t think these three belong in the same group.

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  37. Mindy…the voting definitely needs a makeover! If all the chances to cheat were taken away, the controversy would vanish! (But AI probably wouldn’t like that…less buzz) Heck, when I hear somebody say they voted once, I think they must not be serious, lol!!! I agree…get rid of text votes!I admit that I use DialIdol. It usually gets around 400 votes in the 2 hours, and I felt as if I was cheating til I realized what the texters were doing!!

    I heard on TV today that there is a voting controversy brewing over Susan Boyle’s loss also! Something about someone changing her phone #’s. I saw it on Showbiz Tonight (or Extra or one those shows)I caught the end of it and am not exactly sure what happened. An honest system surely can’t be that hard to come up with!

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  38. Mindy —

    I think that the edginess and defensiveness of Kris fans comes from the constant comparisons to Adam and that ridiculous range of his. We full well know that Kris can’t hope to vocally compete with Adam on that front, and Kris knows it as well and has said as much. Sometimes I just feel like I can’t ever get a, “Fair enough; I hear you,” response no matter how well I phrase my opinion. It’s always, “Okay, you like Kris. But ADAM!!!”

    And I think the defensiveness comes from a justifiable place, because honestly, comparing the two contestants is an exercise in futility. It’d be like a, “James Taylor vs. Mariah Carey: Who is Better?” debate. I mean, what’s the point? What they both have to offer is so different that it becomes ridiculous to judge the two of them by the same rubric. They get defensive because nearly every statment of, “Kris is awesome because of X, Y, and Z” gets rebutted with, “…yeah, he’s nice. But Adam has that crazy range and Kris doesn’t. Adam is better.” ARRRGGGG. (I am WAY oversimplifying, of course, just trying to summarize the gist of the arguments I’ve heard with two sentences. I’m not implying that you made that argument, because you didn’t.)

    And Adam certainly doesn’t need to apologize for that fabulous instrument of his. It’s an incredible gift to have that kind of range and a testament to how hard he’s worked to have that kind of technique when he sings.

    My favorite singer in the world is actually fairly similar to Adam; he’s got a three-octave range and has a VERY dramatic style to his vocals, jumping register changes, using a lot of falsetto, and has one of those pitch-perfect primal screams that gives me goosebumps — the only really substantial difference I can think of is that he’s a baritone who tops out at a G5(!) in full voice, to Adam’s tenor (or is that countertenor? I haven’t figured that one out yet). Adam should have been my hands-down favorite with no competition, but Kris very slowly won me over through the course of the season.

    I think that the Kris fans so often jump on the, “He doesn’t have the sing the Throat Olympics” thing to pre-empt the, “But that’s what Adam does, and it’s awesome!” thing. Yes he does, and yes, it is awesome, but that’s not the point Kris fans are trying to make.

    They get defensive because Kris’s appeal is so far removed from that style that it’s frustrating to have it constantly brought up as a Reason Why Kris Didn’t Deserve to Win. He did deserve to win — for a host of reasons unrelated to Why Adam Lambert Is Totally Awesome, just as Adam deserved to win for reasons completely unrelated to Why Kris Allen Is Awesome. I think America got it right, but I also think they would have gotten it right if Adam had won. Or if Allison had won, for that matter.

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  39. Erin, I may have missed this…who is that singer?

    I am wondering if Kris would have been the winner in the other seasons of competition, or even runner-up?

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  40. Kariann1 – his name is Jimmy Gnecco; he’s the lead singer for a band called Ours. I didn’t mention his name because… well, nobody’s ever heard of him. Heh. You can hear him tackle some Roy Orbison here: http://tinyurl.com/oreow3 (I shortened the link rather than embedding the video.)

    I don’t think Kris would have won in previous seasons, mainly because they couldn’t play instruments and nobody re-arranged songs before Blake Lewis did it — and those two things are a big part of his appeal. Though I do think Kris’s run on Idol is indicative of what Brooke White and Jason Castro *could* have done last year if they’d both held it together mentally as the competition progressed.

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  41. Erin –

    You have given me some good reasons for the defensiveness of Kris fans and it’s too bad that they have to feel it necessary to stand up for him by dissing Adam. It’s all kind of absurd. These two guys are so different that it’s impossible to compare them. But on Idol we must choose a favorite from among this talented group. I am kind of concerned that the introduction of instruments has changed the contest. How do you compare those who sing with those who sing AND play instruments? I fear that it’s becoming less of a pure singing competition. There are a lot of levels on which comparisons are unfair. We could discuss this ad infinitum.

    I definitely agree that both Brooke White and Jason Castro were done in by nerves last season. They were both talented enough to be serious contenders. It was unnerving watching Brooke forget the lyrics and have to start over in front of a nationwide audience. I remember wondering if she would manage to get through the performance and keep it together. That girl was having a breakdown in front a millions of viewers. Jason also disintegrated when he forgot the lyrics to Mr. Tambourine Man. There were many who felt he tanked it because he wanted off the show. I find that hard to believe. But it was painful to watch the toll this competition exacted on two talented young people.

    I do agree that Kris would not have won in previous seasons when there were no instruments. That is one of Kris’s true strengths. Without instruments, I don’t see him winning on just voice alone. I was thinking about him and feel that he can improve his voice with better technique. He has the sound, now he just needs to refine it somewhat. My feeling is that if you don’t have the range and power, then you have to do what you do to perfection. James Taylor is a great example of that. This man has a pitch perfect, lilting, distinctive sound all his own. You will never confuse him with anyone else.

    There are challenges for Kris when it comes to the issue of commercial success. With artists like John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz already solidly established, Kris needs to carve out a place for himself. He has to find a way to set himself apart and bring a fresh, new interpretation to this type of music. I also think he needs to change up the tempo of his forthcoming album. I think of how James Taylor was so good at doing just that. He could the slow, simple, heartfelt ballad and stripped down, laid bare vocals to perfection, but he could also get funky and have some fun. That would be a great formula for Kris.

    I hear you, Erin! Loud and clear. You have made the case for Kris and I commend you. With me it’s not a true comparison, it’s a matter of appreciating both of these young men for their distinctive gifts.

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  42. I don’t know where to put this, but I am now watching the Tony Awards, and what a beginning! Fabulous! Already a shout out to Constantine. Cool.

    I will forever remember Simon’s disrespect for Broadway. Those first 6-7 years he was always a put down to sound Broadway. The first real sword in the back was given to Clay Aiken. Imagine that, the runner-up in Season 8 is a Broadway honey.

    Being an American Idol offers up so many opportunites, and I say bravo to Constantine. He is doing what he loves and Broadway has acknowldeged that he is very, very good. He may not win tonight, but he has proven Simon Cowell’s opinion on stage performers is a bunch of baloney.

    My hat goes off to Constantine, Clay, Anthony, Diana, Fantasia, and all the terrific Idols who have expanded the American Idol experience!!

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  43. EDIT: I realize Adam was not on Broadway, but he is what Simon use to criticize during auditions. The irony of it all.

    Thank you, Erin. Jimmy Gnecco must be a very special singer to receive your great praise! I hope to connect to your link when I am at my daughter’s house.

    Mindy, you have summarized Kris’ talent and challenges quite fairly. I do wish both Kris and Adam much success in their careers!

    (Back to the Tony Awards.)

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  44. Roseanne, I am unable to get on Twitter. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the couple’s family. May God provide a complete healing for your flu. I am thinking of you during this time.

    Hugs,
    Kariann

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  45. Just wanted to say that Constantine’s voice on the Tony Awards last night sounded better than he ever did on AI. Very solid and pure.

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  46. Jeanne, I do agree with you!

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  47. I did check out the new thread. Just a few comments there…

    Both Adam and Constantine have changed the American Idol image and there’s not a darn thing Simon can do about it!

    Constantine proved that an Idol landing a job on Broadway can be respected by the industry and acknowledged for their work. Yes, he is the first contestant to to be nominated for a Tony, but I don’t think he will be the last!

    Adam proved that someone with a theatrical background can be a contender to win AI. Yay!

    I imagine there will be more of this type of contestant for Season 9.

    The doors are wide open now. Sounding too much like Broadway can be a COOL thing!

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  48. I have not seen this footage here yet, so here’s Kris singing SSB at NBA finals last Sunday – for those who are interested in his crisp voice and nuances. Enjoy.

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  49. I just read the following quote from Adam’s interview in Rolling Stone:

    “I was like, ‘Oh, (bleep), they put me with the cute guy,”’ Lambert says. “Distracting! He’s the one guy that I found attractive in the whole group on the show: nice, nonchalant, pretty and totally my type — except that he has a wife. I mean, he’s open-minded and liberal, but he’s definitely 100 percent straight.”

    I wanted to share it with you because I thought it was amusing!

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  50. I love that quote, louise. And you know what’s even cooler about that? If Adam is anything like I think he is, you KNOW he probably said the exact same thing to Kris, but that never stopped Kris from being openly affectionate with him. I know too many guys who would be weirded out by that and I hate the macho pretense. It’s like — and I hate to bring this up but it’s a perfect and relevant illustration of what I mean — when Gokey and Sarver felt the need to qualify their “I love you, man”s because they were afraid of how it might come off to other people. There’s none of that with Adam and Kris. Love it.

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  51. louise – I actually started giggling when I read that quote because that’s such a natural response. It’s like in grade school when your teacher pairs you up with a cute classmate and you’re thinking, “Aah! This is so distracting! Must focus on assignment.”

    Erin – I completely agree with you how refreshing Kris’ response is in light of the fact that he probably knew. Kris and Adam have such an inspiring friendship.

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