Kris Allen: Before He Became The American Idol

Kris Allen American Idol Winner Season 8

Kris Allen American Idol Winner Season 8

A  new reader, who goes by the name of Ian, asked if I would review American Idol Season 8 winner, Kris Allen’s Pre-Idol music.

Of course, I was very curious to hear what Kris had accomplished before he became involved with American Idol and I have to say that this young man’s talent is very impressive.

He has really worked in his own quiet, unassuming manner to hone and develop his craft and I wish him the greatest success in his performing career. 

So, as we wait patiently for Michael Slezak to publish his five-part Idolatry interview with Kris Allen,  let us take a look at some of the performances that groomed and guided Kris on his journey toward the American Idol stage.

On Our Way

Written and Produced by

Kris Allen


On Our Way is a haunting number and I was mesmerized by the inherent melodic beauty of this number.Kris’s voice embraces the lyrics and melody.

However, I must say that I can hear the tension in Kris’ vocal delivery. Kris has to be very careful not to push or force his vocal sound through the constriction of his throat muscles.

The innate purity of his voice is so beautiful and would be further enhanced through the utilization of the diaphragm to stabilize his vocal direction and focus.

However, Kris’ heartfelt emotion and sensitive artistry is just wonderful. Also, his keyboard abilities throughout this song are truly excellent .




Written and Produced by

Kris Allen


Lovely opens with powerful  instrumental music – just beautiful .

However, I find that, once Kris begins to sing, his voice doesn’t have the presence or clarity that I did hear during On Our Way.

Nevertheless  the composition of this song is really beautiful, extremely soulful and passionate.

However I was aching for cleaner articulation skills. Sometimes the words lacked clarity and because the articulation was less precise in this song, the full energetic focus for Kris’ vocal delivery was compromised.

Nevertheless, this was a sensitive and musical performance and a wonderfully composed song!

Land Of Smiles

Written and Produced by

Kris Allen



I loved the quiet, yet controlled guitar introduction in Land Of Smiles. Kris is such a skilled musician –guitar, piano , vocals! He has so much to offer!

His voice sounds beautiful in this number and the gorgeous purity of his head voice is wonderfully highlighted during this song.

I loved the cello effect he included in the acoustic mix of this song, which seamlessly segued to  the orchestral interlude midway through this number.

This was extremely well done and exemplifies that he has wonderful skills as an arranger.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Originally Interpreted by
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole



Oh my, Kris sounds absolutely amazing in this song and we are blessed with the full “Kris effect” during this performance. 

Not only do we hear and enjoy his gorgeous tenor voice but also we  gain a wonderful glimpse into the brilliance of his baritone voice.

He sings this song very musically and generally phrases his song very well.

I am still not  a fan of the faulty breath spots in this song, although Kris manages to keep the song flowing and the momentum alive despite the breathing flaws.

My only advice –don’t breathe as often, Kris – tie the words of your phrases together in one breath!

God Of This City


Performed By

Kris Allen at New Life Church in Little Rock Arkansas


God Of This City is sensitively and meaningfully interpreted by Kris during this live performance.

And the body language that he incorporates into this number speaks to the intensity of his Christian faith and sincerity of heart.

Technically, the brilliant spark of his lower range is not as coherent as it was during Somewhere Over The Rainbow and, subsequently, this diminshes the full effect of his upper voice as well.

Hopefully he will continue to work on “freeing” the tension in his jaw and neck muscles, thus enhancing the full effect of the diaphragmatic support process.

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About Masterclass Lady

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

10 Responses to “Kris Allen: Before He Became The American Idol”

  1. Very nice reviews, MCL. I don’t think Kris gets all the credit he deserves for his many talents. Your reviews are always fair and honest. Thank you. Here is Kris performing O Holy Night. Gorgeous. Your thoughts?


  2. Ian Thurnston June 2, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Thank you Madam, that was a very sincere review. What we can conclude here is that Kris has huge potential in his beautiful sound but he has yet to optimize his it. Hopefully AI / 19 provides him a vocal coach the next few months.

    And what’s great about it is that we can still see him grow his talent in front of us as he progresses along his career.

    Btw, thank you for mentioning me – gushing – I felt honored indeed.

    Hope your bathroom turns out the way you design it.



  3. I’ve listened to all the songs on his pre-Idol album “Brand New Shoes”, and there are 2 or 3 that I like quite a bit. I hope that 19 truly has his best interests at heart, and he will get the training he needs. He has so much potential, it would be a shame for it to go nowhere through lazy management.

    I’m amazed that so many people still don’t “get” Kris. Some of the comments on other sites are truly nasty. It’s always nice to be able to come here, where even in the comment section, people are kind and constructive! Thank You MCL!


  4. Kirsten – this is a beautiful and sensitive performance of this Christmas classic. How I wish Kris would work on alleviating the tension in his upper body. Not only is it creating havoc with his voice, but it diminishes the full extent of his enormous stage presence. He looks like he is struggling when he sings and that’s because of the tension in his upper body.

    However, I loved the melodic changes made to the song’s original harmonic structure. Gorgeous!


  5. Thanks for the review! It is so amazing that Kris can continue to evolve and grow even after the amazing journey he’s had on American Idol. He’s got mountains to scale! (And he will scale them.)


  6. Hey I just stumbled onto your website per chance and I think it’s fabulous. I really enjoy reading your constructive criticisms for all contestants. I will definitely be bookmarking this site. Keep up the good work, MCL!


  7. Oh, my goodness. my favorits song is Beautiful Moon. I cannot keep playing that song enough! Once my computer started playing it two times at once, like a second behind each other. It was funny, and i had to restart it.

    LOVE KRIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Thank you so much, MCL, for these excellent reviews concerning Kris! He is proving to me more and more that he is more than worthy of his title American Idol! “God of this City” was amazing and I hope to download it in some fashion. I really wish iTunes had his Brand New Shoes album on it. These are songs I would not hesitate to pay money for!


  9. Ian Thurnston June 3, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Hi Galen,

    The album was not on sale, it was apparently his first attempt at songwriting in 2007 when he was very ill and bedridden from his trip to Morocco (I read this here and there from the net), and his parents were surpised that he could write. They recorded 11 songs with Kris’ 2 friends Michael Holmes (drums) and Chase Erwin (bass). Kris did vocal, guitar, keyboard and viola. The albums were distributed to friends and family. They also placed some in a local store, but as we suspected, without much publicity and air play, they never really take off.

    In some interviews post Idol, (I suspected the songs were already raved about amonsgt fans during Idol which more than mitigated the lack of airtime for Kris on Idol), Kris was asked if he would repeat some of the songs in his first professional album, but interestingly Kris denied that, saying that Brand New Shoes represented his amateurish attempt in the past and that he wishes to move on to new sounds. Infact he was rather embarassed about the quality of his work in BNS.

    You can get reasonably good digital quality of these songs from

    (Indemnity: I do not promote free downloads in jonwire, but for unmarketed materials, I’ll get them here – e.g, Kris’ BNS and Ryan Tedder’s demo Battlefield – sounds great)



  10. Thank you VERY much, Ian, for that link! I will definitely download more than a few of these terrific songs. I like Kris, but I disagree with him. These songs are certainly NOT amatuerish. Still, I think it is a healthy attitude to want to move forward in a new direction. I just hope he doesn’t forget the past completely. Still, I have faith in him that he will turn out one heck of a CD!


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