Sonja Keith felt sick to her stomach Wednesday (April 29) night. Watching the “American Idol” results show at home with her family, one of the organizers of Tuesday night’s huge Kris Allen Watch Party in the singer’s hometown of Conway, Arkansas, said she couldn’t believe her eyes or ears.
“My thought was, ’How is that possible?’ ” she told MTV News the morning after Allen, 23, made his first trip to the bottom three and Matt Giraud was sent home .
That stunned reaction was equaled only by the shock that supporters of front-runner Adam Lambert felt when the 28-year-old musical-theater veteran joined Allen in the bottom three for the first time this season.
“Hell, no,” Lee Cherry said when asked whether he expected to see Lambert on the cusp of elimination after another judge-approved performance. Cherry, one of the founders of Los Angeles’ Zodiac Show, a live performance showcase Lambert has been a part of for several years, said he thought Lambert’s rendition of “Feeling Good” on Tuesday night was “ridiculously on a whole other level than anyone else, as usual. Not to take away from anyone who performed, they were all good, but I was tolerating everyone else until Adam performed. He was awesome.”
Cherry’s reaction was nothing compared to the hysteria over on the forum at adam-lambert.net, where diehard TigerLily huffed, “OMG, I need someone to fan me. I cannot breathe!” moments after the news was revealed.
Among the hundreds who commented on the surprising news was Adam_Fan, who wrote simply, “I don’t want to watch either! If he goes home, I will curl into a ball and die!!” It was all for naught, of course, but the drama was befitting of a contestant who has inspired such a rabid following.
Back in Arkansas, Keith said she got so nervous when it was revealed that Allen was in the bottom three that she left the family room and went to the kitchen to collect herself. “I was a nervous wreck,” she said. “From everything I was hearing, he did a great job. It felt like he kicked up his stage presence a notch. He looked great. … I’m not sure what’s going on.”
Like many of the Kris Allen faithful, Keith was at the Farris Center on Tuesday night, where she said she dialed furiously, logging close to 100 votes every 15-20 minutes for the first hour of voting on two different phones.
“Not that we’ve been asleep, but this was a wake-up call and more of us are realizing that it’s not only important for us to vote but to encourage others to vote. … We’re not giving up, we’re not throwing our hands up in the air,” she vowed, promising an even bigger voting effort for next Tuesday night’s rock-themed show.
While Keith saw the brush with elimination as a challenge to get more Allen supporters onboard, Cherry suspected the inaugural trip for Lambert could have been caused by voting overload. “I went to vote, and I hit redial a bunch of times and couldn’t get through,” Cherry said. “After 25 times, I got one vote in.”
A spokesperson for “Idol” could not be reached for comment at press time to answer questions about whether there were any issues with voting on a night when a season-record 47 million votes were received.
This is typically the point in the season where conspiracy theories about voting begin to pop up, and Cherry certainly had his own suspicions, which were echoed by one of Allen’s good friends, Josh Jenkins, founder of the KrisAllenNation.com. After Wednesday night’s show, Jenkins wrote on his site that he had a suspicion that “tonight’s results were fabricated by the ’Idol’ producers and Fox to give a jolt to Adam’s fanbase. … As someone who follows the show very, very, very closely, there is no way that Adam would fall that far. His fanbase is HUGE and highly organized.”
Jenkins saw the slip by Lambert as something that will likely re-energize the dramatic singer’s fiercely loyal fans. “For Kris and us to compete, we not only have to match their energy and commitment to their contestant, we HAVE TO EXCEED IT!”
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