Kris Allen's friends knew he was going to win "American Idol." They said so more than a month ago when MTV News visited Conway, Arkansas, and they proudly restated it Thursday morning (May 21), after a sleepless night of celebrating the victory.
Still groggy from the late night, former roommate and good pal Charles Browder, 25, said he got a bit nervous during Wednesday night's interminable wait for the results, but he never really lost faith.
"Honestly, the way they pimped out Adam [Lambert] the whole night ... here's a ditty with [Kris and] Keith Urban and here's pyrotechnics with [Adam and] Kiss?" he said Thursday morning from Los Angeles, after attending Wednesday night's show with two dozen of Allen's friends and family from Conway. "We were like, 'What the heck? Are they pimping him out to win or giving him one last good show because they know Kris is going to win?' "
But when host Ryan Seacrest called for the lights to be dimmed, Browder said he knew they were going to call Allen's name. "Even though they weren't giving him enough airtime, the whole time we thought he was going to sneak in to the top two and he's going to take it," Browder said. And when he did win, Browder said the Allen supporters simply flipped out.
"A girl grabbed my arm and was jumping higher than I was and [accidentally] punching me in the face, and we were so freakin' happy for him, I didn't even care," he said.
Another hometown friend of Allen's, former college roommate JP Davenport, 24, also attended the show and said the wait for the results was maddening. But she also walked around Los Angeles all day on Wednesday feeling very confident that Allen, 23, would pull it out. "We kept telling ourselves that, but then we had to figure out, 'How are we gonna handle that?' " she said. "It's indescribable. All I heard was 'K ... ,' and I'm pretty sure the top blew off. We lost it, we screamed, we jumped, we cried. Everyone had tears in their eyes."
Though she wasn't able to congratulate Allen in person on victory night, Davenport said the Conway contingent went out to dinner after the live broadcast and watched the taped West Coast rebroadcast at a restaurant a short time later. "We were all standing around this little TV in the restaurant, and when it came on, we threw our hands in the air again, and we all just took it in," she said. "Everyone was numb. No one can explain how it feels. Kris is the American Idol!"
Davenport said a group of Allen's friends stayed up late into the night, and at one point, they tried to figure out how their unassuming friend was able to pull off a come-from-behind victory against the season-long favorite. "Maybe some of Danny [Gokey]'s voters pushed to Kris," she speculated. "Maybe Arkansas really did push him over. I don't know. I think people can actually see who Kris is, and America responded to him. When they really saw them go head-to-head, people decided that Kris was the one they wanted."
Much has been made of Allen's humble, quiet persona, and Davenport was confident that the bright lights and instant stardom that comes with an "Idol" crown won't change her friend. But just in case, she joked, she'll always be there to remind him that he's no celebrity. "I think the only thing that will change is just him being busy," Browder said. "I'm sure he'll get distracted, but he'll still be one of those celebrities signing a billion [autographs] when he should be moving on. I think he'll stay true to himself just like he did the whole competition."
Still a bit in shock over the victory, Browder recalled that when a reporter asked Allen recently what keeps him grounded, he said "my friends."
"There wasn't a dry eye in the house," Browder said of Wednesday night. "The whole rest of the night at the restaurant, we just kept saying, 'Our best friend just won 'American Idol.' "
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