With all of the changes in the show's format this year, this might simultaneously be the worst season ever of "America Idol," but with the most compelling finale. From the beginning, it appeared that the contest would end with Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert going toe-to-toe or, more accurately, Oxford shoe-to-lizard-skin boot. That is, until Kris Allen, the Little Engine That Could -- and did -- quietly started chugging up the championship track. We didn't pay much attention to the Kid From Conway until he knocked our socks off with his downscaled arrangement of "She Works Hard for the Money." Suddenly he became relevant and a contender. We watched, sometimes in shock, as he survived while Matt Giraud and, especially, Allison Iraheta fell to the wayside. We even wrote him off this week after his sometimes pitchy performance of "Apologize." But then minutes later he blew us away with his interpretive rendition of Kanye West's "Heartless." Though his win would be the biggest dark horse upset in "American Idol" history, and not necessarily our preference, Kris Allen's season-long growth as an artist is the kind of victory America loves to see and support. Only a million votes separated Allen and Lambert in the Top 3 results, and with Gokey's fans most likely falling into Allen's camp, we predict that Kris Allen will be the next American Idol.
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