American Idol Upset: Kris Allen Beats Adam Lambert

Kris Allen bests season-long favorite Adam Lambert.

ByABC News
May 19, 2009, 2:52 PM

May 21, 2009 — -- In what may go down as the biggest upset in the show's history, Kris Allen won "American Idol," beating out Adam Lambert, the season-long favorite.

Host Ryan Seacrest said on Wednesday night's finale that nearly 100 million votes were cast for the finalists. The 23-year-old Allen, a student from Conway, Ark., bested the 27-year-old Lambert, a musical theater veteran from San Diego.

It seemed even Allen couldn't believe the outcome. Breathlessly taking the mic after Secrest announced he won, Allen said, "Adam deserves this. I'm sorry."

"Idol's" two-hour finale included performances by the Black Eyed Peas, Cyndi Lauper, Carlos Santana, Rod Stewart and last year's "Idol" winner, David Cook. Lambert performed with Kiss and Allen dueted with Keith Urban.

Before the announcement, the two finalists dueted on "We are the Champions" with the surviving members of Queen.

Tuesday night, Lambert showed off his vocal prowess by making good of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," while Allen belted out "Ain't No Sunshine" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

Both contestants also sang a song penned by newbie "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, "No Boundaries." Allen performed it again after scoring the "Idol" title tonight.

Hanging over the finale was the overwhelming speculation that Lambert would win it all.

In recent weeks, Lambert emerged as the favorite of the "Idol" judges, guest performers and critics. The usually snarky Simon Cowell came out in full support of Lambert earlier this month, telling Oprah Winfrey that there's no way Lambert won't win because he's fearless, he's unique and "he's got swagger." Paula Abdul called Lambert the Michael Phelps of the current competition.

Last Wednesday, pop star Katy Perry wore a cape bearing his name for her "Idol" performance of "Waking Up in Vegas," the same week Entertainment Weekly gave him a cover.