Before hitting "American Idol" stage, Kris Allen already released an indie album titled "Brand New Shoes". He recorded it with his college friends and bandmates Michael Holmes (drums) and Chase Erwin (bass). He himself played guitar and piano in addition to serving as the band's vocalist.
Born on June 21, 1985 in Arkansas, Kris was an active member of orchestra group in his school, Mills University Studies High School. He played viola at that time before then learning how to play guitar, piano and ukulele. Beside joining the orchestra group, Kris was also actively involved in church during his younger years. He was a worship leader at New Life church in Maumelle, Arkansas, and has traveled around the world, including Burma, Mozambique, Spain, South Africa and Thailand, for missionary work. He married longtime girlfriend Katy O'Connell Allen in September 2008.
Kris tried his luck when "American Idol" opened audition for its eighth season in Louisville, Kentucky with his brother Daniel, who unfortunately didn't make it to the next round. Throughout the reality singing competition, he received many compliments from the judge due to his folks-inspired interpretations of modern pop songs. He was also praised for having abilities of playing many musical instruments.
Kris brought his guitar along to sing a rendition of "Remember the Time" when appearing for the first time on the Top 13 episode of the show. He received praise from judge Paula Abdul who called him "engaging and kinda adorable/sexy" in his performance.
However, he was not entirely poured with favorable comments as he indeed got harsh words during some appearances. One of the unfavorable comments came from judge Randy Jackson who claimed that Kris got pitchy when singing "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova during Top 7 episode. He was also criticized by Simon Cowell who labeled his performance on Top 5 episode as "a little bit wet."
Despite the criticism, Kris made it to the Top 3. Soon after that, he was sent to Conway, Arkansas for a homecoming schedule. During the visit, he performed at Little Rock's Riverfest Amphitheater and visited University of Central Arkansas where he used to study. He also sang at Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall and at Simon Park.
Kris was announced as "American Idol" season eight winner on May 20, 2009, beating down judges' favorite Adam Lambert. Following his victory on the show, he took the Idol stage and performed the winning song "No Boundaries". Post Idol, Kris made stops on several popular TV shows, including "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Live with Regis and Kelly", for interviews and performances.
Days after his announcement as the Idol winner, rumors emerged suggesting that there was unfair voting during the show's finale. The unfair voting issue was then debunked by FOX. And, when appearing on "Today Show", he and Adam frankly said that it didn't matter who came out as the winner. Kris joins Top 10 Idol alum for a summer tour which starts at Rose Garden in Portland on June 5, 2009.