American Idol winner Kris Allen comes to South Carolina

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American Idol winner Kris Allen comes to South Carolina

By BLAIR R. FISCHER
Special to Lowcountry Current
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013   |  854 Words  |  

The upside about getting into a car crash on New Year's Day is that 2013, presumably, can only get better. And when singer/guitarist Kris Allen wrecked his Ford on Jan. 1 -- with his newly pregnant wife, Katy, riding shotgun -- his glass-is-half-full mentality had his first thoughts on how the incident might affect his impending tour. "I was waiting for the ambulance to get there and my first thought was, 'How are we going to make (the tour) happen?'" he says.

Allen's optimism in the face of misfortune is refreshing, especially considering a broken right wrist has forced him to abandon playing the guitar for the duration of the tour and perform at least the first portion of it in a sling. Not that Allen hasn't had his fair share of luck: Allen, of course, is most famous for winning the eighth season of "American Idol" (beating out Adam Lambert), arguably one of the last seasons that truly captured audiences' attention.

Days before his performance at Charn's Music Farm this Saturday, Lowcountry Current caught up with Allen, who's touring in support of 2012's "Thank You Camellia." We asked Allen about the accident (of course), his thoughts on "Idol" now, and whether there's any difference among crowds from show to show.

Question. How are you doing following the accident?

Answer. I'm doing all right, man. I get this big ol' cast off on Friday, so that's good. Other than that, it's definitely uncomfortable. Surgery is no fun and recovering is even worse, but I'm doing all right, considering.

Q. Is it bizarre being out there with your arm in a sling?

A. It's definitely been weird, but we've made it work. I have a great band I play with, and they've done an amazing job of taking care of the music stuff. I can't move around or jump around too much but just try to keep it entertaining, and I feel like the shows have been going really well.

Q. You have a new song you've been playing on tour called "Paul Simon." Is that about the singer or the politician?

A. (Laughs). It's neither. It actually has the vibe of Paul Simon, and it's really just a love song. That's the working name for it right now.

Q. So it might change?

A. Honestly, it'll probably end up being the real name just because I'm lazy, and I don't want to come up with a name for it.

Q. Do you get a lot of shoutouts for songs you performed on "American Idol?"

A. Yeah, people want to hear (Kanye West's) "Heartless" or (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova's) "Falling Slowly," and all those things. And we play them every once in a while. I try to play my music as much as possible, but also I love playing covers. We played a Prince cover last night (in Annapolis). We played "When Doves Cry," and it was one of the most fun things we've done all tour.

Q. Do you still pay attention to "American Idol?"

A. Honestly, I didn't really pay attention after my season. I was really busy. But last year, I was staying with some friends in L.A. when I was making my record, and they really got into the show last year. So I probably watched more last year than I've ever watched the show.

Q. Have you seen all the behind-the-scenes drama with new hosts Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj?

A. I've obviously heard about it. It's frustrating just because you don't want the show to end up being about that. They're trying to do what they can to get ratings and get people to start watching the show. We'll see what happens. Hopefully the focus goes all the way back to the contestants again.

Q. Performers often talk about how crowds in some cities are better than others, but can you honestly tell the difference from the stage?

A. Oh, it's different night to night. You never know what you're going to get. Last night we played for a sit-down crowd and usually sit-down crowds suck, and this crowd was amazing. You just never ever know what you're going to get. You can never phone it in.

Q. Can you tell the second you walk on stage?

A. Yup. Always. Right when you get on stage you can tell easily how the show's going to go.

Q. Had Queen asked you to be their frontman instead of Adam Lambert, what would you have said?

A. I mean, you got to say yes, right? You don't say no to that.