Adam Lambert, Kris Allen

"You know, there are probably people who are better than me," said Kris Allen when the American Idol judges asked him if he was the best singer in the country during his Louisville, Ky., audition. And though the humble boy next door has now been named the best singer in the country — by Idol voters, at least — he hasn't really changed his tune.

"Adam deserved this. I'm sorry," Allen said, just seconds after Ryan Seacrest named him the eighth American Idol. It was a major upset in a voting pool of nearly 100 million votes. Allen's shock over having bested season-long frontrunner Adam Lambert was completely genuine, and it was nothing new. We saw that same look when he made it into the Top 3.

"I'm always surprised, man," Allen told Entertainment Weekly. "For me, making it through each week — everyone is so talented, and, I don't know, to make it through each week is crazy."

So how did this guy who viewers barely even glimpsed before it was down to 36 come out on top? "That's kinda who I am, and having the spotlight on me would've been weird," Allen said. "I'm that laid-back guy. I stick my head behind everyone else and every once in a while peek out and say, 'Hello!'"

While Allen was the picture of bewildered excitement, Lambert demonstrated real class as the runner-up. And why not? His career is set, with or without the Idol crown. He secured a huge following and dazzled viewers week after week with his vocal acrobatics, which also earned unending praise from the judges. But Lambert's no sore loser; his respect for Allen is evident.

"We were roommates, so we were kind of thrown in together, and he's just, like, a really open-minded, good person," Lambert said. "He's got a great view of the world. ... I'm so happy for him. He deserves it. He's so talented."

The feeling is mutual. "It was just, like, this closeness, you know? I don't know what happened," Allen said. "I think we just felt each other's energy, and it was nice. It just became this really good friendship. Yeah, I adore the guy. I think he's a really great guy. I'm proud of him."

After Allen and Lambert run the publicity gauntlet for a few more weeks, they'll join their fellow finalists on a 50-city tour starting in July. Then, they will no doubt hit the studio to record their debut albums of (presumably) soulful soft rock and falsetto glam metal, respectively.

And we anxiously await both.

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