American Idol winner Kris Allen

The winner of the eighth season of American Idol was announced on Wednesday night in the US, in what was described by CNN as a “stunning upset”.

Adam Lambert, widely seen as the favourite to take the title, was beaten by rival Kris Allen in the finale show which generated almost 100 million votes from fans.

While Lambert was the flashiest talent, boasting an impressive vocal range, 23 year old Allen built up a strong fan base during the course of the show; in part thanks to his clean-cut good looks and Christian background. Allen worked as missionary in countries such as Burma, Morocco, Mozambique and South Africa.

Twenty seven year old Lambert, however, presented a much edgier image with his spiky hairstyles, black nail polish and sexual ambiguity; features which some believe may have cost him the top prize.

“I think maybe I opened people’s eyes up a little bit to something different. I’m a little different, and it was really exciting to have the support of the country,” Lambert told CNN. “Just to be able to take risks and be celebrated for that felt really, really good”, he said.

Judge Simon Cowell acknowledged the talent of the two finalists in the finale, saying: “To both of you, and I don’t normally mean this, I thought you were both brilliant… The future’s all yours.”

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