Leader Blues

Monday, May 11, 2009

TOP STORY >> Allen: ‘I have the best fans in the world’

Leader staff writer

“You’re going to get hungry if you eat ice for lunch,” said “American Idol” Kris Allen, who was referring to the chants of “we eat ice” coming from the hundreds of fans who were on hand to see him perform at the Riverfest Amphitheater in Little Rock. The fans were referring to “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell’s remark that Allen’s performance last week was “like eating ice for lunch.”

Allen, formerly of Jacksonville, found out Wednesday he made it into the top three on the show.

Chris and Susan Rodriquez of Conway were “completely excited.”

“We both jumped up and down,” says Chris. “I did the famous ‘Tiger Woods fist pump.

“It’s good to know he’s gonna come home and see his family and friends,” said Chris Thursday. The two met in kindergarten at Murrell Taylor Elementary School in Jacksonville and have been best friends ever since. Family friend Mary Twitty said it was like sitting on “pins and needles” waiting for results to be announced Wednesday.

Allen took the stage at the amphitheater shortly before noon Friday. “I feel like I have the best fans in the world,” he said. “I’ve been to this place a lot and never seen this many people here. You guys are why I’m here.”

Allen, running on around three hours of sleep, was amazed at the turnout. “This is crazy,” he said. “A few months ago you didn’t even know my name. You guys are great.”

The remaining ‘idols’ will perform two songs Tuesday, a judges’ choice and personal choice. Earlier Friday morning, Allen was notified that “Apologize” by One Republic is his judges’ choice song. “I think it’s going to be awesome,” he said. Allen would not reveal his personal choice, but said it was definitely going to be a surprise.

Before his performance, Allen was given a plaque from the city of Little Rock, proclaiming Friday, May 8 Kris Allen Day. “I never thought that I’d have my own day,” he said. “This is nuts.”

Allen performed three songs, “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Falling Slowly” and “All She Wants to Do is Dance.”

He thanked his supporters numerous times and told the younger people in the crowd that they were “welcome for a reason not to go to school today.”

“American Idol” had a camera crew on hand, recording Allen’s performance and getting many shots of the overwhelmingly supportive crowd. After his appearance in Little Rock, Allen headed to Conway for two performances and his hometown parade. The top three were flown home Thursday evening and were thrown hometown parades.

The Riverfest audience consisted of fans from across the state, including Camden, Perryville and Benton, bearing signs and shirts proclaiming their love of Kris Allen.

“Wow is all I can say,” said Sgt. E5 Susan Mumaus of Ward, with the Arkansas Army National Guard. “I left work to come here. People support us and we should support them.”

“It was awesome,” said Kelly Mize of Cabot. “It’s amazing how humble he is.”

“I love Kris Allen,” said 3-year-old Mallory Cole, of Benton.

When he arrived in Arkansas on Thursday evening, Allen was presented a key to the city of Jacksonville. The remaining ‘idols’ will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox. The results show will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday, also on Fox.