There used to be this popular meme template: This is X, X does Y, be like X. I don't have the picture but I remember I encountered this one: This is Jordin. Jordin sparks. (showing a stick woman glittering/sparkling) Be like Jordin.
How I Met Kris Allen and Let Him Ruined My Life (lol)
Acknowledging the existence of American Idol Season 8 has introduced things I never anticipated to my life. I'd
never find myself this stupefied and
lambertgastedflabbergasted at the age of 19. Allow me to elucidate.
Few months after discovering Kris, sometimes I randomly googled him up. I reached sites and forums such as the old IDF, mjsbigblog, Just Jared, TMZ, and anything. At that point I only knew he won over Adam, how he's friends with Adam, and other trivialities like how people admired his performances, hotness, side jaw, how people adored/envied his wife, Katy, some interviews and funny stories behind the scenes, you name it.
One day I remembered my high school friend used to write K-Pop fanfics. She showed me her account on a certain website and later her fics. I was amazed that she wrote them and I never knew people would write fics about real people (I knew they do about fictional characters but not real people). Whether it's for stretching their creativity muscles or plainly escaping reality or just imagining their idols in situations and stories for their entertainment, putting real people into a story and the fact it was popular were news to me.
I was green to fan fictions about real people.
Curious without any hesitations and assumptions, I searched for "Kris Allen fanfics" and landed on fanfiction.net. I was surprised that people did write fictional stories about him. "Wow I can't wait to read one!", I said while scrolling to see just how plentiful the fics were there. I was just too astounded by the results.
Despite my sloppiness I found one that intrigued me. Note: The link is to AO3 but I did read it on fanfiction.net at first.Quote
Lovers on the Balcony
Beauty and the Beast meets Kradam! Kris Allen lives in prejudiced times. Gay people are executed for their ungodly behavior. What happens when he falls in love with a beautiful girl who just so happens to be a prince under a witch's spell? Will he accept love or let it slip away? And will he break the curse or is Prince Adam doomed for all eternity?
Now you might not believe me and I didn't even believe myself, but I was just as dense as Chris Redfield that I dismissed: the title, "Kradam", "Gay people". I was focused on the "Beauty and the Beast" that my mind was occupied by how creative the author was to make a parody of Beauty and the Beast into a Kris Allen fic. I'd like to see how the story turned out. Silly me didn't even question the very synopsis of the fic.
The story began with how the conceited Prince Adam Lambert was cursed by the enchantress but instead of a beast, he was turned into a girl. By this point I cracked my self up too hard, forgetting how I was meant to read fics about Kris. What a random modification of the story! What purpose did it serve to? And I just thought, "Okay, so this fic actually features not one but two idols. Neat!" I continue reading.
Despite what should had been obvious from the interaction between these two characters, It took me a slightly more than a halfway of the story to actually realize who Kris was equivalent to. I narrowed my eyes and furrowed my brows as the story went on. The pinnacle of my disbelief was this scene:
Kris reached down to offer his hand to Josh. Josh had other ideas though. "I'd rather die than accept help from either of you." He raised the knife still clutched in his hand and drove it into Adam's side. Adam cried out in pain and nearly lost his grip. Kris quickly grabbed his hand before he could fall. "I'll see you both in Hell," Josh said. He let go of Adam's hand and fell to the ground. The villagers below stood stunned around his broken body.
and without a doubt the ensuing scenes.
I know it's for the sake of the story but Josh, if you were smarter you could've lowered your ego and pretended you were good in terms with them and with the right timing you can just betrayed and push both of them to death. I guess people back then was just not that bright.
By the end of the story, I took a slight moment to ask myself "... what exactly did I just read?" I went back to the main search results and found out in the end that these are slash fics. Hold on, seriously? People write this stuff?
As a person who's new into fandom culture, I was shocked how these two were even paired? I had to deal with the fact that:
- People write fanfics about real people.
- People ship between the characters.
- People ship between characters of the same sex.
It wouldn't be surprising if they were all fictional or some original characters but these people are real. For some reason I tried to present myself with these witty, challenging questions:
- It's not that these two are gay in real life, right?
- Kris is already married why would anyone ship him with Adam?
- Why would anyone has the nerve to ship them knowing it's not based?
- Are fandom people this delusional?"
It was an uncanny experience and the above "mystery" was later dismantled one by one in its own way.
1. I read a Wikipedia article about Adam, thus knowing his sexuality.
2.+3. I stumbled upon random clips and interviews that screamed the bromance out loud.
4. I learned that shipping culture has no boundaries. (All Supernatural gay jokes now make sense to me)
In hindsight although I don't really ship Kradam or real public figures in general, I won't have problems reading fics (not necessarily shipping) as long they meet my standard, which perhaps are a bit tricky (personal exceptions might apply):
That's the story of how Kris ruined me and made me lose my
- Possess marvelous quality in terms of writing (very subjective).
- Has a riveting plot/not written only for the sake of shipping (you know what I mean).
- Create enough suspension of disbelief that has a noticeable perception differences between fiction and reality. I find this hard to explain myself but I want to think the characters in the fic (mostly) stay in the fic, not blurring my perception to the real world counterparts, without giving them too much out of characteristic traits. (bad at explaining; might edit later)
brain virginityinnocence... forever. I fell for the "forbidden" knowledge. As much as I wished myself to know Kris (and Adam) on their season, I wouldn't be able to picture myself if I knew this whole fanfic thing when I was as young as 11.
The conspiracy theory incited by the Textgate. I stand corrected and agree whether if the vote had been revealed, people would have still deemed it as "unreliable and manipulated" even when FOX claimed that the voting process was monitored by an independent party to ensure the votes were accurate and verified. It's the Textgate issue that sealed the inevitable misfortune. I didn't say it did. Just that it's easier to say, for example, "____ robbed ____" rather than "_____ was robbed by the American voters in favour of _____ in my opinion."
Yes that's absolutely human nature—wanting what they think the best for their favorites. But sometimes their bias is too strong that they'd ruthlessly disregard the other "wrong" party. I'm on the Kris's side of the fence but it'd be wrong if I hate or blame Adam only because some of his fans, who he has no full control of, has been denigrating Kris. Adam doesn't take responsibility for all of his fans' actions provided he doesn't light a fire under them against Kris. And he doesn't. He never did. Take Miss Universe 2015 for example (Miss Colombia vs. Miss Philippines). It's normal for Colombia's supporters to feel she was wronged and humiliated from the crowning mistake. But they crossed the line when they thought Miss Colombia was supposed to be the real winner and rallied against Miss Philippines when in fact the judges had picked the latter to win the crown and the card Steve showed to rectify his mistake clearly (or perhaps not that clear for him) had Miss Colombia as the runner up and Miss Philippines as the Miss Universe. Miss Philippines deserved the crown to begin with and she wasn't responsible for Steve's mistake. However it was wrong for Miss Colombia to always brought up the incident later and believed she was the real winner. Unfortunately, in Season 8, people who are naturally more biased were the voters and if the judges did intervene the results at the finale, it wasn't transparent and impossible to do so without disrespecting the very nature of the voting system, especially when it was crucial in the finale. This was also aggravated when, if I'm not mistaken, the vote gap at the time wasn't undisclosed until later unlike the previous seasons. The circumstances arised suspicions and vulnerable people were more inclined to make imprudent and uncritical responses. Thanks for pointing this out!
How I Met Kris Allen and Let Him Ruined My Life (lol)
Some important points before getting to the main story:
- I don't really follow music.
- The only American Idol season I've watched on TV was the 6th (I was 9–10) and somehow failed to follow the series on later seasons.
- Indonesia stopped airing American Idol after Season 7 whereas its Indonesian counterpart (Indonesian Idol), after Season 5 (April–August 2008), took a break for 1 year and continued its course in 2010.
- I was 11–12 when Season 8 ran.
- I didn't have access to the internet until I was 14.
Now the question: how come I could discover Kris Allen and even became his fan when I already lost contact and interest of the show for so long? tl;dr Wikipedia.
On one unparticular day in 2015, a random unknown force drove my curiosity to read a Wikipedia article about American Idol. I thought, "Oh... I used to be so hyped watching this when I was in the 4th grade. It felt so unreal that I discussed American Idol, a foreign show, with friends." The article was unsurprisingly long and there were even some links for articles per season. I scanned the page and decided to skip some topics to jump right to the controversies. There was a separate article then I opened it.
I read the article and even studied and analyzed controversies that were transpiring. One example was "split voting" when three African-American contestants unexpectedly fell to the bottom 3 despite their stellar performance. My curiosity compelled me to open several new tabs for related articles.
After several scrolls, I stopped when I saw a familiar name: Adam Lambert. "Eh... where did I hear this name before?" (It took me some time to remember it but that's for another story). Again, I opened related articles during his season and indubitably I landed on the winner of that season article itself, Kris. Important: For some reason, I didn't manage to read the article about Adam and Season 8 itself thoroughly at that time.
My first impressions reading the article about Kris:
- Oh God! His hair is so perfect.
- Hey I know that song, Apologize from OneRepublic!
- He sang MJ, nice!
- He seemed to be very nice, laid-back, and down-to-earth given his background expounded here.
- Hold on, he's married?! And he's the only married contestant to win?!!
I decided to take a listen to his songs, to give Kris a bit of chance. It was on December 5, a week before my birthday. The first album I listened to was his Horizons. If I am to be honest with you, it didn't sit well at first. It was... just not what I expected from an American Idol winner—coming from someone who only watched a single season and not a music enthusiast I'm aware it sounds ludicrous. But I love Beautiful and Wild and It's Always You on my first listen.
Later I learned that Horizons was the album after he "parted his ways" from the labels. "Ah, this must be his first album released on his own post-Idol. I should try his previous ones," I thought. So I listened to the songs from Brand New Shoes at first but I jumped too quickly on many songs and didn't give them a proper listen. Then I went to his debut album, KATA.
What captured my heart for the first time was The Truth. I don't know how but I just kept replaying the song over and over. The next in line that enchanted me was Red Guitar. I learned that it was the song Kris solely wrote for the album so I thought it was very cool for it to be featured despite its repetitive notes. Learning the meaning behind the actual "red guitar" drove me more to love the song. Other ones were Is It Over for its blues vibe (?) and Let It Rain for his amazing falsetto note near the end of the song. In time I grew to love the whole album.
Fun fact: The Truth might stole my heart at first but not with the music video. Meanwhile, Live Like We're Dying music video was superior but the music, well it's catchy though, just isn't for me. I hate flying and don't want to die.
This went the same way with BNS. But, the one song that made my heart opened and awakened was Running. I remember reading somewhere that Kris's voice was like a warm fire or something (when the writer made a comparison to Adam's) and this... this song was just the perfect warm source of light I've always sought.
Eventually I came across Thank You Camellia, even used My Weakness reff as my ringtone.
Out Alive had this somewhat sad but optimistic feeling; it attracted me. Teach Me How Love Goes stood out among the rest of the songs as well as Monster. Better With You should have its own music video where Kris strolls around the town, through the subway and the rain. I can't believe they only made one music video on TYC!
So anyway those three albums occupied my most-played playlist for a long time. Horizons was my least favorite because it was just that different but by no means it's not an awesome album! I became fond of it in time! In time.
As time went on I discover more and more articles and videos about him. His idol experience, his life before and after Idol (the car wreck news devastated me knowing fully his career always revolves around his guitar/his hand), interviews, etc. while at the same time trying not to get too attached and careless enough out of admiration to display my freak side to him lol. I was so invested in Kris that I actually evangelized about him to virtually all of my friends at one point.
One thing I know for sure though, is that ever since then, my life has never been the same.
I'm always a bit indignant when those people directly put all the blame to Kris when he won over Adam—don't worry, it's not you and what I quote isn't even remotely close to what I actually refer. However I understand that given the circumstances at that time, in the heat of 2009, it's easier for people to blame Kris. Did Kris directly tamper the votes and rigged the voting system to favor himself over Adam? Was Kris calculating that he was kind and helped other contestants during their practice only for one of the judges to point that out during the show and would favor him? Was Kris a calculating person that he manipulated Adam into coming out, when back then LGBT wasn't as widely accepted as now, and would affect the public opinion? Did Kris force important figures to convince others to "vote for the believers"? Even if, IF, IF the Textgate was true, if the society was more inclined to "the believer" regardless the finalists' singing skills, or even if AI producers let Kris won regardless the voting results, it's not his fault. Instead of Kris, people should deliver their hatred to AT&T, AI producers, the voting system, or maybe the society in the past itself without disparaging Kris. Naturally this would be a different story if Kris indeed had some kind of involvement in cheating the system but where's the proof? And just because people think Adam should've won, and just because we see now Adam garnered far more fame and wealth than Kris, Kris isn't a complete talentless typical WGWG victor. Idol has thrown Kris under the bus so many times. I was very weirded out when AI didn't include Kris in the Instagram filter thing and put Adam instead. I was even more appalled when AI retweeted something about "I cried when Adam Lambert lost". They knew Season 8 was very polarized and stirred up if not the most controversial polemic but they did it anyway. Both Kris' victory on Idol and Adam's ongoing success will never be taintless if people can't just move on. In the end, it's a hard life for all of us to endure. Now for my unpopular opinion: I dislike Kris' No Boundaries and Live Like We're Dying.