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Adam and Kris have 'American Idol' Showdown was interviewed for a story on American Idol Odds. WILL THE NEXT "American Idol" be bold, brassy and wicked? Or the angelic dark horse? That's the tantalizing choice this week as America's favorite show heads into its eighth-season finale, pitting L.A. stage performer Adam Lambert against the soulful, devout Christian, Kris Allen.

"Glambert," 27, has been the runaway favorite of the "Idol" judges. He's also the only one to get a standing ovation from Simon Cowell after his rendition of Tears For Fears' "Mad World."

But Allen, 23, has been quietly sneaking up the leader board. He has been impressive playing guitar and keyboards, most notably during his original acoustic rendition of Donna Summer's "She Works Hard For The Money."

"There are some unbelievable singers every year, like [David] Archuleta and Lambert, who start at the top and stay there," says "Idol" associate musical director, Michael Orland. "Then there are the ones that come out of nowhere, like Kris Allen.

That week he did 'Ain't No Sunshine?' What was that? This kid is a big contender."

Well, Allen shocked the judges -- Simon Cowell raised his stern eyebrows -- when the dark horse was the first singer named as a finalist. Cowell had written him off many times, but Allen proved there was an audience for his simple and quietly confident style.

So who will take the crown? Two online betting services, and, agree that Lambert remains the frontrunner, but the odds have now tightened.

Before last Wednesday night's episode, Lambert's odds were 1-to-3 (meaning that you'd have to bet three dollars to make one dollar). Danny Gokey's odds were 3-to-1. And Allen's odds were 5-to-1.

But now Gokey, an audience favorite who had never been in the bottom three, is out.

In the Lambert/Allen finale, "Adam's odds go down to 1-to-2.50 and Kris' odds improve to about 2-to-1," says Richard Gardner, the sports book manager for

"It's going to be a really tight race," says Chris Costigan, president of Gambling, who adds that Danny's fans are most likely to vote for Kris now.

"There's no guarantee that Adam's going to win." Gokey's shocking elimination, coming after the judges' heaped praised on him, caps off a season of controversy surrounding "American Idol." In November, an obsessed Paula Abdul fan who once auditioned for the show committed suicide and was found dead in a car parked outside the judge's Los Angeles home.

Then there was the addition of a fourth judge, Kara DioGuardi, who had a rough entry onto the judges' panel and still has no guarantee of coming back next season.

"In the beginning, it was definitely a little uncomfortable for everybody," says DioGuardi. "There were a few cities where I felt like: How is this gonna work?"

Often, it didn't work.

Having four judges meant sending the show into overtime and infuriating fans whose DVRs cut off before the night was over.

The most aggravating example was the week of "Songs From The Year You Were Born," when Lambert's rendition of "Mad World" was performed during an 8-minute overtime. He still got enough votes to stay in the game. But there would have been an uproar if Scott MacIntyre, the blind singer voted off that week, had been the last one to perform.

As the "Idol" singers have dwindled this season, it's instructive to note how many of their predecessors have had hits without winning the competition.

According to Billboard author Fred Bronson, the Idols have 225 number-one records to date, counting every domestic chart. "Lakisha Jones [from season six] just charted and she's the 40th 'Idol' finalist to chart," he says. Just as impressive is that no season has had less than four people on the charts.

"These guys this season?" says Bronson. "They're gonna be on the charts."

Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m., Fox

By Deborrah Starr Seibel at New York Post


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