Right on both counts. For 24 frenzied hours, the young woman and tens of thousands like her got as much Kris Allen as they could maneuver themselves to see, hear and touch. Fresh from the latest round of Internet balloting that left him as one of three American Idol contestants still standing, Allen had come home to Arkansas. “It’s great to be back,” grinned the diminutive singer and guitarist.
Allen had little time to savor the comforts of home. From the moment a chartered Gulfstream jet returned him to Little Rock on Thursday night, Allen’s breakneck schedule — seen to by a phalanx of security men, minders and Fox television crew members — afforded him not much more than a few hours of solitude with family and friends.
The jet’s engines barely had stopped screaming than a motorcade delivered Allen to hundreds of shouting fans awaiting him at the Fox affiliate at Little Rock, which made a Kris-fest of its evening newscast: a lengthy live studio interview, the presentation by municipal officials of keys to the cities of Little Rock and Jacksonville (a nearby suburb where Allen spent part of his boyhood), and, naturally, a quick performance. Allen and his guitar delivered the Beatles’ storied “Come Together.”
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a lot of fun, too,” Allen told PEOPLE, smiling as he autographed his way to his limousine though the station’s fan-crammed corridor. Surveying the throng, he added: “It’s definitely more than I expected.”
Allen’s expectations of the following day were, by that standard, likely undersized. The audiences were not: More than 3,000 fans filled a Little Rock riverfront amphitheater to overflowing for a free, if brief, concert with Allen relying on personal favorites: “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Falling Softly” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”(read more)