Kris Allen wins American Idol Season 8

Underdog Kris Allen defied a season's worth of hype surrounding his rival, Adam Lambert, to win the eighth-season title on "American Idol."

Just under 100 million votes were cast, host Ryan Seacrest said on Wednesday's finale.

Allen, 23, received virtually no air time during the competition's early stages, but earned fans with his laid-back style and unique acoustic take on songs like Kanye West's "Heartless." He hails from Conway, Ark.

Second-place finisher Adam Lambert, 27, of Southern California was a favorite among "Idol" judges this season. Judge Simon Cowell publicly predicted he'd win, thanks to his signature rock wail and standout vocal range. Earlier this season, guest performer Katy Perry even sported a cape embroidered with Lambert's name.

What swayed voters? Allen's vocals seemed better suited for the show's saccharine coronation song, and many fans were critical of Lambert's quasi-professional past, which includes roles in musicals like "Wicked." Not to mention the fact that many fans were just plain tired of the hype surrounding Lambert.

Did the right person win? Share your thoughts on our "American Idol" blog.

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