By Michael Slezak
June 16, 2009 at 11:06 PM EDT

It’s no secret that I’m an American Idol conspiracy theorist. Each season, I manage to find treachery in suspicious camera angles, to hear thinly veiled put-downs in Simon’s “positive” critiques, to suspect sabotage in production choices (remember that Happy Feet soundtrack cut for Syesha Mercado?). So maybe it’s that same general sense of Idolnoia that’s had me fretting about last week’s press releases from 19 Entertainment announcing record deals for season 8 champ Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert. And yet, how come I feel like I’m hearing from an eight-year-old boy reacting to the choice of boiled Brussels sprouts or chocolate ice cream whenever I re-read the respective statements that Simon Fuller, Creator and Executive Producer of American Idol and Founder & CEO of 19 Entertainment, made about Kris and Adam? Check ’em out for yourself and tell me if I’m onto something:

“Kris won the hearts of millions of Americans with his soulful voice, good looks and gracious demeanor. However it is his passion for music and love of performing that will make sure Kris stands the test of time and makes American Idol proud.”


“To find a talent as exceptional as Adam Lambert is a rare and special event. I am thrilled that American Idol was the platform for the world to discover this brilliant young man. He is unique and unforgettable and a certain star of tomorrow.”

Let me get this straight: Adam gets slathered with “exceptional,” “rare and special,” “event,” “thrilled,” “brilliant,” ” unique and unforgettable,” and “certain star of tomorrow.” Kris, by comparison, receives “soulful voice,” “good looks,” “gracious demeanor,” “passion for music,” “love of performing,” and “stands the test of time and makes American Idol proud.” Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Adam hasn’t earned every superlative his new label wants to throw at him, but why am I having visions of Fuller trying to banish Kris to indie-land after a hastily released, poorly promoted debut? Oh, and anyone who thinks 19 is above burying its own artists should simply take a look at the way the company promoted records from Blake Lewis, Diana DeGarmo, Justin Guarini, and even season 5 winner Taylor Hicks. Which is to say, not at all. (We now interrupt this blog item so I can say for the umpteenth time that Blake’s Audio Day Dream was a damn fine record.)

Is anyone else worried about what’s in store for Kris Allen, or am I trying to squeeze something from a lemon called nothing?And why can’t the company find room in its heart (and its promotional arsenal) for both Adam and Kris, especially when there are plenty of Idol fans (myself included) who’ll be more than happy to shell outcash for both of their debuts (as well as Allison Iraheta’s)?

addCredit(“Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)

More on ‘American Idol’
Kris Allen on loving Jacko, learning the viola, and being a heartthrob
Exclusive: ‘American Idol’ alum Allison Iraheta officially signed to 19/Jive
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Kris Allen ‘flattered’ by Lambert’s crush
‘American Idol’: Who would you sign next? Pick two finalists and one semifinalist!
‘American Idol’ recap: Don’t be afraid of the dark horse
‘American Idol’: First audition dates set
Kris Allen officially signed to 19/Jive
Adam Lambert officially signed to 19, RCA