After shocking almost everyone — including himself — by winning the season 8 of American Idol last week, Kris Allen told reporters, “I’m not a man of many words.” We noticed! PEOPLE caught up with Idol‘s dark horse from Conway, Ark., Saturday, and finally got him talking. Here’s what we learned:
1. He Drives a Clunker: Before leaving Arkansas for Los Angeles, Allen, 23, drove a silver 2001 Pontiac Bonneville. “It’s the most comfortable car to drive,” he says, “but it has a lot of problems. The speedometer doesn’t work; the gas gauge doesn’t work; the windows won’t roll down; there’s something wrong with the gas pedal. But it drives!” Allen admits he couldn’t afford the $300 to fix the fuel gauge — and got stranded as a result. “I’ve ran out of gas a lot,” he says. “Probably four of five times.” Hopefully, those days are over. On the finale, viewers saw season 7 winner David Cook hand Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert the keys to a 2009 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
2. He Married His Best Friend: “She’s been my best friend for a long time,” Allen says of his wife, Katy, who he began dating his junior year of high school. “She’s the coolest chick in the world.”
3. He Said ‘I Do’ In Front of 400 Guests: Allen married his high school sweetheart, Katy O’Connell, on Sept. 26th 2008. “We have a lot of family and friends, and we didn’t want to leave anybody out,” Allen says of his wedding, which took place at sunset on the Arkansas River. “We set out 300 chairs and were standing up!” At the reception, which was catered by Katy’s grandmother, Allen sang the same song that he auditioned with: “A Song For You.” “We just had a blast,” he says of the day.
4. He’s Got a Sweet Tooth — And Loves Lazy Days: Guilty pleasures? He has a few. “I love Twizzlers,” Allen says, adding, “I love any kind of candy. My favorite TV show ever is Boy Meets World, and my favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For me, my guilty pleasure is that if I don’t want to do anything one day, I won’t. I’ll just sit around, not shower, hardly even eat, and just watch TV.”
5. He Really is Friends with Adam Lambert: “Right before we went to bed at the Idol mansion, we’d sit around and talk about the competition, talk about our pasts. We really got to know each other,” he says. “He’s very real. He says exactly how he feels.” Allen explains the two didn’t feel like they were competing against each other. “We both had a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we said, we can’t compare.” — Lisa IngrassiaChris Cuffaro/Fox