Singer-songwriter Kris Allen is a self-confessed big fan of Beatle Paul McCartney.

Photo: Jeff Cape

American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen would rather do away with coming up with a set list every performance. That's not entirely possible, though.

"I'm not a set list fan. But we have to have them," Kris revealed to his Filipino fans during a press conference held last February 3 at Eastwood Mall Open Park in Libis, Quezon City.

Kris is currently here in Manila to perform at the Music Fest 2010 to be held this Saturday, February 6, at McKinley Hill Open Grounds in Taguig City. Joining Kris are the international dance group sensation Jabbawockeez and the YouTube acoustic-rock phenomenon Boyce Avenue.

Though naturally shy, the American singer-songwriter from Arkansas has always been determined to penetrate the music business. Unlike most of the American Idol participants, Kris already released a solo album in 2007 even before he joined the popular talent search program.

The album titled Brand New Shoes—a pun on his former day job as a shoe salesman—was a self-produced effort containing Kris's own written songs. It was a modest project distributed to his closest friends and family members.

Kris instinctively knew that for him to really make it, he would have to do something more ambitious to be noticed. That opportunity came last year when Kris auditioned, joined and eventually won American Idol's top plum to join the ranks of past winners like Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Cook.

Kris painted to his Filipino fans how tough it was for him during the time he was competing with runner-up Adam Lambert and other aspirants in front of an international audience.

"Live on television is the worst thing in the world... The thing is there's so many people, cameras, it's so weird," Kris mentioned.

Life has never been the same for the 24-year-old singer since winning the competition. Immediately after the triumph, Kris's self-titled record was released and debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at No. 11. The album's lead single "Live Like We're Dying" reportedly peaked at No. 23 in America.

Having experienced American Idol, Kris offered a piece of advice to those aspiring to join the popular program in the future.

"Just try to be yourself," Kris said. "I guess you can see that on most of the Idols who became very successful."