Fans turn out for ‘American Idol’ star

by Rick Scavetta
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

“American Idol” winner Kris Allen energized hundreds of fans Oct. 1 at Vogelweh’s Kazabra Club, the third stop on a week-long tour of U.S. military bases in Europe.
The tour, sponsored by the United Service Organizations, began in Brunssum, the Netherlands. Other stops in Germany included Army garrisons in Schweinfurt and Bamberg. Visiting the Kaiserslautern area gave Mr. Allen a chance to connect with a chapter of his wife Katy’s childhood, he said.

“My wife lived in Ramstein. When she was a kid, her dad was in the Air Force,” he said.

During season eight of “American Idol,” Mr. Allen, 25, of Conway, Ark., edged out Adam Lambert to win the widely-watched television singing contest. When the USO recently asked him and his band to take on an overseas tour to play for servicemembers and their families in Europe, he said it was a “no-brainer.”

“We were like, absolutely, we’ll do it,” Mr. Allen said. “It’s just an honor for us to come over here and hopefully offer some entertainment. These guys give a lot for our country and this is the least we can do.”

During the show, Mr. Allen played his own hits and covered tunes such as “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” He expressed sentiments to military members and their families, thanking them for their service.
“You’re away from family and I know that’s really hard. So, I’d like to thank you so much for what you do,” Mr. Allen said. “Just keep working hard. It means a lot to people in America.”

Some fans, like Courtney Amundsen, 25, of Florida, got to meet Mr. Allen backstage for autographs, thanks to a contest run by the American Forces Network. She drove from her husband’s Army base in Baumholder to meet Mr. Allen.

In all, five winners were chosen, each who could bring along a friend. Mr. Allen signed photos and T-shirts backstage, chatting with the fans before the show.
Mrs. Amundsen’s husband was going through Army basic training in May 2009 when Mr. Allen won “American Idol,” she said. She remembers voting for him and watching him win. She and her friend Brittney Dickerson, whose husband is also a Soldier in Baumholder, are new to the military life overseas. They were glad to learn that top entertainers are often invited to perform on bases.

“We are homesick,” Mrs. Amundsen said. “To bring someone who sings music we know to places we can easily access means a lot.”

U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation supports a variety of touring entertainers. On Oct. 15, FMWR hosts comedian Maria Costa and her Cuban conga band at Kaiserslautern’s Kleber Kaserne. On Oct. 22, JC and the All-Stars perform at the Kazabra Club.

For more information, visit