Kris Allen & Adam Lambert React to Idol Shocker

Kris Allen & Adam Lambert React to Idol Shocker
F Micelotta/American Idol 2009/Getty

05/21/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT

It wasn't long ago that Kris Allen was living a quiet life with his wife in Conway, Ark., planning on going back to college. But that was then.

After upsetting Adam Lambert in the most surprising turn of events in Idol finale history, winner Allen is pinching himself.

"I'm shocked," the 23-year-old told PEOPLE after the show. "I feel great, but I'm just shocked."

His brother Daniel, who Kris credits with making him audition for the show, put it a different way. After Kris's name was announced, the stunned look on his face "was the same look he had when he got his first car!" he said.

With Daniel, his wife, and other family members proudly looking on, the season 8 champ thanked his home state for "rallying behind me," he said.

He also thanked his competition: "Adam deserved this just as much as I do. He’s an amazing performer, a gifted guy -- an amazing guy."

Ever a good sport, Adam, who'd been heavily favored to win throughout the season, offered kind words for the victor. "Kris is my bud," he told PEOPLE. "He's such a good guy, so humble, and he's super talented. I'm really happy for him."

As for his own unique style -- which often involved heavy-eyeliner, "lots of hair dye, a blow-dryer and a flat-iron" -- Adam said, "I'm a little bit different, and enjoyed it, and that feels amazing. It feels really cool to be able to challenge 's concepts of what is an American Idol."

Also cool: "Getting to sing with Queen and Kiss on stage tonight," he said, "That, to me, was winning." -- Kristen Mascia and Lisa Ingrassia

Did the right man win? Take our poll.

F Micelotta/American Idol 2009/Getty

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