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Kris stated that "If I had not made it through in American Idol, I would have gone back to college and gotten my business degree." Allen realized during college that he wanted to play music professionally and began trying to write music.He played his first gig at a local bar in downtown Conway during his sophomore year, and he went on to drop out of college in the middle of his junior year to follow his dream of becoming a professional musician.

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Glen Hansard: Outspan Foster (guitar) Recently claiming he was "burned" by The Commitments experience, after his role as Outspan Foster, Hansard returned to play with his band, The Frames, and went on to enjoy chart success with albums, For The Birds and Burn The Maps.

As a side project, he formed the folk group The Swell Season with Czech singer and future girlfriend Marketa Irglova.

The pair starred in and wrote the score for John Kearney's romantic fable, Once, going on to win an Oscar for Best Song - and giving a heartfelt acceptance speech that made global headlines.

Hansard has since recorded two solo albums - one of which, Didn't He Ramble, was nominated for a Grammy Award this year - and had a guest role on NBC series, Parenthood.

After high school, Allen moved to Conway, Arkansas, to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where he was a business major and a member of Chi Alpha campus ministries.

but instead was persuaded to audition for American Idol along with his brother Daniel and his friend Cale Mills.

Up next is the German-Irish film co-written by Colm Toibin, Return to Montauk, scheduled for release next year.

Robert Arkins: Jimmy ­Rabbitte (manager) As the main pin-up, it was widely believed that Arkins would become the film's breakout star.

Allen's Idol coronation song, "No Boundaries" and his version of "Heartless" both charted within the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, he taught himself to play the guitar at age 13, and also plays the piano.

Allen's post-Idol self-titled album was released on November 17, 2009, by Jive Records. His musical influences, as stated in his Idol confessionals, include the Beatles, Jamie Cullum, Jason Mraz, Pat Monahan, John Mayer and Michael Jackson.

His career was kick-started with a Grammy Award nomination in 1991, the same year he appeared in the film at the age of 16.