Kris Allen’s Baby’s Name: Oliver Neil Allen is Music to My Ears

When I read the name American Idol (season 8) winner Kris Allen and his wife Katy chose for their baby boy, Oliver Neil Allen, I wanted to say it out loud. My initial reaction was: “Smoooooth!”

Now you try it. Say “Oliver Neil Allen” and focus on the subtle rhythm. Did you notice that Oliver has three syllables, Neil has one and Allen has two? So capitalizing the accented syllables, it sounds like this: O-li-ver-neil AL-len. The rhythm is sly and subtle.

Now say it again and focus on the other reason the name sounds so smooth: the alliteration. Did you notice that all three names have “l” sounds? Both Neil and Allen have “n” sounds, too. Say “Neil Allen.” Notice that Neil starts with “n” and ends with “l.” Allen goes the other way: first the “l”s, then the “n.”

Now think about what your tongue is doing when you say “Neil Allen.” To make the “n” sound in “Neil,” your tongue travels to the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth. When you say “lallen” your tongue moves forward for a moment before it goes back to the roof of your mouth behind your teeth to make the final “n” sound in “Allen.”

So, when you say “Oliver Neil Allen,” it’s not just the rhythm, it’s not just the alliteration, it’s also fun to say the name–which is why the name is music to the ears and a pleasure to pronounce. (I hope you’re also enjoying all the “p”s and “t”s I’m writing–so if you want to try reciting my comments out loud too, be my guest.)

Before we get to the end of this ode to Kris Allen’s baby-naming prowess, consider his unique skill-set which includes picking songs that are a pleasure to listen to and singing them in a way pleases your ears. It may not seem fair, but singers, songwriters and poets have an advantage over the rest of us when it comes choosing names that sound great.

But wait, there are practical reasons I like the name, too. Oliver is a fairly versatile name. It works well for formal occasions. And the nickname, Ollie, works well for children and for informal adult use. If Kris and Katy’s child ever gets tired of Oliver and Ollie, the middle name, Neil, provides another solid option. (Two out of the four boys in my family ditched their given names and switched to their middle names. You never know when a good option may be needed.)

So far, so good. But if my comments about the name seem uncharacteristically positive, you may be wondering what niggling little criticism I’m going to dig up to spoil Kris and Katy’s announcement and deny Oliver Neil Allen a two thumbs-up rating.

I would if I could but I can’t.   It’s a winner all the way. Both thumbs up. (In other words, Brucey likes it.)

8 thoughts on “Kris Allen’s Baby’s Name: Oliver Neil Allen is Music to My Ears

    • Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate that. It’s nice when you can honor a family member with a name for your son or daughter. But looking at the way Oliver Neil Allen sounds together, I imagined Kris plucked the combination out of all possible combinations and thought: yeah, this works well.

      • I guess I got carried away by how well the name sounded when spoken. Now I see that Oliver and Kristopher are both three-syllable names. So Kris had the same cool rhythm going with his name that he passed on to his son. And, Kris knew how much fun it was to pronounce his middle and last names together. Although substituting Oliver for Kristopher was not the onomastic equivalent of sending a man to the moon, when you read the name and say the name–you know it’s a winner.

  1. I love this article about my favorite singer/songwriter/musician Kris Allen and the name of Kris and Katy’s new son. So interesting and I love the way it sounds together too. The initials of first and last name are OA which is the initials of the name of Kris’ tour that he just finished. He named the tour Out Alive from one of his songs from his CD Thank You Camellia before the head on collission on New Year’s Day where Kris, Katy, his dog Zorro and “baby to be” made it out alive. This is probably not the reason, but this is what struck me the first time I heard the name.

    • Linda, Thanks for letting me know you also like the way Oliver’s name sounds and for sharing information about Kris’ OA tour and his unfortunate New Year’s Day accident.

  2. Pingback: » Is Summer Rain Rutler the Best Celebrity Baby Name of 2014? Baby Name Suggestion

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