I’d like to say that Adam losing the title of American Idol shocked me – but it doesn’t. After all, this is America: the land of the free and home of the brave. If you are middle of the road “normal” you’ll be embraced. In America, mediocrity is king.
Kris Allen, often referred to as “that other guy” by every legitimate artist in the business will have a fine career. He’s not without talent: the guy can sing in his own, laid back style. He’s not a star, he’s not a super talent, he’s safe.
A lot of people were surprised at my enthusiastic support for Lambert. There’s no denying the guy can out sing anybody – but he’s so much more than that. For everyone that thinks Adam is a phony or cocky, I disagree, but that is neither here nor there. I don’t know Adam and neither do you – so really such arguments have no merit. Since American Idol has evolved to the largest popularity contest in the world, we need to look at both Allen and Lambert as the entire package: excellent vocal chords aside.
So much has been written about Lambert over the past three months. In short, Adam became a media darling, thanks in large part to his immense talent, but also for his good looks and interesting back story. See, Allen is a cheerful newlywed from nowheresville USA. Lambert is an over-the-top androgynous creature from Los Angeles. What a lot of casual fans don’t know about Lambert is that he’s been trying to make it in music for years – and that includes singing in off-Broadway productions, in cabarets, at Bar Mitzvahs and in a band on the Sunset Strip. Yep, Adam is the lead singer for a band called The Citizen Vein and he’s played in some of the same clubs as our beloved Glam heroes.
Moreover, Adam didn’t need to be styled for the stage. What you see is what you get: a man who likes to experiment with stage persona, to match song to performance. Sounds like a star to me. That voice certainly doesn’t hurt anything.
A lot of people will immediately point to Adam’s sexuality as to why he lost the prize. I don’t discuss a person’s sexual orientation on this site, but I will say this: I’ve never understood why straight people would want to keep others from the same rights and happiness? Why is it better for a straight person to get married and divorced six or seven times, but Glam forbid someone else from choosing one life partner and being happy. I guess unhappiness is next to godliness in some people’s eyes.
But maybe that’s the point. Maybe America really is just a backward nation, where the ones with the loudest voices and biggest platforms – and Bill O’Reilly, I’m looking at you here – always prevail. I think America made a giant step forward electing Obama to the presidency – but please believe he benefited a lot from the anti-Bush vote. You know, the “anyone but another Republican” mentality – and that isn’t great either. Republicans are not the enemy, any more than Democrats are a bunch of freewheeling baby killers. It’s all perspective. I have no doubt in my mind Kris won because of the Christian “anyone but a gay Jew” vote. I also wholeheartedly believe Kris has millions of fans who genuinely prefer his voice. Is he a better singer than Adam? No, not by a long shot. Then again, American Idol has never been about the voice: it’s always been about the most popular kid in school.
The real contest begins in a few months when Adam and Kris hit the studio to record their debut albums. There’s no doubt both will be on the opposite end of the rock spectrum, with Kris sounding exactly like Jason Mraz and Adam sounding like...well, no one knows what Adam will do. That’s the endgame right there: far too many people would rather go with what they know instead of the unknown.
Being different is always, undeniably, METAL. Good luck Adam!
Kiss with Adam Lambert - American Idol Season Finale