Look, I wasn’t a huge fan of Adam Lambert’s now infamous American Music Awards set — the groping and kissing and simulated fellatio seemed more cynical than sexy to me, and Adam admitted himself (in the video embedded below) that his vocal was “kind of a mess” — but from the subsequent fallout at ABC, you’d think the guy had crushed a trio of baby penguins under the heel of one of his fabulous platform boots. I mean, it seemed a wee overzealous when the network pulled the plug on Adam’s Good Morning America concert a few days after the AMAs, but yesterday’s news that the network has now canceled Lambert’s Dec. 17 Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance, and according to Lambert, a slot on Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve, has advanced the situation to the point of the ridiculous. (“We decided not to move forward with the booking at this time,” a network spokesperson said of the Kimmel cancellation, while declining comment on NYRE, which, incidentally, has yet to announce its lineup.) Let’s keep in mind that ABC is the home of allegedly family-friendly Dancing With the Stars, where popular pro Derek Hough celebrated a win this past season in the “Group Mambo” round by forcibly thrusting partner Joanna Krupa‘s head into his nether-regions. (Lambert fans are also dismayed that their man has become a possible FCC pariah despite the fact that Pink and a male dancer executed a similar “please come closer and examine my zipper” dance move — with tongue! — during the 2004 Billboard Music Awards on Fox.) Lambert, for his part, is remaining philosophical and chipper — “Yes, sadly friends, ABC has canceled my appearances on Kimmel and NYE. : ( don’t blame them. It’s the FCC heat,” he Tweeted yesterday — but I can’t help but wonder if ABC hasn’t devised an entire 2010 public-relations campaign based around snubbing the American Idol season 8 runner-up. If they intend to go this route, here are a few sample press-release headlines they can use to get started: * Adam Lambert to join ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve telecast live from Times Square — in stocks! Local school children will “teach that gay a lesson” using eggs, jeers. * ABC scraps special SuperNanny episode featuring Adam Lambert. “There’s not a naughty step in the world big enough for that petulant young man!” gasps exasperated Jo Frost. * Dancing With the Stars bans Adam Lambert tunes from show. “I wasn’t sure about some of those high notes anyway,” says a relieved Princess Sparkle. * Ugly Betty revokes guest-starring role for Adam Lambert. “See? Some things are actually too gay for this show,” huffs spokesperson. * Adam Lambert to play key role in ABC’s FlashForward. Main characters will see a future where his career ceases to exist! What do you think of LambertGate ’09? Is ABC justified in spanking the polarizing singing star, or is the network seriously overreacting? Has the situation changed your feelings toward Lambert and/or ABC? popwatch.ew.com/2009/12/03/adam-lambert-jimmy-kimmel-abc-hmph/
The American Idol season 8 runner-up is more likely to make a shopping date with Elisabeth Hasselbeck than grovel for forgiveness for his charged Nov. 22 American Music Awards performance, which included a kiss with a male keyboardist; it resulted in a reported 1,500 viewer complaints to ABC and prompted the network's Good Morning America to cancel his scheduled appearance. Here, Lambert — whose album For Your Entertainment is on sale now — reveals the events that have managed to floor him through the years.
1. Madonna smooches Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Her Madgesty has been responsible for ''countless tales of shock,'' says Lambert, who is upset that CBS' Early Show replayed the Madonna-Britney kiss, but blurred his same-sex AMA lip-lock, during his Nov. 25 appearance on the show. ''It's a double standard,'' he says. ''What they're doing is reinforcing the idea that homosexuality is indecent. And that's dangerous.'' (In a statement, CBS defended its decision, saying the Madonna image ''has appeared countless times,'' while the Lambert footage ''has not been nearly as widely disseminated.'')
2. Marilyn Manson mixes religion and rock. ''Clearly, [Manson] meant to make you feel uncomfortable, to try to create tension'' by including Christian iconography and pentagrams in his music videos and concerts, says Lambert, who argues that people shouldn't take art too seriously. ''I like keeping people on the edge of their seat, keeping people guessing. That makes for a good entertainer.''
3. Kanye West crashes Taylor Swift's 2009 VMA acceptance speech. ''We were all like, 'What?!''' says Lambert.
4. Cher rocks a thong in her 1989 ''If I Could Turn Back Time'' video...
5. ...and Prince dons buttless pants at the 1991 VMAs. ''Shocking!'' says Lambert. Just don't expect him to follow suit. ''I don't know if I'm gonna do that,'' he chuckles. ''My ass ain't that cute.'' www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20324114,00.html
The 11 of you who don’t follow Adam Lambert on Twitter may not be aware of his no-longer-secret desire to snag guest-starring roles on True Blood, Weeds, and/or Gossip Girl. To recap, the American Idol season 8 runner-up responded to rumors about a possible role on Glee by announcing: “Glee guest star rumor: it’s a rumor. Sorry guys.” Then, in three subsequent status updates, Adam went on to daydream a little about his small-screen acting aspirations: “If I had to pick a show to guest star on I’d loooooooove to be on True Blood. Or Weeds. Those shows are amazing. Prob need some major acting classes though first. The casts of both those shows are first rate. Oh yeah. I’d love to be on Gossip Girl too! Leighton is amazing. I should be Blair’s shopping buddy. Hahah.” Now, because Adam managed to blend together my two favorite subjects in the world — horse racing and what’s for lunch American Idol and scripted television — I couldn’t help but do a little daydreaming of my own, and I thought it might be fun for all you Idoloonies, too. So here’s the challenge: Put on your Hollywood executive hat, then name the ideal show — and be sure to suggest a specific role! — for Idol‘s glittery powerhouse. I’ll start: I’d cast Adam as a Trevor de l’Abdul, contestant on a Project Runway-esque show for aspiring fashion designers — where Vanessa L. Williams’ formidable editrix Wilhelmina Slater just so happens to be a judge/mentor. Things get complicated when Trevor hooks up with Willie’s gay-in-waiting Marc (Michael Urie) during a Mode-sponsored cocktail party for the contestants. The morning after, Marc can’t figure out if Trevor is just using him to court favor with Willie, while Willie herself gets fearful that if the Marc-Trevor dalliance goes public (thanks to that relentless dish-hound Suzuki St. Pierre!), she could get painted as a less-than-impartial judge. And it’s up to Betty to investigate whether the dashing young designer truly has the hots for her frenemy, or if he’s simply using every angle possible to take home first prize. That’s my dream role for Adam, folks! Now it’s time to head down to the comments and suggest one of your own. (But before you do, my mom would like to humbly request that you follow me on Twitter @ewmichaelslezak!) Image Credit: David Giesbrecht/ABC popwatch.ew.com/2010/01/08/adam-lambert-ugly-betty-true-blood/
It’s probably folly to try to peek into the mind of an artist by watching one of his music videos, and yet the lovely new clip for Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” plays out in such a personal-yet-enigmatic way, it’s hard not to imagine that the American Idol season 8 runner-up is feeling a little overwhelmed by all the change that’s come to his life in the last 12 months. Think about it: A little less than a year ago — Jan. 20, 2009, to be exact — Lambert caught our attention singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” during Idol‘s San Francisco audition telecast. (If you’re a nostalgic sort, check out the recap of that episode here.) Since then, the guy has been a magnet for adulation, hateration, and controversy. His sexual orientation got discussed pretty much everywhere — even on The O’Reilly Factor! — before he came out as gay on the cover of Rolling Stone last summer. He got struck by flying sex toys on the subsequent Idols Live Tour. This fall, he was dissed by Out magazine for not being a hard-charging poster boy for the gay rights movement — at the exact same time he appeared on that magazine’s cover. And his sexually charged performance at the American Music Awards in November practically caused ABC to remove the first letter from its own corporate logo, paint it crimson red, and slap it on Adam’s chest. Lately, he’s had to ask his most rabid fans to dial back on organized request-line campaigns that have threatened to harm his relationship with radio. And so it’s impossible, really, to look at “Whataya Want From Me” and not reference all those water-coolery moments in Adam’s public life. Conceptually, the video finds Adam interacting with the camera as if it was a second character and engaged in a strained pas de deux: There’s Adam turning his back, tuning out, fiddling with the remote; there’s Adam, standing by a bookshelf (that, woohoo, is fully stocked with books!) and offering a surly sideways glance; there’s Adam putting on a happy public face for the paparazzi, then betraying a completely different emotion as he slides into a limo; there’s Adam in the kitchen, angry now, bordering on menacing as he yells and charges at the camera; there’s Adam alone, pensive and repentant and reading some kind of note after the unseen character packs its bags and walks out; and finally, there’s Adam, welcoming his reconciled partner back into bed with just the slightest hint of a smile. Does Adam’s invisible partner in the video represent a lover, the media, his fans, his record label, or perhaps all of the above? Just like the song’s lyrics, the video is open to interpretation, but the sparseness of that dreamy apartment (Santa, I would like those kitchen cabinets!), the misty chill of the backyard scenes, the undiscarded remnants of a hastily eaten Chinese meal…they all contribute to a mood of slightly somber confusion, the idea that, yeah, even a pop star occasionally “needs a second to breathe,” to learn to navigate the public and personal relationships that get inevitably altered by the sudden arrival of fame and fortune, of all the good and bad that come with ‘em. Maybe I’m getting a little too heavy (handed?) in blogging about a music video on a sleepy January morning, but isn’t that what the best music videos do: Make us think a little more deeply about the lyrics of a song, allow us a little space to take away our own interpretations, let us see the artist in a variety of jaunty outfits/hairstyles? On those counts, “Whataya Want From Me” clip is a smashing success. Here’s hoping we can say the same for the song as it fights for its chance at radio and on the Billboard charts. music-mix.ew.com/2010/01/15/adam-lambert-whataya-want-video/
Date: Friday, February 12, 2010 Time: Doors Open at 7:00PM EST Location: Highline Ballroom 431 West 16th Street New York, NY 10011
Kradison - 'Crazy' EW
Kradison Covers Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" Ryan Seacrest
To folks who aren’t fluent in American Idol, there was probably zero appeal in the idea of Ryan Seacrest’s “Rock My Town” contest that brought season 8 stars Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert, and Kris Allen to the Highline Ballroom in New York City last night. Too bad for them. Because all three singers delivered such powerful, confident sets from their recent debut discs that blind devotion to Fox’s ratings behemoth was hardly a requirement for getting left weak-kneed, sore-throated, and ultimately elated by the time the trio combined forces to close the show with Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.”
That said, seeing all three performers in an intimate venue like the Highline, as opposed to on a TV set or in the larger stadium setting of the Idols Live tour last summer, made it clear how each one connects to the audience from a different place: Allison, a teenager who at times seems blissfully clueless of the power her voice possesses, runs on pure instinct. Adam, acutely aware of the imposing force of his pipes (and, yes, his body), is happier in the role of a ringmaster guiding his rabid fans to the brink of collapse. (One woman had to be carried out in what Idoloonies affectionately term a "Glambulance"). And while Kris, the scrappy season 8 champ in the unenviable position of playing for an audience a third smaller than the performer before him, could have followed a crash-bang fireworks display with an intimate slide show (without anyone holding it against him), he did something perhaps not even his biggest fans would've expected: Casting aside the manacles of expectations and comparisons, he lost himself in the age-old art of rocking out with his very excellent band...just like a closing act is supposed to do. But onto specifics.
On the ballads "Just Like You," "Trouble Is," and "Scars," Allison managed to plumb the depths of love's dark side -- bitterness, addiction, vulnerability -- with a ferocity that ought to be impossible for a teenager who goofily explained to the audience that her keyboardist/musical director writes the command "don't suck" at the top of her set list every night. (As IF!) In the night's funniest and most instructive moment, Allison got halfway through the first verse of "Scars" before stopping her band and admitting she'd started in the wrong key, then proceeded to leave everyone breathless with a take-two vocal that chart-toppers like Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus wouldn't be able to touch with 10 feet of Auto-Tune. And please check for a functioning pulse if you were in the audience and failed to flail during raucous stomper "Holiday," the "down with technology" anthem "Robot Love," and a positively epic take on Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly." When Allison (rocking killer pig-tails and a black-and-white minidress that woulda fit in nicely in a John Hughes '80s flick) is connecting with her music -- as she did in every single song of her "Rock My Town" set -- you sometimes find yourself shaking your head in disbelief: "How is a kid capable of all this?" I can pretty much sum up her set in two words: "I mean..."
The crowd seemed to suddenly double in size the moment Adam took the stage for a set that can only be described as insane on every level. There were moments when you'd have believed the season 8 runner-up was 11 feet tall, the way he stalked and preened through uptempo numbers like "Sure-Fire Winners," "Strut," and "If I Had You," and that's not even acknowledging the gyrations! Adam doles out the hip-thrusts, the neck-twists, and the open-palm-to-the-pelvis shenanigans with an almost Tantric quality: His raw sexuality is so much a part of his show, it should get billing as an additional member of his band. But the over-the-topness of Adam's act wouldn't work if he didn't have the vocals to match. On "Sleepwalker," "Soaked," and current single "Whataya Want From Me," it felt like the force of his instrument could've filled a football stadium (sans microphone). Part of the reason Adam inspires such rabid fandom, I think, is that he's so aggressively outre that he erases any feelings of ridiculousness his ordinary fans might feel when singing in the shower or dancing in front of the bedroom mirror or just generally dreaming of breaking out of the humdrum of everyday life. He's at once fantasy and wish fulfillment. Dis him, dismiss him, ban him from ABC -- the dude is having way too much fun to concern himself with such trivial slights. He's a modern-day Pan for our TMZ times. Oh, and if his label has any shred of common sense, it'll eventually serve the Lady Gaga-penned "Fever" to radio. Adam's live rendition is a romping crowd-pleaser in a way that screams "song of summer 2010." Seriously!
Adam is, undoubtedly, a tough act to follow, and when a wave of Glamberts left the building before the start of Kris' set, you could feel some of the energy drain from the room. If that bothered the season 8 champ, however, it wasn't evident in a performance that teemed with creativity, bravado, and moments of pure audacity. I mean, seriously, as groan-inducing as an acoustic "Heartless"/"Gangster's Paradise" mashup sounds on paper, it's downright magical delivered by the Pocket Idol and his harmonizing band of brothers. Ditto for the "Falling Slowly"/"With Or Without You" jam session that worked not only musically, but also thematically, capturing the excitement/angst of diving into, then maintaining, a romantic relationship. Better still, though, in a set that also found Kris covering the Beatles (a much more rockin' arrangement of "Come Together" than he managed on Idol) and Michael Jackson, it was his original material that played best of all, particularly the bluesy breakup anthem "Is It Over," the achingly bittersweet "The Truth," and jaunty lead single "Live Like We're Dying." By the time Kris led a sextet of fans up on stage to help him deliver the "yeah-yeah yeah-yeah" chants of "Alright With Me," the crowd in the palm of his hand, you could still see the humble season 8 everydude with the workmanlike charm, but also something more -- a commanding solo artist ready to compete with the Mrazes and (ick) Mayers of the world.
Any of you catch the Kradison goodness in NYC last night? How about "Crazy" and that adorable group hug? Anybody wish deep down that these three cats would tour together for ever and ever and ever? Yeah, I know, my Idol fandom is showing, so let me just say two things: Follow EW's Music Mix blog on Twitter @ewmusicmix, and do the same with yours truly @ewmichaelslezak! music-mix.ew.com/2010/02/13/kradison-concert-nyc-highline-idol/
Adam Lambert will serve as guest mentor on the April 13 episode of American Idol, a spokesperson for 19 Entertainment confirms exclusively to EW. Internet buzz began swirling this afternoon that Sony Music reps had contacted selected radio stations with the announcement that last year’s runner-up would advise season 9′s Top 8 contestants, and then perform his current single “Whattaya Want From Me” on the April 14 results-show telecast. There’s no official word yet on what theme the contestants will tackle during Lambert’s visit.
Lambert as mentor should provide a glittery adrenaline shot to an Idol season that’s struggled to find its water-cooler mojo. Adam, perhaps more than any former contestant, should be able to help Idol‘s low-key crop of current contenders add some much-needed drama to their performances. Plus, what better way to promote Adam’s single (currently lodged at No. 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100) and planned summer tour?
Of course, there will be some Idol fans who argue Adam is too inexperienced to don a mentor’s cap, seeing how only a year ago he ended every one of his performances with a critique from Paula Abdul. Point taken, but what Adam lacks in music-biz wisdom, he makes up for with his knowledge of the singularly grueling Idol experience. Just yesterday, while interviewing season 9′s latest ousted contestant, Didi Benami, talk turned to her struggles with last week’s R&B theme, and she didn’t seem to completely understand where I was coming from when I asked her if she’d studied previous Idol successes like Adam, Kris Allen, and David Cook — and the way they managed to sculpt a wide variety of genres to fit their artistic styles, and not the other way around. Surviving and thriving in the genre-a-week Idol rollercoaster is something that a Mick Jagger or a Dolly Parton or even a Beyoncé or a Kanye has never had to do. If Adam can help season 9′s Top 8 to better understand the mechanics of the show — and it results in improved performances — I don’t see how anyone loses.
BIRD IS THE WORD Adam used a peacock feather — perhaps an homage to season 9's Lilly Scott? — to add a splash of color to the black-and-white ensemble he sported to celebrate the launch of Boy George's new single in London on March 20.
RAISIN' HELL Adam's wicked boots and his potentially dangerous shoulder appendages — worn during a March promo appearance in Tokyo -reminded us a little of Pinhead from Hellraiser.
HAND THAT ROCKS THE IDOL An outrageous claw — part pterodactyl, part robot-warrior — glammed up an otherwise demure ensemble at the Blondes Fall 2010 event in New York City in February.
A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY...A LITTLE BIT GLAM-N-ROLL A Western-style tie added an unexpected twist to the sparkly black jacket Adam rocked on the 2010 Grammy Awards' red carpet.
SILVER, FOXY Adam wasn't afraid to shine at a pre-Grammy event in January .
BRIGHT WHITES, BIG CITY Adam eschewed his usual dark hues at the Art Of Elysium's 3rd Annual ''Heaven'' Black Tie Charity Gala in Los Angeles in January .
GEMS, NOT A HOLOGRAM If you're gonna rock jewels on your jacket, why not splash some around the eyes as well? That's what Adam did at the 4th Annual Gridlock NYE [2009/2010] party in Hollywood.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR ADAM? Monsieur Lambert chose a chocolate leather jacket and jaunty pageboy cap for the Y100 Jingle Ball in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
SURE-FIRE WINTER A double-breasted coat kept the Idol runner-up warm during Z100's Jingle Ball 2009 in New York City.
DARK DAY After getting disinvited from Good Morning America over his controversial AMA performance, Adam booked a slot on CBS' Early Show and dared to deck himself out in head-to-toe black.
SPARKLING CONTROVERSY Adam's glittery gray suit went practically unnoticed in the hullabaloo that followed his sexually provocative performance at the American Music Awards in November.
TAILS YOU WIN The awesome leather jacket Adam sported during last summer's Idols Live tour was beyond Thunderdome.
STRIPE FOR THE PICKING One should proceed with caution before attempting to pull off the silver-and-black vertical pattern Adam selected for Hollywood Life's 11th annual Young Hollywood Awards last summer.
I managed to sneak in a brief question [for American Idol Executive Producer Ken Warwick] about this week’s guest mentor Adam Lambert,...
Okay, so how are you feeling about the show overall? There’s obviously been criticism that season 9 got off to a sleepy start. Do you think having Adam Lambert come in this week is going to shake things up and infuse the show with that added bit of drama that he generally manages to bring to the screen? I sincerely hope so. Because the guy is an incredible talent, and he had an incredible following. And it kind of upsets me that at the moment he’s not doing quite as well… [Pauses.] I don’t know what possessed him to do what he did at the AMAs, but he’s still struggling to live it down. And everybody says to me every week, ‘When are you gonna bring back Adam?’ They want to see him as he was. And hopefully we’re gonna do that for him this week, and we can start putting him back firmly where he belongs, as a major star. Because the guy is an incredible talent. He genuinely is. And it kind of breaks my heart to see someone with that much talent struggle a bit. So hopefully we can do back for him as he can do for us. popwatch.ew.com/2010/04/12/american-idol-adam-lambert-ken-warwick/
American Idol put on its white polyester suit tonight, threw in a light smattering of glitter, and tried to channel Elvis Presley by way of Adam Lambert. Yet while the songbook in question was chock full o’ gems, and the guest mentor was able to swiftly zero in on what’s been ailing the season 9 combatants, most of the evening had the distinctive scent of a Bounce fabric-softener sheet. popwatch.ew.com/2010/04/13/american-idol-adam-lambert-elvis/
Adam Lambert As Mentor On American Idol - Adam Clips
Adam Lambert and Elvis Presley certainly wouldn't seem out of place in the pantheon of great flavor combinations. Like chocolate and peanut butter, mushrooms and bacon, lobster and (mmm) butter before them, there's a tangy, cosmic harmony in the two singers' high-haired, hip-swiveling, big-voiced, glitter-bomb styles. Unfortunately for tonight's episode of American Idol, nine other ingredients got added to the Adam-Elvis batter, and not all of 'em proved pleasing to the palate.
No, this was not a great night of musical entertainment. Just don't blame the inexplicably polarizing Mr. Lambert, an impish (and deliciously coiffed) presence who sagely noted that the nine remaining finalists needed to ''wake up a little bit,'' then succinctly summed up the particular performance problems each of the season 9 combatants was experiencing. www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20312226_20360702,00.html
Not a note was missed, and Mr. Lambert responded by giving what I believe was his only standing O of the night.
[Katie Stevens] Adam wanted to see her channel her frustration with the judges directly into her performance of ''Baby What Do You Want Me to Do,'' but perhaps because she was weighed down with 27 lbs. of gold accessories, everything about the performance felt labored and inauthentic. www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20312226_20360702_3,00.html
[Tim Urban]All in all, it was low-key and competent, and might've been more interesting if Tim had listened to Adam's advice and finished in his head voice.
[Casey James] Adam made an excellent suggestion to build some dynamics — perhaps a beginning, middle, and end — to a song I have to admit I hadn't heard before tonight, but the performance drifted by like a passing cloud...
What did you think of tonight's show? Were you as turned off by Ryan's performance tonight as I was? (The Brian Dunkleman joke was at once startlingly unfunny and stunningly cruel; while the Adam Lambert tongue quip, delivered right next to Adam's mother was just deeply uncomfortable. www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20312226_20360702_4,00.html
TV RECAP 'American Idol' recap: Two Blue by Michael Slezak | Apr 15, 2010
Adam Lambert performs Whataya Want From Me on American Idol 2010 HD 720p
We interrupt this TV recap with a weather warning. A tornado watch is in effect for the American Idol stage. From out of this tornado will emerge ADAM LAMBERT, clad in a silver paint-splashed jacket with metallic studs and bedazzled ear monitors, surprising us with a slowed-down intro to ''Whataya Want From Me.'' After that, Adam will proceed to rip into the vocals with such beast-like commitment that, if you were able to catch your breath and think about it, might have you feeling sorry for Katie, Tim Urban, and Michael Lynche, the only three contestants who had to ponder giving an exit performance in Adam's wake of thick fog, massive glory notes, and a web of green lasers that made the stage look like a high-budget Benny Ninja challenge on America's Next Top Model. Do not be alarmed if one or more camera-people gets so excited about experiencing ''WWFM'' at such close range that they momentarily lose control of their equipment and make Adam briefly drop off your screen. That's just the kind of shenanigans you come to expect when you're visiting the Glambert Galaxy.
I loved Adam's gracious ''I owe this show everything'' remark that followed his set. What I didn't love was Ryan's manic-bordering-on-hysterical follow-up to the performance: ''That's a hit record right there!'' We can all read Billboard.com, dude. No need to throw life preservers at a guy who's swimming along quite nicely on his own, thanks.
In stark contrast to Adam's dazzling live vocals was another lip-synched group performance. www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20361140_2,00.html
Top 8 Mad World by Tear for Fears Gary Jules Version From Donnie Darko
01. FANTASIA BARRINO, ''Summertime'' (Season 3) On a soundtrack-themed night filled with covers of Whitney, Celine, and Phil Collins, Fantasia took a completely different path, choosing the haunting lullaby ''Summertime,'' from Porgy and Bess, a song she said she'd never heard prior to the competition. Yet crouched on the stage and singing with a raw emotion that drew comparisons to a young Aretha, Fantasia moved not only herself to tears but a large chunk of the viewing audience as well. If you were lucky enough to catch her performance, then you know you witnessed a moment of true musical magic, one that future Idol finalists can only hope to match.
02. KELLY CLARKSON, ''Stuff Like That There'' (Season 1) Some folks rail against the show's theme weeks, which often force Idol contestants into new and unfamiliar musical genres, but they forget that Big Band Week helped make a star of the very first American Idol. Decked out in her black-and-white polka-dot dress and pearls, Kelly broke out a monster range that proved more than equal to the brassy, sassy ''Stuff Like That There,'' making the dusty gem sound fresh and modern. And indeed, her ability to raise even the sleepiest numbers (''A Moment Like This,'' ''Miss Independent'') to pop relevance helped Kelly make the early transition from TV-show novelty act to formidable ''Since U Been Gone'' chart-topper.
03. ADAM LAMBERT, ''Mad World'' (Season 8) Sure, Adam's interpretation of Gary Jules' cover of a minor Tears for Fears hit was vocally flawless. But that was pretty much par for the course during the season 8 runner-up's Idol run. What made ''Mad World'' so absolutely electrifying was the way Adam connected emotionally with the material. As he delivered the lines ''I went to school and I was very nervous/No one knew me, no one knew me,'' Adam, bathed in blue light, managed to tap into that wellspring of pain and insecurity that pretty much every person on the planet has felt at one time or another: The kid at school who can't find anyone to sit with in the cafeteria. The panic-stricken worker in the first week at a new job. The guest who shows up at a party and realizes, ''Oh, crap! I don't know anyone here but the host.'' There's something really special about a musical performance that can transport you to any number of places or scenarios. In the end, I think the British judge's standing ovation said it all.
04. BLAKE LEWIS, ''You Give Love a Bad Name'' (Season 6) So what if Blake's pipes were the least powerful of any top 2 contestant in Idol history? His audacious, thrilling, and wholly original reinvention of a cherished hair-metal anthem — complete with beatboxing and ''needle-on-the-record'' pantomime — injected sleepy season 6 with a jolt of supercool electronica and much-needed fun. Not only that, ''Bad Name'' set the template for subsequent Idol innovators like David Cook, Kris Allen, and Adam Lambert — and turned the Idol knob decisively away from ''karaoke'' and firmly toward ''artistry.''
05. BO BICE, ''In a Dream'' (Season 4) Talk about cojones! Late in Idol's fourth season, when viewers knew things were coming down to a photo finish between country gal Carrie Underwood and Bice, the shaggy Alabama rocker set down the mic stand and delivered a searing a capella rendition of ''In a Dream,'' a little-known ballad by Badlands. Sure, Bice ultimately took home the silver — and his sales haven't come close to Underwood's multiplatinum heights — but it's impossible to forget (and it'd be criminal not to applaud) his bold artistic choice, which doubled as a nod to Idol's accompaniment-free audition rounds.
06. KRIS ALLEN, ''Heartless'' (Season 8) It was the final week before the season 8 finale, and Kris found himself in the position of plucky upstart, trying to thwart the judges' dream of a Danny Gokey vs. Adam Lambert matchup. He needed to be vocally flawless. He needed to be artistically inventive. But nobody would've said he needed to cover Kanye West. That, however, is exactly what the Arkansas native did; clad in a sparkly black Henley, Kris took an R&B ditty that had been performed on the Idol stage by the original artist only a couple months prior, stripped it down to its acoustic bones, and made the lyrics come to life in a way they never could have through the cold filter of a vocoder. You could tell from Kris' sly grin going into the final chorus that he achieved exactly what he set out to do: Prove to Simon (and the Idol audience) that he possessed the killer instinct, the creativity, and yes, the vocal firepower to make it to the Nokia. And that's exactly what he ended up doing.
07. JENNIFER HUDSON, ''Circle of Life'' (Season 3) If only every week of Idol featured a display of manic commitment to the music, the way wild-eyed, big-voiced, eventual Oscar winner J. Hud did throughout her season 3 run. Watching her seize upon Elton John's Lion King hymn like a lioness catching an impala made for a truly remarkable viewing experience. The gospel inflection. The raised hand. The near swallowing of the microphone. All these things put Jennifer's interpretation on a slippery slope, but she felt every word of the song so truly, madly, and deeply that resisting her became an exercise in futility.
08. ELLIOTT YAMIN, ''A Song for You'' (Season 5) Okay, so it's not all that hard to move Paula Abdul to tears — but getting Simon Cowell to compare your performance to ''a vocal master class,'' that takes something beyond special, which is exactly how we'd describe Yamin's flawless rendition of Donnie Hathaway's classic. With his crooked smile and aw-shucks demeanor, Yamin was dogged by doubters throughout his Idol run, but for one night in the show's terrific fifth season, ''A Song for You'' made him a superstar — and very solid sales for his 2007 indie-label debut have kept the flame alive.
09. CHRIS DAUGHTRY, ''Hemorrhage (In My Hands)'' (Season 5) Fourth place, shmourth place! Daughtry's rock-star destiny was as obvious as a Ryan Seacrest punch line by the second week of Idol's fifth-season semifinals, when the bald-headed dude dug into this Fuel song with the kind of polish and charisma usually exhibited only by headline acts at massive stadium shows. In a word, awesome.
10. MELINDA DOOLITTLE, ''My Funny Valentine'' (Season 6) Is it possible to perform too well on Idol? In the case of Melinda's luscious semifinal cover of the timeless jazz standard, the answer is, quite possibly, yes. Indeed, with her flawless phrasing and modulation, the way she caressed and finessed every word and note of Rodgers and Hart's gorgeous composition, Mindy Doo set the bar almost impossibly high for herself, and wound up as the season's second runner-up. That said, now that you can download Melinda's 2008 ''Funny'' cover on iTunes, each day can once again be Valentine's Day.
Adam Lambert has just released the cover art for his new single, “If I Had You,” and naturally, it inspired a limerick. Give it a quick read, then post your own (non-beastly) response in the comments. There once was a singer so glamorous He left boys and girls feeling amorous He sparkled like Windex Unmeasured Glam Index Can’t wait for his tour where he’ll jam for us popwatch.ew.com/2010/05/03/adam-lamberts-if-i-had-you-cover-art/
The lyrics for Adam Lambert’s latest single, “If I Had You,” suggest decadent scenes in nightclubs and hotels and assorted urban glamor stations. But for the corresponding video, which hit the Web yesterday, the unrepentant imp/American Idol season 8 runner-up takes the song’s “life would be a party, it’d be ecstasy” lyrics and transports them to a forest setting. It’s like a mashup of Where the Wild Things Are, Xtina’s “Dirrty” video, and a light splash of Avatar. (Seriously. It’s set in the woods, and Adam has a big, crazy mullet-braid/Na’vi thingamajig, and there are enchanted glowing streamers all over the place, no?) That smirk at the very end of the video puts an exclamation point on Adam’s “get down or get out” message: Groove things will be shaken. Magical light will swirl overhead. Wigs will be donned. Shoulder pads will sprout like sea anemones. And plushies will rise from the mist. Plus, Adam’s Idol kid sister Allison Iraheta and possibly that Ke$ha person will arrive on the scene for the sole pleasure of dancing in the background. (The red-headed rocker, who I am mildly-to-moderately obsessed with, first gets her shimmy on at the 2:40 mark; the “Blah Blah Blah” singer, who barely exists on my pop-culture radar, is not important enough to warrant any time-stamp GPS action. In fact, are we 100 percent certain she’s in this video?)
Unlike Adam’s last clip, the artist-in-conflict internalized soap opera “Whataya Want from Me,” there’s nothing deep going on here, unless you count Mr. Lambert revealing the step-kick-strut maneuver of his “signature walk.” But with his silver ringleader’s hat, Adam jauntily portrays himself as a commanding master of freaky-deaky ceremonies, an astute move that carries the not-so-subliminal message of “Buy yourself (and your friends) some tickets for my ongoing Glam Nation tour! A glittery good time will be had by all!” And what’s more, the clip managed to make me forget (momentarily, anyway) that “If I Had You” is one of my least favorite tracks on Lambert’s For Your Entertainment set. I won’t turn this into a tirade asking his label why it didn’t choose “Sleepwalker” or “Strut” or the absolutely delectable “Fever” as Adam’s summer radio offering — I know, I know, that last-named track contains the lethal (!) pronoun “he”! Le gasp! — and instead I’ll turn the chatter over to you. What do you think of the “If I Had You” video? Does Adam have a megahit on his hands? Hash it out in the comments below!
p.s. Adam, I don’t think that’s an iPad you’re texting on; it’s too thick! What the wholahay is it?
THE MUSIC MIX BLOG Adam Lambert's Glam Nation Tour in NYC: Fans show a whole lotta love by Michael Slezak | Jun 23, 2010
Adam Lambert threw a party last night in New York City, and everyone was invited. Take, for example, the middle-aged woman in the audience who'd traveled... bit.ly/qUhHQM search.ew.com/results.html?type=ew :Michael+Slezak;&Ns=p_publish_date|1||p_headline_sort|0&No=150
Adam Lambert threw a party last night in New York City, and everyone was invited.
Take, for example, the middle-aged woman in the audience who’d traveled all the way from Auckland, New Zealand, to experience the Glam Nation tour alongside fellow female fans from around the globe whom she’d met on Internet message boards. And in a similar vein, while the audience for the first of Lambert’s two Manhattan concerts featured a mix of ages, races, and genders, a cursory glance around the Nokia Theatre revealed that the American Idol season 8 runner-up is indubitably connecting with women of a certain age.
Superficially, it’s a puzzling phenomenon: Openly gay male rocker drawing droves of adoring thirty- to fifty-something ladies who lazy marketing execs might expect to spend their Tuesday evenings sipping white-wine spritzers and listening to their local Lite-FM stations? But for those lucky enough to experience Lambert’s raucous 14-song set, the phenomenon makes perfect sense: If there’s any truth to the stereotype that gay men throw the best parties, Adam’s Glam Nation soiree is Exhibit A. And as a misfit toy himself — an artist whose Euro-Goth brand of vocal adrenaline and openness about his sexual orientation make his radio aspirations a protracted uphill battle — Adam’s fills his concert with a winking, conspiratorial giddiness that makes his fans feel like he’s singing directly to them. One of the biggest roars from the crowd, in fact, came during Adam’s performance of his hit single “Whataya Want from Me,” right after the line, “It’s me, I’m a freak. But thanks for loving me, ’cause you’re doing it perfectly.”
That kind of positive back-and-forth coursed through the entire Glam Nation set, with Lambert alternately serving as playfully sexy ringleader, Oprah-esque relationship adviser, and jaw-dropping vocal contortionist (albeit one who tends to dress in heavy tapestry fabrics that look like they might have been used to upholster Cher’s couches during her Gothic period). After a particularly devastating rendition of his ballad “Soaked,” Adam laughed about going “dark with a twist,” then, pointing to his chest, he philosophized about the struggle to overcome past hurts and find true love. “You chase your tail to enough bars and then realize the answer is in here.” Later, after ripping his way through the dance-driven current single “If I Had You,” Adam obscenely wagged his tongue and giggled “I love New York!”
The man also loves his most loyal Glamberts, as evidenced by his decision to open the show with a one-two punch of “Voodoo” (which appeared only on Adam’s remix EP) and “Down the Rabbit Hole” (a bonus track that came with iTunes pre-orders of his For Your Entertainment disc), followed by the Middle Eastern-flavored “Ring of Fire” that he first introduced during Country Week on Idol.
Adam then tackled what are arguably the two most commercially viable tracks off his album — the Lady Gaga-penned “Fever” and the Ryan Tedder number “Sleepwalker” — and, not all that surprisingly, these live renditions proved tighter and cleaner than probably half of his Auto-Tuned radio competitors.
After that, the laser-light show and backup dancers went quiet, and the stripped-down portion of the show kicked in for “Whataya Want from Me,” “Soaked,” and “Aftermath,” giving Adam a chance to show off what he’s famous for: That voice. The last of these tracks, a self-empowerment ballad that could easily serve as a National Coming Out Day anthem, benefited most from the sparse rearrangement, achieving depth and nuance that are largely absent from the recorded version.
The party returned to full force — and Adam got his pop-and-lock on — for the beautifully campy “Sure Fire Winners,” and the dance reverie extended through “Strut” (where a paisley skull inexplicably emerged as a backdrop), “Music Again,” and “If I Had You,” Adam’s treatise on the trappings of fame being meaningless without the secret ingredient of love. That sentiment might be too pat by half, but the crowd consumed like lemonade on a scorching summer day.
And just in case some of his Idol devotees came to see him without first sampling his debut disc, Adam returned for an encore of two songs he performed on Fox’s reality juggernaut: “Mad World” got a jangly rearrangement that unfortunately erased the haunting drama of his Idol version. Then, Adam slowed down the blast of sexual energy that is “Whole Lotta Love” and turned it into a howling, bass-heavy meditation that bordered on Tantric. Such a new-age twist might be blasphemy to Led Zeppelin purists, and it may have been unexpectedly mellow for a closing number, but the way the audience shrieked its approval, a successful concert climax was experienced by most. music-mix.ew.com/2010/06/23/adam-lambert-glam-nation-tour-nyc/
Adam Lambert Backstage Glam Nation - NYC (2nd Night) Media
Adam Lambert is less than a month into his first headlining tour, so you can forgive him for having a moment of “Frick! I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” when he first began thinking about costumes, visuals, and a set list for his Glam Nation extravaganza (which wraps up Sept. 21 in Puyallup, WA).
Not to worry, though, the American Idol season 8 runner-up proved to be a quick study, drawing inspiration from turn-of-the-century New Orleans, Dia de los Muertos, and John Galliano, among other things. Adam says he also wanted to make sure his show had “an emotional through-line” that took his audiences from a dark and seductive world to a mood of heartbreak and introspection — until they finally arrived at a place of joy and connectivity. But if you’re worried Mr. Lambert is getting too deep, fret not: “It’s all tongue-in-cheek. There’s rhinestones on everything,” he says. Press play below to get the full interview conducted backstage before Adam’s June 23 concert in New York City. popwatch.ew.com/2010/06/25/adam-lambert-glam-nation-pirate/