This Adam Lambert thing has really started to disturb me. I mostly watch American Idol as a guilty pleasure, but this guy is seriously starting to make me question my sexuality and my rock edge. The best way to make someone think you are a completely uncool loser is to tell them that you saw a megastar last night on American Idol. How do I tell my friends that I blew off the first half of my hometown Cleveland Cavaliers playing in the playoffs to watch a glammed out, proudly homosexual cabaret singer lay waste to our best memories of Robert Plant and Elvis Presley? And now I’m so wired up by it, I’m blowing off the second half to write about it.
Was Adam Lambert really in the bottom two last week on American Idol? It was shocking and hard to believe, but my first inclination was abject depression that perhaps it was a wake up call. Perhaps America wasn’t ready for the overly dramatic, over the top androgynous chaos of Adam Lambert after all.
There’s little doubt in my mind that Lambert wants to win this competition. Surely, he’d be forced to dial it down this week. The fact that it was going to be Idol’s first rock week made the thought of Lambert hiding his true self even more depressing. I mean, if Lambert has the Bill O’Reillys of the world freaked out at the image he’s been throwing out to the world on Idol, imagine what he’d think of the glittery six-inch platform shoes and skin-tight leather outfit that anyone who has been paying attention knows that Lambert really wants to be wearing.
Imagine my delight, when exactly the opposite happened. I should have never doubted the man that Paula Abdul called the “bravest contestant in Idol history.”
I’m not exactly sure how you tone down Adam Lambert, but certainly coming out in Elvis ’68 black leather to take on the ultra-histrionic Robert Plant’s most histrionic vocal performance isn’t the way to do it. Are you kidding me? The amount of balls it takes to appropriate that Presley look, stance, and sneer to add a whole lotta makeup and sing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” is earth-shatteringly, mind-bogglingly ballsy.
Idol judges are fond of telling their contestants to stay away from the Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey numbers. Well, everyone knows that you don’t mess with Robert Plant. Unless Lambert just blew this thing completely out of the water (and he did!), he’d not only look completely ridiculous, he’d probably cause major riots and looting in our inner cities. You just don’t go there, do you?
Was that really Slash up there endorsing Lambert’s performance? I’ve got to believe that Led Zeppelin is holy ground for Saul Hudson. Did he really just say that he’d normally never consider being on this less than hard rock cool show, but there were a couple of artists that he really wanted to get a chance to work with? I’m going to go way out on a ledge and guess that the former Guns ‘N Roses guitarist wasn’t there to work with Danny Gokey. Let’s instead note that Slash is currently part of a super group, Velvet Revolver, desperately looking for a new lead singer and it's obvious to everyone with a brain that Adam Lambert can blow!
Do I really have the guts to go all Jon Landau “I’ve seen the history of rock and roll and his name is …” to the explosion of androgynous thunder and lightning that was the opening of last night’s show? Hell no, I’m no Adam Lambert, but there was Slash sitting proudly in the audience putting his reputation on the line.
God, help me ever having any credibility again. I’m raving about someone appearing on a show where one of the judges (Kara – Miss “Studio 57” Malaprop, herself) faulted one of the singers (Danny Gokey, who was left gasping in the dust trying to out-scream Lambert) for choosing to sing “Dream On” rather than an “earlier Aerosmith” song, by naming two songs that band did over a decade later!
My mother felt it was unfair that Lambert got to both open and close the show (an electric duet with Alison Iraheta on Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” where he seemed to libidinously and brazenly encourage the 17-year-old further out onto the ledge, which should probably be illegal in most of the South). My response was that it was unfair that Lambert is 1000 times more talented and charismatically fascinating than the three other poor saps that had to try and follow what could conservatively be called a looting of everything that has historically been the American Idol franchise.
At the top of the show America’s favorite Dick Clark wannabe, Ryan Seacrest, pointed out that dress rehearsal had to be skipped due an unforeseen collapse of one of the show’s promotional towers. From my point of view, the producers of the show should be happy that Lambert’s epic assault didn’t cause the whole roof to collapse, killing everyone fortunate enough to be there to see it.
Yes, I just said that.
Here's the truth by far — the gayest part of last night’s show was poor Kris Allen and Danny Gokey teaming up to bring us some Styx, which is pretty amazing when you consider that Lambert isn’t hiding his sexuality like Clay Aiken did. There isn’t going to be a “Yes, it’s true, I’m gay” People magazine cover in Adam Lambert’s future. Lambert’s cover is more likely to say, “Please, weren’t you paying any attention?”
For anyone with any remaining doubt, check out the back of this Upper Deck American Idol trading card where Lambert lists his hero as gay icon Harvey Milk.
Yes, all of my “cool” friends are mocking me right now. Thankfully, I have Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong on my side. “That kid that's on there — Adam — hitting those high notes?” Armstrong told AOL’s Spinner.com. “Pretty badass, man.”
Pretty, badass – indeed.