Thursday, 30 April 2009

Top 5 Results - Feeling Not-So-Good

What a night. I'm feeling shattered. After watching that episode, I spent ages trying to lift myself out of the gloom the show cast over me, and found reassurance online with fellow Adam obsessives who were equally as shell-shocked. Part of me tells me just to get a fucking grip, it's just a TV show, but the other part knows it will ache if the pleasure of seeing more Adam is cruelly snatched away.

Adam was soberly dressed almost head-to toe in black, resembling the look from his New Year's Upright performances sans sparkly Bowie T-shirt. He looked very comfortable and relaxed.

A clip was shown of the contestants attempting to bake cakes at the mansion which turned into an all-out messy food fight that trashed the kitchen and some of the dining room. Some of the clip was slightly uncomfortable viewing, especially when Danny was grabbing Allison. It's a funny thing, this obsession, because the fact that Adam didn't appear in the clip apart from breaking an egg and pouring cake mixture, further endeared him to me and increased my respect for him. He stood well away from hurling food and I've attributed this to his respecting that it's someone else's luxury mansion he's privileged to be staying in. I feel that it's due to his innate courtesy and consideration. It made the others (bar Kris) look like spoiled brats who acted like they owned the place and I felt they deserved to foot the bill for the clean-up. Of course I may be completely wrong and they edited him out, but in that situation, unless it was in my own house, I would have stood back too. Oh dear, I've already fallen into Adam-can-do-no-wrong territory like a crazed fan.

The group performance this week was pretty decent and they all appeared to sing live. I really missed Paula's choreography though, because they didn't move around the stage well and at one point, even Adam stood almost still (just shaking a leg) while the others tested out their swaggers. Adam had two solo parts that he sang in a cabaret style, one of which was difficult because it jumped about a lot, but was typically done well and he looked happy.

For the first time, I was a little nervous when they were announcing the results. I don't know what happened during previous seasons when it came to the top five, but the format was slightly different than usual. I hoped that they would announce Adam as safe early on so that I could switch off and go to bed.

The contestants lined up on the stage with Adam in the middle. Ryan started by placing Matt and Danny in different groups with Danny looking very smug. It looked fairly obvious which was top and which was bottom. Allison joined Danny and Kris joined Matt which made it slightly less obvious. Next came a very uncomfortable and strained moment where Adam was asked to choose which group he thought he belonged to amid groans from the audience. I'm annoyed that they deliberately tried to shaft him because whichever decision he made would've been a little awkward. It was a truly horrible thing to do to him, but after a brief protest, he made a decision fairly quickly and went for the Danny/Allison side. I instinctively didn't like the decision and thought he would have been better staying on the fence but I also thought he showed sincerity. It was a snap decision though, and I hope it doesn't reflect badly on him by supposing over-confidence. I found the next part unnecessarily degrading and I hated it when Ryan pushed Adam over to the other group to announce he was wrong and in the bottom three, to the sound of gasped disbelief. It was as if they were deliberately trying to humiliate him, wrestle him from his perch and throw him under a train at full pelt. I was fucked off, still am, about his malicious treatment. Why the hell did they have to do that to Adam, the most pleasant and interesting person on the show? They could have just been straightforward and told him he was in the bottom three without all the bullshit. They didn't need all that drama. When the judges commented on it, they seemed suspiciously very nonchalant. They blatantly love Adam, so they should've been shitting their pants.

After what seemed like ages and after I made a few dips into the forums needing to consolidate my thoughts asking WTF?, the three were brought back to the stage and Kris was told he was safe, with Adam and Matt in the bottom two. At that point, I expected Matt to leave, but I wasn't ruling out a shock quite yet. When Adam was told that he was safe, the air around me relaxed again and there was a massive collective sigh of relief all around. He let out a big sigh and being sensitive to Matt, didn't show any signs of being happy about it. He gave Matt a big hug and told him he was proud of him. I thought I heard Adam swearing along the lines of '...the fuck up...', but the sound was too muffled to be intelligible. He appeared to give Matt a peck on the cheek, but again, I'm not sure because of the camera angle.

Well that was a huge relief but I'm still feeling angry at America, for either failing to recognise shit-hot talent or for loving mediocrity. Come on, that performance had WOW! factor in abundance. I'm furious with the producers for the way they treated Adam because he really didn't deserve to be shat upon for what he's done for the show, and for fucking with us and using him if all that bullshit was staged just to up the ratings. I wanted to give him a big hug and hope his forcefield is up so he doesn't lose any confidence or feel the need to tone down or change direction. I think he was a little shaken after Ring Of Fire, so I hope this doesn't freak him out or make him feel unbearable pressure.

There are explanations about vote splitting, conspiracy theories abound about how the producers wanted to punish Adam for his spoiler in his phonecall to the Upright, about the judges' pimping and use of reverse psychology to influence the voting, about the unfeasibility of Adam coming behind Kris and Allison, about Adam's placing being used to boost the show's ratings, to increase the revenue from votes, about the producers trying to shock people out of voter complacency, making sure Adam makes it to the final, about reminding Adam who's boss... but none of them can ever be proved.

I'll admit that being in the UK, I haven't voted because it's serious hassle, but I might have to start. That fucking episode was a bunch of alcoholic tramps who vomited, pissed and shat their diarrhoea in my mouth after eating 3-day-old rotting, infested curry salvaged from an alley bin washed down with flat Special Brew, and despite having rinsed my mouth with industrial strength bleach X number of times, I'm still left with a foul taste. This can never happen again. GET VOTING!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Top 5 - Feeling Good

Fucking hell!

Sorry, but just had to get that out of the way first. I watched the live streaming and various parts of Adam's performance froze and got missed but it still hit me like a bullet train at maximum speed. I'm feeling pretty tired after having stayed up so late just so that I could watch it again from the first video postings of the performance, and I must say that I've been watching it on repeat.

I'd been looking for his confessional throughout the evening and unfortunately ended up seeing loads of spoilers revealing that he was going to be singing Muse's version of 'Feeling Good'. I was slightly disappointed that Adam himself had given us a sneak preview of it already in his phonecall to Upright.

I did wonder whether Adam was going to rock it out but managed to refrain from exploring every single possibility in my head beforehand. When he emerged onto the stage, I saw that he was wearing a 1000-watt shiny, sharp white suit, bright enough to rival his smile, a black shirt, white tie with tie clip and white shoes - the negative version of Ryan's ensemble. He just has the innate ability wear big fashion statements with flair. I didn't like the cut of the jacket. I found it quite ill-fitting, with the front of it being too long making his chest and stomach look like it was bulging outwards, and the single button was too low and didn't bring it together well. I think it looked a bit uncomfortable, but compared to Kris, who I thought wore his suit like he'd just been sacked from his accountancy job, Danny, who looked like someone's best man at a wedding trying to steal the limelight, Matt, who looked like a drab science teacher, and Allison, who looked awkwardly precocious, Adam looked the business. I was glad to see his hair was back to its natural emo style. The suit hinted to me that he was probably going to play it fairly straight, but the emo hair placed a smidgen of doubt in that it might just be the most suavely dressed rocker ever. As always, he excelled in his accessorising, with diamond studs and plenty of rings to make it signature Adam.

In the intro clip when Adam was rehearsing in front of Jamie Foxx, Jamie seemed to be very intently watching Adam in awe. We know where you're coming from, Jamie! We were to expect a rock edge to the version of the song. Adam's voice as usual sounded top-notch. Slightly husky, passionate and seasoned with both punch and attitude. He seemed very much in character, giving a smiling sneer at the end. Jamie joked that Adam was completely unfazed by him, to which Adam cracked up into a fit of laughter because in reality, he felt the opposite, which was sweet. Jamie was visibly impressed and had no advice for Adam, which is not surprising, seeing as the student is already way ahead of the master.

The performance started with some synthesised chords and gave a wide-angle view of Adam atop the central staircase that was lit neon-pink with the spotlight from behind. Oh my word, how's this for dramatic? The camera swept forward and met him high up on the staircase, angling up so that he looked statuesque. He started the song off quite low, the first high note startling but not picked up very loudly on the mic. The lyrics were carefully enunciated for dramatic effect but I think with slight detriment to timing and tone, until the tingling, resonant for. The way he ended the intro with a powerful pause before good and a sultry stare was gripping and I knew we were in for a feast. His character was oozing charisma and he descended the rest of the stairs with a confident and teasing swagger. The second verse was sung in full swing like a rocking Shirley Bassey, but some of the lower notes sounded a tad shaky. The high notes of his wailing bridge were delivered pitch perfectly. His feeLING! glory note was WOW, fucking hell, heartstopping, astonishing, goosebumps-galore, OTT and simply incredible, but went on for a tiny bit too long though only because my heart couldn't take it! The effect was enhanced by the circling camera and the white shafts of light made him look very much otherworldly and ethereal, god-like, even. His pose at that moment was an iconic image that will stick. The descending run after that note was beautiful and vulnerable and in brilliant contrast to the high note. Awesome. The final note was given with a glare and a haunting echo which sealed and reverberated the performance into our consciousness. I did NOT expect that!

He smiled after the performance but didn't look relaxed and again looked apprehensive. It looked like he was scanning the crowd, unsure of their reaction. It was definitely risky and I'm guessing he was bracing himself for criticism from the judges. Randy's comments were pretty useless perhaps because it wasn't to his taste, Kara was confused but positively so and I really didn't understand the sleazy comment. It might have been appropriate for Ring of Fire, but there was nothing sleazy about that. Paula gushed as usual, receiving a cute 'Aw', and Simon knocked back Randy's theatrical critcism, U-turning from his previous comments and making Adam slap his thigh in agreement. It was a good move on Simon's part to mention that Adam was there to win and the camera showed a steely determination in his expression. I think it will help to quash those in the camp who think it's better for Adam to lose. Simon tried to restrain himself from gushing and gave many (thinly) veiled compliments about 'the competition this year', clearly meaning Adam and I hope he understands this. His compliments managed to get as open as stating that Adam had the entrance of the season. I was glad to see Adam to relax a lot more after the comments, reassuring us that he really enjoyed it but I wasn't wholly convinced by his smile. I think he's feeling the pressure.

Adam's vocal control wasn't at its best, but it's an intimidatingly difficult song to sing and the performance was fun, dramatic, flamboyant and unlike any of the versions of 'Feeling Good' I've heard. It was still too short for my liking but such an extraordinary spectacle with powerful impact, and I could easily hear it being a monumental soundtrack with all its pizazz. I think he played it right this week, managing to finely balance popular appeal with artistic creativity. He threw a juicy bone to all the Ring Of Fire fans who'd been thinking he'd been playing it safe, and successfully managed not to alienate all the ballad-lovers by shimmying and strutting along, even stretching but not crossing the 'What the fuck?' line. It was a master stroke to play at precisely the right time in the game, and I can only commend his strategy for teasing us with another peek of his extensive arsenal, just when there were concerns about him having peaked too early. He's left me feeling that there's still so much more to see and I'm excited. I'm gobsmacked at how gifted and versatile Adam Lambert is, and how he can continue to leave me in awe, time and time again.

Welcome back Glambert! I've missed you!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Cold Turkey? Give Me Hot Lamb!

Contrary to what I posted last week, starvation is unnatural and definitely not for me.  Starving myself of my Adam fix just didn't work.  If there's something tasty lying around, I'll eat it.  Although it truly disturbs me how much of my waking hours are occupied by Adam Lambert, I can't break free from his captivation.  Rather than stay away from all the forums and and fansites, I actually ended up joining and participating.

A few things in the news this week are a reported feud with Kris Allen which is pretty ridiculous, Adam kicking ass on iTunes downloads, Upright Cabaret's Adam night, where he sang a bit of 'Feeling Good' on speakerphone, and his eagerly awaited Upright Cabaret performances of 'Kiss From a Rose' and 'How Come You Don't Call Me?' on YouTube.  They've given me plenty of viewing pleasure, a welcome bonus after a long week but have still left me wanting for more.  I love all the Upright performances for many reasons.  It's not a huge venue and so the atmosphere is relatively personal and Adam seems relaxed in himself, chatting away.  The performances are more heartfelt because he's much more expressive, but if he were to repeat these to the big audience on American Idol, it would probably be labelled 'dramatic' or 'cabaret'.  Another thing I love about the performances are the improvisations and ad-libbing.  You feel that Adam and the pianist Gerald Sternbach are two phenomenally talented individuals just jamming together and making things up as they go along, but they manage to come up with something brilliant and flawless each time.  I also love the simplicity of the arrangements where there's nothing to detract from the emotion of Adam's breathtaking voice.  When Adam does his riffs and runs, they are always spot-on.  For that reason, I'd like to hear Adam sing some soul/jazz/blues with just a piano accompaniment some time.  We got a taste during 'Some Kind of Wonderful' where his riffs were outstanding but I really want to hear more.

Luckily aided by the theme of Rat Pack songs this week, I've done quite well in terms of avoiding over-analysing and trying to second-guess what Adam's going to do next.  The songs that fall into that category are quite plentiful and they've been re-recorded and re-interpreted so many times that the choice of song and style are pretty broad.  I've tried hard to not go through all the different scenarios, so that I'm still able to be surprised and feel the impact of Adam's performance.  I'll be going in with as open a mind as possible, not weighted down with too many expectations.  I was even going to try to see if I could maximise the impact of Adam's performance by waiting until Thursday (Thursday!) when it's aired on UK TV rather than on a slightly dodgy streamed version tonight, but the temptation is overpowering.  I'd prefer sizzling Lamb to hot Lamb, but give me hot Lamb over cold turkey any day!

Will The Real Adam Lambert Please Stand Up?

Who is the real Adam Lambert? What do we really know about this person we feel we've gotten to know through TV appearances, articles, photos and videos? The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced I know nothing. I think he's like a shape-shifter, adapting himself in any kind of situation but still retaining his essence.

Where does Adam sit musically? He's said himself that his album would be quite schizophrenic, (or should that be more like schizophonic) and would include electro, pop and rock. All the American Idol performances we've seen have been so varied, winning over slightly different legions of fan every week. His fan base has been piling up, and as far as I can tell, none of the other contestants have been able to amass such broad appeal because they've more or less stayed near their genre and comfort zone whereas Adam has straddled them with ease. Everyone has their favourite Adam performances and because there are so many different types of fans, it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to satisfy everyone with each performance. This is a factor that will influence his upcoming choices on the show.

Many believe his true self to be outrageous and OTT and that he's playing it safe and toning it down to win by trading in some of his edginess for popularity. One thing we must remember about all his pre-Idol performances is that they were just performances and not necessarily him. I don't know how much creative input he had on gigs such as the Zodiac Show or Citizen Vein, but he immersed himself into each of the characters for the roles he had to play. He has shown his ability to adapt to anything but what would he be like if given complete freedom? Some argue that American Idol is stifling his creativity somewhat, but do we know by what extent? Much in the way that he did theatre to earn a living, that he has done outrageous stuff before doesn't necessarily mean that's where he wants to go. I'd of course love it if it is.

Adam has talked about structuring his performances like a set list in a show, which suggests he's a strategist who's been carefully plotting each step beforehand. Or have the decisions he's made upon his journey been more intuitive and worked out as he's gone along? From his interviews and soundbites, he comes across as unimposing and articulates himself very well, somewhat in contrast to his performer persona. His answers are intelligent and considered and you get the feeling that he knows a lot more than he's letting on so it wouldn't surprise me if every move is carefully calculated. If you take it even further, you could conjecture that he's been planning and preparing for the show for years. In those years, he's been steadily developing himself, his skills and building up a fan base from his various gigs, applying to American Idol only when confident in his ability to go far on the show.

On the show, he comes across as a modest, respectful and considerate person, which certainly makes him likeable and helps win votes. But could the fact that he has acting under his belt have allowed him to carefully construct his on-screen persona to perfection, treating every moment as a performance? Surely he can't keep up the façade all the time? And when he does perform, does he really sing from the bottom of his heart and feel all the emotions he portrays? If not, it's a true testament to the mastery of his acting ability.

Having said that, he does seem to test the persona on rare occasions, where I think I've detected a tiny inkling of cockiness in his reactions to the judges, and how he seems less camp on the show than during interviews. And doesn't all the pre-Idol material somewhat contradictorily paint him as someone very daring, bold, flamboyant and uninhibited? Or is that just his performing alter ego?

Is the pleasant image part of his manipulating masterplan or is it the real Adam?

All the interviews with people who've worked with him suggest the latter. If he were a Machiavellian genius, then surely he would already have broken through as an artist? I've often wondered why he hadn't already been discovered. Could it be because he's such a nice person and hasn't elbowed, hustled and manipulated his way up?

I guess it doesn't matter who Adam Lambert really is, only that we are under his spell. We just feel that he's captured our imaginations by being fascinating, intriguing, exciting and addictive. I can't wait to see how he expresses himself when he's given free reign. In the meantime, we'll just have to settle for whichever side he choses to show us. Just like his music, Adam is fluid and multifaceted, and I suspect that whoever the real Adam Lambert is, will elude definition. It's all part of his mystique.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Top 7 (Part II) Results - Group Performance

The results show was billed to have a group performance choreographed by Paula Adbul, which I looked forward to because I hadn't seen many of Adam's moves so far, especially in a set routine. Ever since I saw his Crazy video, I knew that he would do really well in the dancing department although they'd never allow him to dance like that on the show!

There was a clip showing the preparation for the routine, with Adam doing situps, goofing around and talking about being worked hard and sweating, to which he wiped his forehead with a tissue, mouthing a 'thank you' to whoever it was that handed it to him with a very cheeky and mischievous look on his face. One of his very cute moments.

The routine was set to Michael Jackson's 'Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)' and when the group came on, the first thing I noticed were the silly amateurish clothes. It seemed like a tongue-in-cheek parody, like a bunch of students going to their weekly cheap and cheerful 'Cheesy Funk' night instead of American Idol. Everyone apart from Adam wore sunglasses with most of the outfits just not working, although they were funny. One of the first awkward moments came when Matt sung in his falsetto shortly after the start which, despite being pre-recorded, I thought sounded terrible. Other cringe-inducing moments came from Danny, who should have his arms and legs tied together whenever on stage so he can't even attempt to dance, Kris, who was awkward and completely devoid of rhythm in his solo, and Matt who didn't quite pull off impersonating Justin Timberlake. I thought Lil and Allison did well but Anoop seemed to have a little difficulty in fully committing to his moves.

Adam was by far the best dancer there, with great lines aided by his long, slender frame. He seemed very supple, getting deep down in the knees and his movements were very full, fluid and natural. He had great timing and rhythm. He had a couple of solo parts which I found hilarious. The first was a dance solo and he did a couple of loose-limbed lunges and a wave from fingertip through the arms to fingertip and back, with a funny expression on his face. I thought it was so cheesily OTT and realised he was being intentionally goofy and taking the piss. He reminded me so much of Mr. Tickle then! The other solo was a singing part and he did some Jacko-esque hip-shaking and shoulder-shifting. The routine ended with a lot of hip-thrusts, which Adam did with conviction. He was the only one to appear like he didn't have a spare arm that he didn't know what to do with. All the contestants seemed to really enjoy it, and I was beaming watching what I thought to be Adam just relaxing and having fun because it looked so effortless for him.

I loved the whole routine, which was a fabulous ironic cheese-fest done with attitude right through to the primary-school-project plain white Comic Sans MS graphics in the background. They should definitely get Paula doing more of these in the future!

When it came to announcing who was at the bottom, Adam graciously nodded to his screaming fans and thanked the judges. He then explained a little about how the arrangement of the song wasn't of utmost importance, as long as he was able to honestly emote the lyrics to the audience. He was told to sit down and was safe.

One more Adam appearance I noted was when the Anoop and Lil tribute clips were shown, Adam tenderly touched Lil's face and said some words which made her laugh. It was just another Adam moment to melt my heart.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Paradox Of Obsession

I touched on this briefly in my last post but I'd like to explore it a little more.  In my obsession, I spent the last week going through Adam Lambert on the internet, spending ages trying to second-guess what he was going to do during disco week, reading other people's comments and predictions on various forums and blogs.

A number of comments that I've read have been to the effect that Adam can no longer jump over his own bar but needs to pole-vault over it, thus the last two performances have slightly disappointed some.  We've been looking at his performances through the lens of his previous performances which sets an almost impossible challenge.

If I hadn't been obsessed and continuously speculating and scrutinising Adam's performances, I might have just expected him to do a very good, high energy spin on a disco number and ended up gobsmacked.  But the fact that I had, means I tried to analyse how he was going to play the game, went through the multiple possibilities and came up with a shortlist of three options, loosely categorised as 'showman', 'slow' or 'miscellaneous'.  I'm guessing that many others including myself were hoping for 'miscellaneous', but the fact that he went for 'slow' means that in our minds we had already entertained that possibility, so it was 'predictable'.

I thought Kris's performance was very good.  However, if I were a Kris fan as much as an Adam fan, I would have thought about what he'd do, so that what he did this week was predictable.  He would never have done an upbeat disco number and so the choices for him were to either balladise it or do something with his guitar or piano.  But the fact is that I hadn't been following Kris so I was pleasantly surprised by it.  Do you see what I'm getting at?

Now here's the paradox.  Can you be a massively obsessed fan of Adam AND avoid speculating about what move he's going to make next?  And isn't it the case that the more you speculate, the likelier you are of being disappointed because you've thought about the outcomes so much that whatever he does won't surprise you enough?  If the answers here are 'no' and 'yes', then isn't it impossible for obsessed fans to be completely satisfied, only adding more pressure?

So to feed my Adam obsession, I'm going to have to starve it first by trying to go cold turkey this week, avoiding the temptation to read everything written about him and keeping him away from the microscope.  I think it's better if I don't even know the themes so I can watch him with an open mind, free of preconceived ideas.  Then I'll be able to appreciate him fully, and give him the praise he deserves, no 'buts'. 

Who's with me?

Top 7 (Part II) - If I Can't Have You

We know by now that part of the excitement of Adam is in seeing what he does with his appearance. So far I hadn't been that big a fan of the clean-cut look but my gosh, he looked so fine this week. The suit ensemble was simple but had enough detailing to avoid being generic. I loved the slightly upward-turning shoulder detail and the tailoring of the suit was impeccable. The colour was understated but the material showy. His hair was a bit on the bouffant side but was rougher and not like his pompadour. His look suggested 'classic crooner' but it had a strong Adam edge to it.

I'd seen a few spoilers as I couldn't help myself, and from his look, I guessed he was probably going to do a slow number but I didn't want to be correct because that would make him predictable.

The song started off softly with some very vulnerable tender notes, kind of like silken chocolate melting in your mouth. He sang a verse and then broke into the chorus and the way he built up to the high notes was beautiful. The melody was heartbreaking. There was a single note that I didn't like though, which I felt was a little too harsh and out of place, and that was the highest note - the 'if'. If I were to nit-pick, I would say that he over-enunciated some of the words rather than sing them - perhaps that's what they mean by 'theatrical'. The song seemed to end very quickly after that. I wasn't all that keen on the lighting and camera work as his face was in darkness much of the time, and the camera could have done with less movement and long shots.

*UPDATE*: On seeing the performance on TV for the first time rather than through the internet, the high note didn't sound nearly as harsh and his chest voice was much richer, full and resonant. I want to hear more of it!

Once again, I loved Adam - his look, his vocals and his stage presence but I couldn't help but feel a tinge underwhelmed by the performance for a number of reasons. The biggest reason was the length of the performance. It all seemed a bit too rushed and abrupt for my liking, as if it was a quickie without foreplay. I wanted to see more of Adam sing. There weren't enough verses to reel me into his world and build up the emotion before wrenching at my heart in the chorus and finish. As a result, the song's climax didn't have the impact it should have done.

Another reason is because it was ever so slightly predictable, perhaps even 'safe' by his standards. I can't blame him for this, but rather my pre-performance over-analysis and scrutiny which may have spoiled it. If I weren't so obsessed with him then perhaps I would have expected an uptempo disco number and it would have come as a surprise. Maybe it's because I knew he would go with one of two options rather than just watch with an open mind. Still, I don't want him to fall into a predictable see-saw pattern throughout the weeks. Unlike last week, his performance didn't stand out way above the rest of the pack. There were various song interpretations but a large number of contestants also chose to balladise disco. I think the others are growing and learning from him, giving more of their own spin on their performances.

*UPDATE*: On seeing the show again on TV, I noticed that the other contestants were being much more ambitious with their final note runs but it was painfully obvious that Adam's were in a totally different league. They all measured up so poorly to Adam's final note on Born To Be Wild, which completely blew me away.

My enjoyment of the performance was also heavily hampered by the fact that I was watching it streamed online since I am in the UK. My need for an Adam fix wouldn't allow me to wait a whole two days before he is aired on proper TV. I'm thinking now that perhaps I do need to be patient so I can fully enjoy the Adam Lambert Experience without jerky pixellated visuals and noise-filled audio.

After Adam finished his performance, he wasn't beaming as usual, but seemed a little apprehensive as to what the judges would say. Perhaps it was the emotion or the pressure beginning to affect him. The comments were very positive, but didn't seem to provide useful feedback. He further endeared himself to me by giving credit to the person who helped with the arrangement.

During his confessional, he revealed that he took notes from the judges' comments and was trying to appeal to the masses. I see the performance as being a result of that. He was happy, relaxed and upbeat in it, but it did trouble me that he might end up playing it safe by not going for 'left-field' performances in the future. The appeal and the edge that Adam has is his fearless risk-taking and if he were to tone it down to get more votes, I feel he would compromise his artistic inclinations too much.

Yes, I do have rather unreasonable expectations of Adam now, which are adding to the increasing pressure. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to stop obsessing and picking apart every detail. But Adam means much more than a singer to me. He is an Idol, one who is bold and unapologetic about who he is and I want him to dare to push the envelope out that little bit more. To me, 'Ring of Fire' was a seminal moment and I'd hate for him to allow a single person's comments (Simon's - which I think were exceptionally influential on this occasion because people just didn't know what to think) to make him cautious about venturing into risky territory again. I think in time, people will get to appreciate it more - they just weren't quite ready for it and if he takes a risk like that again, maybe it would be better received. It's an extremely difficult balancing act to undertake -- being true to himself, trying to satisfy his whole spectrum of fans and getting the votes all at the same time.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Run-Up to Top 7 (Part II) - Disco Week

I must say, I've been very nervous for Adam this week.  We've all put him on a pedestal that's so high and I'm so afraid that he might spectacularly fall off.  How can he even meet our expectations when our expectations are now so astronomically high?  How can he meet the expectation that he's supposed to exceed our expectations?  I want to be surprised and thrilled by him but I'm not sure how he can do that.

There were some warning signs last week that perhaps momentum was starting to fizzle.  'Born to be Wild' was great, but I've heard grumbles that it wasn't surprising or inspired enough.  How can we be disappointed in a performance like that?  We're obviously judging him by different standards and using his own yardstick to beat him with.  I mean, are there any contestants who whould have been able to pull off anything close to what he did?  He just skipped onto the stage and gave a high octane performance using unbelievable vocals that have been improving week by week.  Charisma was exploding out of him and the crowd was in a frenzy.  I mean seriously, how can anyone find that disappointing?

Adam is well aware that he might be seen to be turning into a two-trick pony with performances and looks that fall into the category of being OTT or very toned down which have been occurring during alternating weeks.  During disco week, the expectation is that he will give yet another great performance and add to that the pressure that Cowell has put on him by stating that it would suit him better than any of the others.  So what are his options?

He could do a stripped down version of a disco song.  This would seem to keep him in his alternating week pattern.  Would most of the other contestants choose something uptempo and do it very badly so he'd be the breath of fresh air in amongst the mediocrity?  He could avoid being really cheesy by doing this, and perhaps be more popular, but it could signal him falling into a predicatable pattern and losing his edge.

He could go all-out glam on a disco classic and give us a great, exciting performance.  I think it's a bit of a waste if he doesn't go uptempo because I'd like to see it and he should be able to beat everyone else at it.  The problem is that it might not be that popular as slow songs usually seem to do much better.  The question though, is will it be enough for us, or will we grumble about it not having the surprise factor that we expect?

How would he Adamise the song?  He could find a song that's definitely not disco and give it a disco beat and arrangement.  Or conversely, he could take a disco classic and turn it into something else such as electro-pop, punk rock or a even a ballad.  I suspect that drastic changes would be polarising though, and perhaps not provide him with winning votes.

He could give a performance somewhere between the two extremes.  This is kind of risky because he could just end up having a middle-of-the-road performance, but then again, what is Adam without risk?  I'd like to hear him sing something vocally mid-range but still use some of his signature high notes to great effect.  If he did this well, he would break the pattern and maybe give us an element of surprise.

It is Adam I'm talking about though, and my simple mind is nowhere near as creative as his.  So I'm kind of thinking that he'll do none of the above and wow us with something unexpected.  All I know for sure is that it's been a very long week and I can't wait to see what he's going to do next.  I need to satisfy my Adam Lambert obsession, and soon!

Top 7 - Born To Be Wild

Since I'd been sucked into my obsession, I'd spent all week thinking, reading articles and watching videos of Adam. The week's theme was songs from the movies, and I spent quite a lot of time trying to come up with a list of what Adam would sing. One of them that did go through my head was 'Born to be Wild', but I thought that perhaps he would go for a song from one of Tarantino's, since he was going to be the mentor. I decided that I would watch the performance streamed online as I couldn't wait another two days before seeing it on UK TV. I needed my Adam fix. The picture and sound weren't great, but I felt it was better than nothing.

In the intro clip, Adam told us straight away what he was going to sing and what his spin on it would be. I felt a slight tinge of disappointment that he didn't choose something completely insane. Tarantino showed himself to be fan of Adam's, which was quite amusing. Who can blame him? In the rehearsal with the piano, Adam sang a bar of the chorus with a rocker expression and snatched his head back when he was finished. I was stunned by the timbre of his voice, which sounded very rich. I felt a strong yearning to hear him sing a live acoustic set in order to fully appreciate the beauty of his voice. I look forward to hearing his rehearsal as well as the performance.

Adam started off shaking a leg whilst facing the background screen that was lit up with lightning. From the start, the song was fast and catchy, and Adam skipped forward to the front of the stage to sing. He wore thick eyeliner and trainers for the first time, which surprised me and hinted at Indie Kid rather than All-Out Rocker. He looked a little spooky and maintained a hard expression for much of the performance. The camera mainly had shots of him above the waist so I could only really guess what he was doing with his legs, but I'm guessin there was a fair amount of hip shaking going on. He did some stomping, jumped around and did some headbanging, getting the band and backing singers to do the same. I thought the performance would have been better without the backing vocals because they didn't seem quite in tune with Adam's unbelievable pitch-perfect vocals, some of which he dramatised and may have been the reason for Simon's 'Rocky Horror' comment. How the hell can he move about like that and manage to sing in tune? His voice control is just out if this world. It was a very exciting and energetic performance, building up to the most amazing finish. The last 'wild' was just jaw-dropping, leading up to the most amazing final note run. That last note was sung on his knees and completely blew me away. How can someone be that brilliant a live singer and performer? There were absolutely no shaky notes in the whole of that. He hit every single one with verve. The crowd was in a frenzy and I was in shock for a little while afterwards.

At the end of the performance, he gave us his signature beaming smile and blew a kiss to the crowd. Paula was jumping around and screaming like a groupie. Being the consummate professional that he is, Adam managed to calm down and detach from the performance, earnestly focussing all his attention to the judges. Paula's comments were rather garbled but Simon had a huge grin on his face. He did his best to talk down the performance in his duty to keep the competition going, despite the fact that he blatantly loved it. Ryan managed to get him to admit that he liked the performance in the end. I thought that Adam showed diplomacy when Simon was trying to justify his negativity through jeers. He told us all that he understood where Simon was coming from and in doing so, gave him respect.

My Adam obsession was reaching fever pitch and I was starting to think about what he would choose to do next. He's certainly the most talented, intriguing, inspiring and intoxicating artist I've heard in a long time. It seems there's nothing he can't do.

Swallowed into the Vortex of Obsession

Despite the fact that I'd watched the Mad World performance on TV, the repeats, and the +1 channel repeats, I still wanted to see more, so I decided to try to watch it on the channel online.  It wasn't available on the ITV2 website so I decided to Google him.


That was it, the point of no return.  I had been snatched from where I was sitting, and sucked deep into the Adam Lambert phenomenon.  The first things I saw were stories about the standing ovation, questions about his sexuality and an almost endless array of videos.

I saw the pictures of him kissing a guy and contrary to my usual instinct of being a little turned off, I found them so HOT!  I didn't care that he was kissing a guy.  He looked intense and passionate, and I could only wish I was on the receiving end of those kisses, sharing those intimate moments with him.  I saw other photos of him looking androgynous, in fancy dress, glammed up, in drag, in very little, and he just looked beautiful.  I couldn't help but admire him for having the gall to boldly and unapologetically do that.  His makeup was always exquisitely done, his hair and costumes dazzling, and photoshoots both stunning and alluring.

I started going through the abundance of videos and was astounded by his talent and moved by his performances.  I was glued to my computer watching every single video and ended up getting very little sleep.  What sleep I did have was invaded by thoughts of Adam.  My waking thoughts the next day were intruded upon by Adam and I realised I'd got sucked deep into the vortex of obsession.  My days were filled with finding out everything about Adam and I felt ashamed to have been turned into a cyberstalker.  I looked up his MySpace and Facebook pages, even decided to add him as a friend, knowing — but hoping otherwise — that it was a fake.  I started lurking around forums and fan sites, reading every news article about him and regularly checking Google for anything new.  I read reviews of his performances, re-watched old performances, dug out videos of television features, listened to audio snippets, read interviews by people who knew him, read his brother's blog and even looked up the recipient of his affection from the photos.  I wholeheartedly submitted to my obsession and continued to feed and indulge in it.  I've lost count of how many Adam related sites have made it into my bookmarks.  I wondered how far it would go and whether my obsession would reach a saturation point after which I would get Adam fatigue and be cured.  Not that I really wanted to be cured yet - I was reassured by many others on the internet that I was not alone in this insanity and therefore didn't feel an immediate urge to get a grip.

That's the thing with the internet - you can feel so superficially close to someone, know every detail about them but really be oceans apart.  You can contact them, read things they've written, see photos and videos of them but know in real life you're unlikely to ever meet them and even if you do, they may never live up to the pedestal you've put them on.  It's a compulsive resource of almost unlimited information.

I found it hard to reconcile my irrational behaviour with my usual logical and level-headed self.  What is it about Adam Lambert that is so compelling?  What is it about him that sends people to the edge of insanity in their idol worship and to veer so far off the path of rationality?

First we have to look at the person we think we see.  The performer who is extremely talented, focussed, professional, bold, flamboyant, self-assured, eloquent and charismatic.  All these are admirable qualities.  Then we have, in contrast to his performance persona, his alter ego of being a very humble, articulate, vulnerable, sweet, caring, charming, sensitive and funny guy who we want to hug and fiercely protect.  We all want to know him and want to be his friend.  Then there are his ever-changing looks.  He styles himself well and with attitude, regularly changing and refusing to conform to any particular stereotype.  He is not classically handsome but there's a certain mysterious charm and intensity about his expression, especially in his bright blue eyes.  He has a heartwarming smile and a cute laugh.  And there's the whole sexual aura about him.  Whatever his orientation, there's no denying that he makes some people feel a little uncomfortable because he strongly exudes a passionate sexuality and is desired by gay, straight and bi men and women alike.  Whatever part of him we see, we can all admire the fact that he always seems uncompromisingly himself, daring to be different and wearing it all on his sleeve.  We would all like to be a bit more like him but most of us lack the talent and the guts.

Then there's the timing.  In 2009, there's a sea change in world order and our attitudes.  We are all interdependent and there's a new optimism with the election of Obama of how Americans are perceived.  People have been preparing for change and are more ready to embrace what's different.  With global finances in turmoil and recession-hit people struggling by to hold onto their homes, people need fresh hope.  We're ready for something fresh and new.  Adam Lambert in many ways embodies the American dream.  He has paid his dues working in plenty of dead-end jobs and had struggled for many years to break out as an artist and not quite managing to get there.  In those years, he continuously developed and honed his skills, whilst embarking on a journey of experimentation and self-discovery in order to get to where he is today.  He's spoken of a mid-to-late 20s crisis that many of us can identify with, (I certainly can, and that's when I decided to up and leave) of being shit-is-this-all-the-fuck-there-is-for-the-rest-of-my-life disillusioned with ourselves, our routines, lifestyle and future prospects.  We respect him because he decided to chase the dream while many of ours are left forgotten and disintegrating at the back of the sofa.

And there's the music.  It seems that his music preferences span so many genres and generations.  As an artist he has enough talent to be able to seamlessly span and move between the different genres, giving him broad appeal.  His fans cross subcultures from glam rockers to hippies to indie kids to the musical theatre crowd to the club scene, which include teenagers, grannies, and anyone in between.  There are also those that are staunch adversaries against the commercial drivel that is American Idol, but who have been converted into avid fans, such is his appeal.  He has increased the audience, injecting credibility into the AI machine, and seems firmly in control.  He's the most exciting, talented and dynamic artist to have entered into the mainstream consciousness in a long time, and we're going along for the ride because we want to be thrilled by the adventure he'll take us on.

Finally, there's the 'It' factor.  It's a bit of cliché, but he has it in droves.  He truly has superstar quality that no words are quite able to capture or define.  It's what's driven me to create this blog and left me bewildered as to how the hell I got here.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Top 8 - Mad World

The subject of the week's song was so broad, I really didn't have a clue what the contestants were going to sing. I didn't know in which years they were born, as at this point, I hadn't yet rollercoastered into obsession.

My eyes were on Adam once again, and he was wearing a much softer look with light colours, with a Beatles-like hair styling. He looked cute but I wasn't too keen on the scarf.

The introductory clip showed photos of Adam as a young, blonde, freckled child wearing multiple costumes. It revealed that as a child, he loved dressing up and was quite hyperactive, to which his parents responded by getting him involved in theatre. His father wryly mentioned that he wasn't into sports and revealed a very dry sense of humour. I was hit by Adam's honesty in openly admitting that he liked to dress up, perform and be the centre of attention rather than do the usual alpha-male sporty activites.

I didn't know what song he was going to sing until he came on to perform. When it was announced, I was gleeful in anticipation. I really love the Gary Jules version of Mad World, which I remember was a Christmas number 1 in the UK. It's a beautiful song with a very haunting vocals set against simple piano chords

When Adam appeared, he was sat on a chair on the middle of the stage bathed in an ethereal blue light from behind. I couldn't work out what was going on to begin with, because his legs and the seat seemed to merge with the stage. It looked like his whole mid-section was missing, and the top of his torso was perched on two extremely skinny and short legs that were very far apart. There was also something a bit Close Encounters about the blue spotlight.

At the start of the performance, his voice sounded quite breathy and a little restrained, with a very faint echo effect. His face was in darkness for most of it with the focus being on his vocals, but you could really feel the emotion emanating out of his well-controlled, chilling voice and what little of his expressions you could make out. It sounded very much like the Gary Jules version so far, so I wondered how he would put his stamp on it. My question was answered when he sang 'nervous', a truly spine-tingling moment and one that caught me off-guard. He slowly built the song up and gave me a goosebumped heart-stopping moment during his crescendo 'Look right through me'. That 'me' was such a powerful moment which I didn't expect, and didn't exist in the original. The end of the song tailed off in its haunting manner. Even though the last note was ever so slightly sharp before he corrected it, it was a truly mesmerising, moving performance. It felt like a culmination of everything coming together for him on the night. A perfectly chosen song choice that wasn't obvious, not quite mainstream, which suited him. He changed enough of it and improved on the melody and emphasis to make us remember it. He captivated the audience by taking us into his world by understanding and feeling the song. I felt like he sang it from the depths of his heart and he made us empathise with the alienation the song painted, making us believe he felt like an outsider and was never fully accepted. I saw his performance as reaching out to the area of his audience who felt like that, and I thought he became a role model for them.

He gave his bright smile after the performance and seemed happy with it and the audience reaction. When Simon gave him the standing ovation, he seemed a little overwhelmed by it all, taking a few deep breaths. He seemed very earnest in his thanks in reponse to the comments which increased my respect for him. This was a performance that I wanted to watch again.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Top 9 - Play That Funky Music

I found myself quite excited once again, eagerly anticipating what Adam would do this week. After all, he's the reason why I bother tuning in to the show. I wasn't really sure about what the theme was beforehand, and even on the show, I didn't quite know because I missed or tuned out of the introduction part.

Adam was styled his hair into a pompadour again, and was quite funkily dressed, wearing some bright contrasting colours and flares. In the introduction clip, I was pleased that he chose to do something upbeat and when he sang a couple of bars perfectly, I couldn't wait. I just love that voice of his which was high and powerful. I was slightly concerned about what he would do with the song though, because I love it, especially the bassline.

The stage was lit with psychedelic graphics which added to the retro-funk feel of his look. He began the song by writhing a little then strutted about with panache. His voice was strong and had a hint of gravelly tone to it. The song had more of a rock feel to it than the original and when he got to the chorus, its pace picked up and his pitch increased, providing some of his amazing signature high notes. I was happy there was quite a bit of hip swivelling going on and he broke out some aspects of the funky chicken and bow-legged shuffles across the stage. It was an incredibly lively and fun performance, and I was astonished that he managed those extremely difficult vocal acrobatics in pitch perfect fashion. That last note went on for so long, and the run just left me flabbergasted.

Adam seemed very happy after the performance as he seemed to really enjoy it. The comments from the judges were good, and Simon got as close as possible to a compliment without explicitly providing one. I love the way he always seems very serious and modest when listening to the judges, when he could so easily be smug. He made a point of thanking the band, which earned him even more respect from me, if that's possible!

Top 10 - Tracks of My Tears

When Adam first appeared on this episode as he came on stage, I wondered where he was. It took me a while before I recognised that he was wearing a completely different look to what we'd seen before. Like all great artists, he revealed his ability to re-invent himself and adapt. I realised that Adam is as much about fashion as he is about music and we would not only be looking forward to hearing him sing but also seeing what he would wear. He's the only contestant who already has a strong, well-honed image about him and I can only praise his skills in styling. When you look at the other contestants, they often look slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable, as if their mothers had forced them to wear clothes they didn't like.

The mentor this week was Smokey Robinson, and Adam rather bravely dared to do one of his songs. Smokey must be ancient by now, but was dressed in very casual clothes. I couldn't believe how well preserved he looked. It's like he's an android with wrinkle-free skin and bright blue eyes. Adam's voice on the preview clip was velvety beautiful and his expressions showed a very soft side. Adam seemed very attentive to what Smokey had to say, and Smokey was impressed with Adam, saying that his version was original because he stayed tender, forsaking the usual crescendo. When asked about what inspired him to write the song, Smokey completely missed the point of the question and explained what the song meant instead. Adam politely accepted being left in the dark by the explanation and responded with an 'oof' to the magintude of pain described.

Adam was dressed in a shiny grey suit and black shirt, with slicked back Elvis-like hair. A very clean-cut look but with elements of edginess from his ring, earrings and a lightning-shaped pendant. This guy certainly knows how to accessorise. He was sat on a stool at the end of a line consisting of the band. I felt myself hold my breath when he came on and throughout the performance. His voice was sweet and sounded vulnerable, slightly shaky at points, on baby and need but that's just my perfectionism speaking. The acoustic arrangement complemented his vocals well as he generously used his falsetto. There were a lot of close-up shots of his face and he seemed completely immersed in the song. I felt temporarily transported into his world and was moved. His last note was just incredible, sending a shiver down my spine. How can anyone hold a note like that? I thought with his strained face on the final note, he looked like Leonardo di Caprio.

Adam thanked the band as they left, as Smokey led the audience to its feet, and rightly so. All the judges gushed as Adam stood on the stage looking rather shy. He seemed a little taken aback by their comments and was very appreciative of them, thanking the judges. He seems to be such a genuinely sweet and humble person.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Top 11 - Ring of Fire

I made sure I didn't miss Adam's performance this time. It was country week and I was very intrigued and excited by how he would deal with this genre. I've never been a fan of country or the whole demographic I associate (predominantly white republican hicks, rednecks, bible-bashing puritans and conservatives twanging their way through songs of heartbreak) with it, and I didn't see it be his thing either.

When he described the sitar arrangement I felt even more excited because it would be a chance for him to stick his fingers up at the world of country and do his own anti-country thing. When I heard the piano accompaniment in the introduction, it sounded slightly menacing and when I heard his voice in the rehearsal, he sounded very seductive. Randy Travis seemed terrified. I couldn't wait and was salivating with anticipation.

On he came and I loved the whole anti-country look. The introduction was brooding, lurking and slightly sinister, and when he started to sing, I thought I was witnessing something quite special. He shifted into a minor key which I thought was genius as it made it sound dark. The first of the jumps into his high notes startled me but was brilliantly executed and bang on. His voice was powerful and built up to a masterful crescendo. The swirling camera movement and graphics were hypnotic but luring. I loved Adam's interpretation of the song. To me, the lyrics of 'Ring of Fire' are about being consumed by dark, sexual, forbidden obsessive passion and the danger. His vocals captured all of these things in his performance and more, which the original jolly upbeat version didn't to me.

The whole performance was mesmerising, sizzling and screamed out 'SEX!' He reminded me of Jim Morrison flirting with the camera. He teased with his slithering snake hips and by allowing us to see a flash of his stomach. When he finished, I felt gobsmacked. WOW! That was incredible. Did he just invade my private space, strip me, stroke me, tease me, passionately seduce me and all but fuck me, leaving me aching for him to take me and just do me whichever way he pleased? It was other-worldly and I yearned more of the mysterious creature that is Adam Lambert. It was so hot, I needed a cold shower afterwards.

It was unbelieveably risqué for prime-time but I absolutely loved it! At the same I felt that he was also giving a 'Fuck You!' to the whole American Idol phenomenon of churning out identikit, commercial, manufactured, safe, creatively barren, middle-of-the-road tat and doing things on his own terms and I love him for it. To me he wasn't only performing, but he made a very, very ballsy and bold statement. GENIUS!

He seemed very happy with his performance and curious about how it was received. The reception reminded me of that scene in Back to the Future where Marty goes back in time and does his guitar solo at the prom. Everyone just stared and wasn't quite sure what hit them. People were confused and were questioning what it was that they'd just been witness to. They were weirded out and struggling to find ways to label the performance. People were lost for words. When has a reality show contestant ever done something like that? That was definitely not country, but was it vaguely rock? I guess many people aren't yet ready for him.

That's one of the many things I love about Adam Lambert, you can't place a label on him, you can't define him in terms of things that already exist. He is just him, bold and uncompromising. You just want to follow him down the rabbit hole and discover more. The Ring of Fire describes where his fans have been teased and consumed. I'm there wanting more and there's no way out. This guy is a true superstar and compels you to keep watching.

Top 13 - Black Or White

I didn't think too much beforehand about what Adam was going to sing, as I still wasn't really that into all the details of American Idol. After watching a few semi-decent performances on the show, I switched over briefly to watch Dexter, which the show clashed with. I was gutted when I switched back and realised I'd missed the highlight of the show - Adam's performance of Black or White. I just managed to hear some of the comments afterwards. I decided to watch the repeat on the +1 channel and I thought it was great. The theatrics, the vocals, the dancing, the look - they were all incredible and it was a captivating performance.

He seemed to really love being up on the stage, beaming afterwards and the way he took in the comments was really sweet. I thought he looked like he was quite overcome with emotion. He showed himself to be extremely charming and genuinely surprised, chuffed and relieved by the positive reception, without false modesty or melodrama.

Satisfaction (Part II)

It came to a choice between Norman and Adam and I was disappointed that one of them had to go. There was no questioning Adam's talent but I also enjoyed Norman's theatrics and the way he pissed Simon off. I guess it's the 'John Sargeant' part of me that wanted him to stay in the competition to make it interesting. I think they made a big mistake in getting rid of him.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Satisfaction (Part I)

Adam was the last to perform on the show and boy was he worth the wait. The preceding performances were OK, some a bit lacklustre, some bland. He decided to perform a song by his mum's favourite band, which I thought was quite sweet. It was a little concerned that it might just end up seeming like a poor version of the original but Adam's performance just knocked me out, he was brilliant and totally rocked. He strutted around the stage, flirted at the camera and those vocals... WOW! Unbelievable and spot-on. At times I thought his movements and expressions were mimicking Mick Jagger's but he managed to pull it off with gusto. I really didn't see what Simon was going on about with regards to parts of it being excruciatingly bad or terrible. Where? I loved the look, the lip-curling, the vocal interpretation, the stage presence, charisma, the moves and the high-tempo energy of it all. It was exciting and for me it was the first time he managed to bring everything together to show us the whole package.

The only thing that didn't quite seem to fit was the audience and in that respect I see where Paula and Randy's comments were coming from. He wasn't over the top, it was American Idol that was waaaay beneath him. The American Idol audience just didn't seem worthy of him and his perfomance was much too great for such a small TV talent show audience. None of the other contestants came anywhere close, and I'd never seen anyone else pull something off like he did in this kind of competition. I found myself asking why he hadn't already been discovered. He received the comments graciously and positively, and seemed to be very different to his performing persona, showing a shyer alter ego, but did assert himself when it came to Simon's comments about polarising the audience.

I became hooked, watched the repeat on ITV2+1 and couldn't wait to see his next performance, deciding that he's by far the most exciting contestant on any show.

The Chair

Added 01/08/09
This is the moment that Adam realised he'd made it into the semi-final which I'm adding now as requested and for completeness. He seemed a little impatient when strung along for suspense by Simon. He appeared quite confident but relieved when told he'd made it through and as always, worked the room and looked fabulous.

Hollywood Week - Believe

Going into Hollywood week, I remembered that Adam was one of the handful of contestants I was interested in seeing from the previous audition. He was singing Cher's 'Believe' and again, I thought 'Oh no!' because I really dislike that song with its synthesised vocals and thought it was a pretty gay song choice. Again, I was shocked by how well he sang when he nailed quality notes and was emotive and moving. When he hit the first high note 'love', I felt a tingle, it was beautiful. Still I wasn't sure if the song suited his style and his timing lagged ever so slightly.

Group Stage - Some Kind of Wonderful

I had to wait through a lot of rubbish performances and bitching between contestants before getting to see a little of Adam's performance. I looked forward to seeing him sing and I wasn't disappointed. This was the performance that first revealed to me his incredible vocal capabilities and range. Again, he surprised me by how soulful he sounded and the song really worked for his voice even though I felt there was a slight contradiction between how he looked and the choice of song. You just don't expect a goth rocker to be able to sing like that!

The Audition - Bohemian Rhapsody

I remember it was a bit of a poor show so far and many of the contestants were rubbish. On came Adam Lambert, who I thought was a bit of an angsty punky goth. He seemed quite confident about being able to become the next American Idol. I had formed my first impressions on him before even before he started to sing. I expected him to sing some punk rock or something gothy, and I didn't expect him to be any good.

He tells us he's going to sing Bohemian Rhapsody and it gives me visions of tone-deaf drunken karaoke and Wayne's World headbanging, and I think 'Oh, no! Another rubbish audition.' I await the car crash moment. It just shows how wrong the assumptions we draw from first impressions can be. He opened his mouth and I was pleasantly taken aback by the quality of his voice. It was a great audition, strong, well controlled and pitch perfect, and there was a 'Wow!' that snatched at my breath. The surprise aside, I then half-agreed with Simon's comment of his voice being theatrical because I don't think the song suits auditions and it didn't seem to fit in with his demeanour. I thought he was one to watch though.

EDIT: For user-friendliness, I've added my edit of all the audition pieces put together which was originally posted back in June. Some other thoughts I've had on re-watching the audition are that Adam seems tired and sounds strangely monotonous in the pre-audition interview. Being a fellow night owl myself, I take it that it's his aversion to early mornings. Even back then, he demonstrated his ability to work his magic on the judges and adapted to deal with each in a different way. Kara's blatantly flirting with Adam who flirts back sweetly but doesn't actually kiss her hand. He keeps it friendly with Randy, who creepily seems a little too determined to test out his gaydar theory. He fanboys over Paula, who has a rare moment of clarity when she's blown away by him and says he's the best they'd seen in every city, and Simon who he treats with reverence is just his negative self but admits falling under his spell when he says 'Oh he's had us' around the 4:02 mark.

Introducing the Author

I have never been a fan of reality TV and wouldn't consider myself a fan of TV talent shows. In fact, I would accuse myself of being a bit of a snob when it comes to music and have rarely cared for the commercial drivel that's in the pop charts, which seem to be a parade of uninspiring ballads, teenybopper acts and mediocre bands. It's all been done before and much better. As far as I'm concerned, there's been little or no excitement in the world of pop music and nothing really original since the 80s. The 90s was all about the re-hashing, re-doing and re-mixing of the previous generations' genres and the noughties, with some exceptions, seem to be going like that as well. Of course, there have been plenty of exciting alternative movements, especially in dance, that sometimes penetrate the mainstream but there has been nothing massive. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would strongly disagree with me on this one though.

My life a number of years ago was London, and I spent most of my money and time going out, socialising, partying and chasing fun and excitement. I hardly ever watched TV. I used to go clubbing a lot, I loved dancing and often ended up at hip-hop, drum'n'bass, latin, blues, funk, and reggae nights. I was never a big fan of house, trance or techno. The whole social scene has changed though and I believe the era of clubbing is dead. Is it the lack of quality music to dance to? Are we just tired of the often obscene prices of going clubbing? Or is it just because my peer group and I are getting old (we've reached 30) and tired of it all? Big clubs were closing down well before the credit crunch era and people switched to going to bars instead. Now people are just staying in.

I felt that I was getting London fatigue, and so were my friends, so I decided to leave the country to do some travelling. Thinking of Samuel Johnson, I didn't want to feel tired of life. So I quit everything then upped and left by myself. It was a great experience. I was away for a year and a half but my travels were painfully cut short because of my mother's health so I had to return.

My mother is heartbreakingly slipping further away each day. I've moved back in with my parents to help out and give support. As a result, I've not gone looking for work and have hardly been out or seen my friends.  I've been in this stasis for many months now and between grief and comtemplating what to do next with my life, spend more time than I've ever done in front of the TV. In fact my schedule these days almost revolves around what's on TV. There are things that I watch out of habit rather than actual enjoyment, such as Neighbours and entertainment shows such as The X Factor and the latest series of Heroes. I ended up watching the X Factor by wanting to see if I was any good at spotting talent.  I spotted the talent of Alexandra Burke in the group stage with her rendition of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", which moved me and I thought she'd win it on that performance.  She was the eventual winner and rightly so, even though she was proper ditzy.

After a brief hiatus of talent shows, along came American Idol and I was hit by the outstanding talent of Adam Lambert. The seeds of this blog were planted and gradually, I was hooked and fiercely reeled into the phenomenon that is Adam Lambert.

General Comments

Posted 01/07/09 15:35
I've had a bit of writer's block since getting out of hospital because it took quite a heavy toll on my ability to think straight (obsessively?) again. There's been so much media to analyse and I'm constantly playing catch-up, which is why I gave myself something quite mechanical to do with the video. I thought about calling it a day because there are so many Adam websites that are much more on the pulse but I've been encouraged by your comments and realised I just needed a bit more time to get back into the flow. I'm setting up this post as one for general comments and suggestions or ideas that aren't related to specific posts. I'll move it when I write my next post but I'll keep linked on the 'Welcome' section on the right.