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.