Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Top 5 - Feeling Good
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!