Sunday, 31 May 2009

Mad World, Mad World, Mad World, Mad World

UPDATE:  Since we've been dubbed 'completists', here is one more to add to the Mad World collection.  Adam is on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, again with Michael Orland complementing on piano.  I think I'm gradually falling in love with the gently undulating instrumentals almost as much as Adam's vocals.  This is a very slow version marred slightly by the audience cheer at the big note.  His bewitching voice is soft and beautifully haunting.

This post is really one for those of you who are completely obsessed, especially if you watch it all the way to the end!

One good thing about Adam not having been crowned AI is that he hasn't had to sing No Boundaries on the press tour.  Although he hasn't dissed it outright, he's managed to tactfully wriggle around providing his frank opinion of the song by saying it's 'difficult to sing live', 'has lots of lyrics', and 'he wouldn't have chosen that as the final song of the season'.  So instead of being forced to sing a song that blatantly wasn't written with him in mind and doesn't suit him, we've been treated to several performances of Mad World.

The first performance was an outdoor one from the CBS Early show in New York.  There are a number of videos in addition to this one which show him warming up and doing sound checks where we get more of an insight into how he controls each aspect of his performance.  Even when just warming up, the clarity of his tone is quite astounding.  This rendition is a really beautiful one and I actually prefer the simplicity of just him and a piano to the arrangement we had on the show.

The next one is a performance on Good Day New York.  The sound mix here seems better than what was achieved on the show, and even the studio recording.  There are some small differences between this one and the last one in the phrasing, timing and melody.  I prefer Michael Orland's piano here because he's removed much of the beat so it's much smoother and flowing.  It's more mellow and there's a sadder, more subdued feeling to it, created by that and by Adam's gentle vocals.  His voice is stunning.

Next is Adam performing on Regis and Kelly with the same pianist as the CBS show.  The pianist sticks more along the lines of the Gary Jules version by keeping the rhythm more central rather than smoothing it out.  This gives the song a more depressing feel because it it accentuates the repetition and routine of being trapped in miserable life.  Adam again sounds different here and has varied the verses by bringing in the chorus earlier.  I think they went a little overboard with the reverb on this, but it adds to the haunting effect.

Adam at the Today Show and warm-up.  Here his breathtaking voice sounds so tender and silky smooth.  He seems to vary the lyrics with each performance, making each one unique.  This one is slower paced with Michael Orland back as the pianist who again really makes the song flow.  Adam takes us on a dream-like journey through heartbreaking sadness and melancholia.  This feels like his most vulnerable performance and I think it might be my favourite of this lot.

Well, he made sure he nailed the final note on all of those performances.  I'm happy that by not winning, Adam has managed to choose what song to associate himself with, which is a song that suits and resonates with him, enabling him to move people.  I think he chose the right song to do on the press tour because it's evocative without being too strenuous on his voice.  No Boundaries has quite a range and I can see how it could cause problems if you had to sing it repeatedly.  And it can never be a good thing to be tarred with a song you don't like, to introduce yourself to the world as a recording artist.

Now, if you're a Lambosessive who scored highly in the test, I expect, like me, you'll try playing the videos simultaneously just to work out the tiny differences.  Go on, you know you want to!

Friday, 29 May 2009

An Awkward Predicament

Before the end of the AI season, I was dreading the disappearance of Adam regularly gracing our TV screens and was hungry for anything I could get.  The floodgates have since been opened and there's been a barrage of photos, interviews, articles and TV appearances to pore over, whereas during AI, he was shielded from the press and his appearances were controlled and in manageable chunks.  It's been so much more exhausting to follow than before, especially as I'm also trying to catch up on life in general.  We've been spoilt so far, but when the interview circuit comes to an end and news dries up, I'll become increasingly reliant on fans posting concert videos and - gasp - hounding by the evil paparazzi to feed my obsession.  I'm hoping that Adam could stifle that demand somewhat, by communicating with us regularly and directly via his website.  A vlog/blog would be ideal.

Will our collective thirst and fixation fuel a source of misery or worse, even danger?  This is the predicament, although part of me wants to live in denial and wash my hands of all responsibility, believing it should rest entirely within the conscience of the paparazzi.  Who am I kidding?  It's my demand that drives them.  OK, so Adam can more than hold his own and has been very accommodating in his encounters with TMZ, maybe even revelling in baiting them.  In all his interviews, he's been lightning fast on his feet, navigating all the difficult questions with flair and he has an intuitive knack of being able to instantly flip the dynamic in an instant.  Celebrities and the paparazzi have a symbiotic relationship, needing each other, and from Pop Goes the Camera, Adam knows what to expect.  But there was one incident last week that was just disturbing and involved a video showing some paps pursuing Adam's car, which I won't link to for obvious reasons.  His driver was doing his best to shake them off, with manoeuvres that could qualify as dangerous driving offences, but was unsuccessful.  Part of me likes to believe that Adam enjoyed playing with them, excitedly laughing his ass off, getting his driver to lure the paps on a wild goose chase just for fun.  But another part is horrified too.  Have we all forgotten about Diana?  I do not want Adam joining the 27 Club.  Yes I have an insatiable desire for all things Adam, but is it really worth all that for the possibility of a couple more photographs?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Big Question That Just Won't Fuck Off

One of the first questions during the press conference just after the final results show was relating to Adam's sexuality.  Since then, it's been a recurring interview theme to ask questions that dance around the subject.  None of the interviewers will ask the question directly because there's no way you can ask the question without sounding like a complete dick.  Even Ryan Seacrest has hidden behind the pretence of asking him whether it affected his chances of winning.  For someone who claims to lack a filter, Adam is very savvy and has tactfully handled his questions in the best manner possible with his charm and quick wit, and he's been successful at somewhat deflecting the question and bringing the focus back onto his music and style.  He seems to enjoy playing the media, teasing them, giving them plenty, but keeping the unequivocal answer they seek just agonisingly out of grasp whilst showing them to be the stupid fools they are, but I wonder how long he can maintain it before the question ends up wearing him down.  I'm finding it yawningly tiresome and I'm not even the one being asked.  When the analysis of the results has finished, what will they use next to try to beat the answer out of him?  I have a horrible feeling that the pressure is going to keep building, they're going to keep pummelling him and it's not going to stop until he gives the answer.

For any sentient being who has bothered to look, the answer to the big question is glaringly obvious.  Adam's told us he's not hiding anything and he's given us an abundance of allusions for us to draw our conclusions from.  We've seen plenty of photos, he's never tried to deny or cover anything up and he's told us he has nothing to hide, it's not an issue for him.  A quick look at what was his MySpace page leaves us in no doubt.  He's changed a load of lyrics in the songs he's done to become gender neutral.  He loves Gossip Girl and dressing up.  Some of his responses have all but been a full-on declaration.  There's little in the way of ambiguity.  To the question 'Do you think your sexuality affected your chances of winning?' he's acknowledged the question and gone on to answer it, not take issue with the question.  His role model is Harvey Milk and he has talked about ACIGC representing new civil rights issues.  When asked whether he was bi-curious, he answered Laura Saltman with a flirtatious look, telling her she was helping him with that.  When asked about the elephant of a question, he told us it was pink, which made me laugh.  It was sharp, witty and very clear in its message.  Come on!  What more do they want?  Do they seriously need a public display of sodomy?

Adam has such class and does not need to be dragged down to the level to get that pointless elusive headline.  I mean, does he really need to spell it out letter by letter for inane assholes?  The media persistence and its obsession with being able to correctly pigeonhole him really pisses me off.  Who - apart from those hungry for a big headline - actually wants or needs explicit confirmation?  It really isn't necessary to state the obvious and the fact that it is so obvious and the media are still hunting it down only serves to make it seem all the more ridiculous.  We know he is sex personified and it's really not important to pinpoint the category he fits neatly into.  His sexuality is such a non-issue for most of those who care and is only significant in the way it affects his art.  I really hope he doesn't succumb to the pressure and never explicitly proclaims his sexuality because I just find the idea of a front page declaration vulgar and tacky.  I think it would essentially undermine part of his mystique if he places himself within the confines of a box.  Like his art, he doesn't belong in any box and I hope he continues to evade the stupid label they're trying to pin on him.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Final Results Show

Well it's been a looooong time coming, apologies, but here's my very overdue review of the final results show. Hope the revisit helps with the withdrawal symptoms.

It was a horrible feeling I had going into this one. It would be the last time I would see Adam perform for a very long time and I would no longer be able to speculate on his song choice, wardrobe and hair. I'd heard rumours about some crazy wardrobe choices and a duet with KISS. I was looking forward to the performances and to him being crowned the winner. I noticed that at the start, they graphics seemed to depict both contestants like it was an election, with Adam's RoF hell pitted against Kris's heavenly blue background, maybe the type of showdown the producers were rumoured to have wanted.

The first wardrobe choice I found was a little bit strange. When Adam and Kris walked down the steps, they were dressed heard to toe in white and it looked like they were either wearing matching pyjamas or Clockwork Orange jumpsuits. On closer inspection, Adam was wearing patent silver boots that I later found out were supposedly flown in especially from Antwerp. There were some technical problems because the mics weren't working.

When it was time for the first act, it made more sense that they were all in white and the only clothing that wasn't, were Adam's boots. Even without them, he looked like a rock star, owning the stage when he was jumping around and with his kneeling close-up when he punched the air. When the others went down to the platform behind the judges, Adam stayed on stage guiding Scott. It felt like Adam got a little bit more camera time than anyone else and being the tallest and in the centre of the stage certainly helped. Besides, the camera just loves him.

Adam's next appearance was a slightly comedic clip where he was pretending to wind a lever to spin the trophy that Kris held. Ryan spoke to Adam's parents and Adam's mother was wearing some black rocker gloves with her outfit, and his father had painted his nails, which I loved. I wondered whether the fact that Adam's parents are divorced and so couldn't really play happy families had any negative impact on the result.

I found the package of Adam's journey quite moving as it painted him out to be a great, groundbreaking artist who shook up the show. We were reminded that Adam faithfully fulfilled the promise he made at the start by using his ideas to twist up old songs and surprise us. It seemed very much like a sentimental winner's package down to the soundtrack of Viva La Vida and the shot of his gloved hand punching the air at the end. I felt a tinge of reflective sadness as I watched it, seeing how he has developed and how I would miss following his journey on a weekly basis.

When Adam graced the stage for his performance of Beth, it was a Moment even before he started singing. The sea of the audience stood up in waves of anticipation and applause in his presence, as if they knew they were about to witness something special. The camera looked up at him from below as he stood majestic and statuesque like a deity serenely surveying his subjects. He was radiant and absolutely beautiful with his movements relaxed. It felt like he was finally completely comfortable, standing proud, confident, truly being himself with heartfelt sincerity. He gave us a knowing look with a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-them cheeky eyebrow twitches. That look told me he knew me and knew what lay in my deepest and darkest recesses and that he understood. The glint in his eyes also made it as obvious as possible without a formal declaration what he meant by playing all night with him and the boys, come join us if you dare. He seemed to emanate a happiness, an inner peace and it was the first time I'd felt that magical connection. The simple piano accompaniment highlighting the clarity and effortlessness of his gorgeously low, rich and slightly grainy vocals only added to his splendour.

When I was able to notice the clothing, I was amazed by his industrial rhinestone shoulder cages / angel wings worn over a black aligator-skin top that had a matching rhinestone trim. It was teamed up with his fingerless gloves, his biker trousers from Cryin' and his glittery gold Zodiac Show platforms. Glambert! His eyes were surrounded with glistening jewels and he wore sparkly handcuffs where his belt-loop chains would normally be. I thought this was symbolic of his finally being free and unshackled in expressing himself without the pressure or judgement of competition. The shot from behind made his hunched posture portray him as a very lonely but gentle figure. From the front, his platforms gave him extra height, and the camera angles of the bright lights above and behind him and his towering over us with his angel wings, made him seem like a supreme being. Everything about his performance suggested to me that we were witnessing his transcendence. He looked stunning, like a dark sci-fi post-apocalyptic manga angel-prince. The audience gazed in awe at the fruition of his years of toil, the pinnacle of the Adam Lambert Show.

I loved the sound of Adam's voice when he introduced KISS. It was very different from his speaking voice and it had a rock edge to it. The band descended from a platform amid a cascade of fireworks. Compared to the band, who I thought looked a bit dated and on the vulgar side, Adam looked understatedly sophisticated! He stomped and strutted his way around the stage, visibly having a lot of fun. When his voice broke through during Detroit Rock City, it sounded incredible and everything about Adam - his style, his vocals, his sneer, his movements and his stage presence completely outclassed KISS. We were left in no doubt as to who the superstar was. There was a cheesy but amusing split-screen graphic with Adam in the centre. During Rock'n'Roll All Nite, Adam's parents were shown rocking out, which was really heartwarming. Adam managed to sneak some hip-swivels and a crotch grab in underneath the censors before wailing some trademark high but short notes. The performance ended with more fireworks being set off to the smashing of a guitar. Adam seemed to have that post-performance adrenaline beam that had been lacking for some time. He rocked the house. What a fantastically fun and energetic performance that was.

The Ford video was a slightly sad and earnest duet with Kris and Adam, showing extracts from the previous videos. It sounded soft but I don't think their voices went well together. The next part showed David Cook hand out the award of cars to each of them. Adam's reaction of cackling whilst bent double was priceless. It was a little uncomfortable though, to watch the blatantly staged and scripted plug. I hope Adam doesn't have to endorse shitty stuff in tacky adverts in the future.

The next performance to include Adam was Santana's smooth. Adam seemed to lead everyone out, clapping in time to the music before being the only one to shake hands with Santana's extended hand. He was dressed all in black apart from a red tie, accessoriesed with a studded belt - a scorching hot look. He also wore a holster / braces and looked like a detective in a fabulous Glambert universe where the most serious crimes possible to commit, for which he was head of investigations, were crimes against fashion. Yes, I'd happily commit a fashion crime in order to get arrested by Adam before getting styled! Adam's first line of his solo was a little off, but he recovered to add some smut in Like seven inches IN (original: from) the midday sun to the lyrics, giving us his most seductive eyes. You just have to admire his wit and gall, still bending the limits and seeing how much he can get away with. With his loose hips and shoulders, he showed us some great salsa-type dance moves which he made to look naturally effortless. He did some dancing with Allison and it occurred to me then that he must be absolutely loving all the different costume changes.

The next act was Do You Think I'm Sexy. Adam looked very classy in a black suit and led one side onto the stage. He was again in the centre along with Kris and treated the crowd to a few naughty expressions and raised eyebrows. The line-up made up of all the guys reminded me a bit of The Full Monty where you almost expect them to do a striptease. Adam's movements were a controlled and subdued sexy in this performance but his voice shone, especially on the last note where he was the only one who went high. The high note was accompanied by his iconic pose before he introduced Rod Stewart in a velvety smooth voice.

We Are The Champions came as a total surprise, and from the opening chords, my excitement was uncontainable and I was whooping. YES! Adam does Queen! A fitting end, seeing as it was what he started with. During the stream, this is when it froze, to my extreme annoyance. This song clearly wasn't Kris, who seemed to be reading the autocue when he started and was more than happy to hand over to Adam. They both exchanged looks and were happy and relaxed together on the stage behind the judges. Adam's first lines were resplendent, smooth and powerful with a fine clarity, delivered from a self-assured pose. He seemed to resonate with the lyrics, passionately and angrily spitting out I've had my share of sand kicked in my face but I've come through, which brought me all the way back near the beginning to BoW. I loved the way he phrased through, driving it with that extra power and punch. Yes, he's made it all the way to the end, despite all the shit that's been thrown at him and the additional pressure he's had to endure. Now it's time to celebrate. What a beautiful opening.

He was back to a rocker look in a brown leather jacket with exquisite detailing and matching boots over a black T-shirt and dark jeans. I felt that this look was on the subtle side so as to complement rather than dwarf Kris. Adam gave us a twirl of his wrist when the band were revealed before joining Queen on stage. When they sang together, their voices didn't mesh together very well and I felt that Adam held himself back a lot trying not to upstage Kris and steal the show, despite probably bursting to go crazy. I can't imagine any of the other contestants doing the same. Adam's second solo was a little less restrained, his voice had bite, giving me a rushing feeling when he hit a few high notes as Brian May looked on impressed. The following chorus, Kris dropped off a little. We are the champions, my friend had Adam and Kris demonstrating their friendship with a hand grab and shared smiles. They were clearly having a great time and it was infectious. It made us momentarily feel that they were both so happy to be there, not really caring about the end result with both being winners. There was no doubt then who the best singer, biggest talent and superstar was. It felt like the producers had to let Kris in on it out of obligation. The last note was frustrating for me because I wanted Adam to have free rein but instead he watched and matched Kris closely. Even when it came down to acknowledging the band afterwards, Adam's 'Queen, ladies and gentlemen,' compared to Kris's embarrassed and short 'Queen' spoke volumes about their different levels of showmanship. They should have ditched Kris on this one because he was like the gatecrasher at a glamorous party. I just wanted Adam to completely let rip, and so did Queen by the looks of it. But being the ever gracious host, Adam dressed himself down to make the gatecrasher feel welcome and less awkwardly out of place. You have to admire his class for doing this, but what a great shame it was. Perhaps this will be addressed in the future if Adam is allowed to perform with them. Brian looked very happy with Adam at the end, and Adam's family had such a blast by the looks of it. It felt like the crowning performance of the show where everyone came out and anything else afterwards would just be insignificant.

If you do not want to relive the end of the results show, skip the following paragraph.

When Adam and Kris came onto the stage for the final result, they looked happy still buzzing from the last performance and ready for it, wanting to get it over with. Adam had his arm slung around Kris like a very close friend and at that point, they really reminded me of Batman and Robin. Although Kris is likable and talented, he will always seem like Adam's sidekick. Adam seemed like his mentor when he pulled him into camera shot when the results bearer came onto the stage and obscured him from view. Adam's mother looked like she was unable to take any more, slouched in her seat. When Ryan made the announcement, it felt like time froze, I didn't breathe and the bottom of my gut dropped out. There was a little numbness, a feeling of complete anticlimax before disbelief and anger set in. NOOOOO! How the fuck could this happen? Adam is the clear winner! Adam's reaction was so gracious he immediately looked happy for Kris, pulling him close for a big hug, and shaking him into reality. He took a bow and Ryan called him a superstar before he gave the stage up for Kris. Kris said what we were all thinking - that Adam deserves this and was lost for words. Allison was quick to grab Adam but then pushed him by the ass to get back on the stage which was a little strange, but perhaps done to diffuse the awkwardness of Kris's lack of coherent speech. There was more hugging and they shared a joke before he cheered for Kris and left him to sing the coronation song. I noticed that Simon looked pissed off and wasn't on his feet like the other judges. Allison again took hold of Adam, putting her arm around him. I thought I saw a crack in the facade and a wistful expression appear on Adam's face. He may well be good at hiding it, but I do not believe Adam to be impervious to disappointment and hurt because I certainly felt it and I wasn't even involved. Adam stayed on the sidelines away from Kris for the rest of the show, allowing him the spotlight and cheering on his victory like a proud dad. My heart swelled with pride for Adam but ached with disappointment for him too.

A few other thoughts that struck me about the show was that it felt like Adam's plaything, like his tribute concert and finale to the Adam Lambert Show season where everyone else, including the established artists were just his support acts. Everyone was there to see or perform with him, the central piece of the show. For each of his group performances, he was the commanding stage presence, he seemed to be centre stage, get more camera time, the best camera shots and all eyes gravitated towards him. The stage was all his and he was in a totally different league. Even his solo was the last one of the night, barring the feeble coronation song, so he had the pimp spot again. It's glaringly obvious from any episode of AI8 who won the show and the season. It's been a week and I'm seriously suffering from the loss of The Adam Lambert Show from our screens. Still, I feel pleased now that Adam is stepping out from AI, spreading his wings ready to soar onwards and upwards. I'm holding on tight for the ride to wherever he takes me.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Think Positive!

I've been trying to shift a mother of a headache for the past couple of days, perhaps induced by my self-inflicted jet-lag, which is why I've been on the quiet front.  Plus there's so much to catch up on.  There is work in progress though, which will include the full overdue review of the final results show, commentary on Adam's media exposure, a look back on the season as a whole, looking forward and whatever else this obsession leads me to.  I'll try to keep this blog going for as long as it's practical.  Due to being in the wrong time zone, it may not be the most reactive so thanks for your patience.

I'm surprised by the intensity of the reaction to the result and have had a look at forums where some of us still seem to be in the denial phase, which I'll attempt to explain.  This may have been one of the very rare occasions where we've allowed ourselves to open our hearts and freely follow.  It takes something really special to do that.  The safety armour that we wear when approaching any relationship since our first heartbreak wasn't worn because we know how to separate the real from the fantasy.  We assumed there was no risk to ourselves so followed our hearts, diving recklessly into dangerous territory.  It was exciting and thrilling to feel so connected to someone and feel such empathy, but we were unprepared to be wounded by disappointment.  We projected many of our personal hopes, desires, insecurities, negativities and fears onto Adam and feel that he was singlehandedly representing our dreams and fighting our causes for us.  We're feeling emotionally fragile and pissed off because our hearts rested on the outcome of the competition.  For Adam to win would have meant he was victorious in fighting our battles and would have given us renewed hope in ourselves and in society as a whole.   These hopes were crushed and we're still feeling an overwhelming loss and injustice.  Somewhere inside we feel ridiculous and tell ourselves to get a grip - this is just some reality show contestant who has no bearing on our real world, so why get all upset?  There is no relationship, but the hurt is acutely real because we let down our guard.  I think the most important thing is not to avoid emotional investment, but to make sure we do not build an impenetrable fortress for the future.  What's the point in living if we make ourselves numb by being too scared to feel?

If you're still feeling down, try this: Imagine Adam stoops to look straight into your eyes and you gasp because he sees deep within you.  On seeing your hurt, he goes 'Aw' and puts a hand on your shoulder then tells you not to be so upset.  He reassures you he's fine and nowhere near as upset as you are, before joking about ruining his eyeliner if you don't cheer up soon.  You smile, he gives a hearty laugh, flashing his contagious 1000 watt smile at you then wraps you up in big hug.  Cheesy?  Yes, but does this positive thinking work?

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dealing With the Aftermath - Chin up!

I thought I started feeling better yesterday but after seeing so many interviews with Kris and how much screen time he's had, I'm feeling bitterly disappointed to not be seeing Adam instead, who would make for a much more interesting and charismatic interviewee.  And it pains me for Adam to have to talk about losing over and over again with each interview (and for Kris too).

Since the result, I've been trying to rationalise it by spending time mulling over what happened with the voting.  Apparently the rumours about the 38 million Arkansas votes were false, but the result still wasn't a close one, so did we let Adam down?  Although I voted for a full seven hours, I didn't manage to get more than about 200 calls throughout the whole time because Gizmo was so slow and the lines were busy.  Were none of Adam's fans able to bulk text?  As I've mentioned before, I thought texting would be the key because there would be no danger of not getting through due to busy lines.  Someone could have texted my 7 hours' worth of calls in a couple of minutes, so calling was relatively futile.  I don't regret it but I'm gutted my efforts made no difference to the outcome, and I'm still finding the result difficult to accept.

Adam seems to be genuinely happy for Kris and handling things very well but I can't help but hurt for him.  I keep thinking that perhaps he's not appearing that disappointed because he's good at hiding his feelings.  Or that he never really allowed himself to truly believe he could win, especially after his reaction to being in the top two.  Which makes me get worked up even more because he should have.  Maybe it's better to believe that he just wanted to use the show to get exposure rather than to win.  One thing I do find encouraging is the genuine affection and close friendship they have demonstrated towards each other, which is a great example for all of us.

This is much more than a singing competition and Adam represented so many people's dreams. Kris may have been the underdog in the competition but in life he's the popular boy-next-door who ended up with the prom queen.  Adam may not have been the underdog in the competition but he was the underdog in life, which makes the loss seem like such a kick in the teeth, a bitter and painful rejection by America for all those he represented.  For Adam to have lost to Kris underlines the notion that America is less willing to accept true brilliance than the ability to conform.  I wanted Adam to win to have the satisfaction of knowing that his music could transcend or even shift society's attitudes but I was being overly optimistic.  I'm glad I don't live in the US.  As I see it, he's reawakened in so many people a long-dormant spirit of adventure, creativity, experimentation and an appreciation of music that would previously have been dismissed.  I wanted him to know this and be rewarded for it as well as for his dedication to being a great entertainer.

I don't want to end on a gloomy note because I'm sure that's the last thing we need.  I've just managed to see the whole of the results show.  I missed a huge chunk of it through the stream (which was awful as I was scared I'd have to wait two days before I watch the result) as I had problems with the internet.  I couldn't bring myself to watch the result online but I now feel much better.  The results show felt like a tribute concert for Adam where he commanded the stage and shone like a supernova.  It was plain to see who the star was, and even the established artists he shared the stage with were made to look like his minions.  It seemed like the show kept him as the highlight for the second hour so that people would stay tuned.  Even though the Queen performance was done with Kris, it was obvious who they were there for and he seemed to be the winner who was willing to share the limelight.  Perhaps that was part of the shock because the show led us to believe that Adam had won.  Part of me feels that Kris wouldn't have gotten to the final if it weren't for Adam's friendship.  I think of what Adam brought to AI this season - which includes Slash, their first Zeppelin song, KISS, Queen, and credibility - before breaking it.  He got in the maximum number of performances (minus the coronation song, which is a plus), he has people queueing up to work with him and he had the mentors gushing all over him.  He was so gracious and seemed like Kris's proud dad at the announcement.  His iTunes sales are doing very well and Simon is a complete Glamb Skank.  People tuned in especially to watch him and even though he didn't win, it was just a stepping stone.  AI8 will always be The Adam Lambert Show.  There's plenty to feel positive about.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


America you FUCKING SUCK for your love affair with mediocrity, uniformity, conformity and blandness.
FUCK YOU America for your monumental failing to recognise inspirational talent.
FUCK YOU judges for your stupid pimping.
FUCK YOU American Idol.

*Gets ready to dodge the impending vitriol*

I'm sure I'll regret that rant at some point.  My only consolations are:
Seeing that Glambert ensemble.
Adam performing with Queen.
Adam being saved from having to repeatedly sing that crap song.

I feel microscopically better after that.  Feel free to vent away.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Finale

A big thanks, and well done to all of you who persevered throughout the voting period and voted your fingers off. Now that the final performances are over, I wish I could feel more relaxed, but I don't, and I know that even after the results show's over and the season's finished my life will not quite return to the way it was before. I feel rather embarrassed admitting to 'normal' people that I stayed up all night to vote for the full seven hours, then desperately tried to get the extra software working to vote in the Hawaii window. And I had a back-up plan of automatic clicking for when I nodded off. How ridiculous is it that I spent seven hours on constant redial to vote for a contestant in a show that's in a foreign country? I'd never voted on any TV show before. Ever. But that's the power of Adam Lambert. Crazy or what?

I was filled with determination to make myself feel safe in the knowledge I'd done everything possible to get Adam the win but I was filled with doubt throughout. Would my votes actually count, and if they didn't, would I just be jamming up the phone lines for the legitimate votes? I was keeping track of Dialidol throughout and was filled with anxiety. Still am, although that might have more to do with a lack of sleep. I'm absolutely shattered and scared shitless for tonight!

Anyway, back to business. I managed to watch Adam's confessional before the show and thought he seemed a little tired, lacking his usual perkiness. I wondered whether he was feeling the weight of the pressure and how much the homecoming visit may have freaked him out and whether it would affect his performances.

The show opened with some previously unseen clips of Adam and Kris in the early stages of the competition, which reminded us of how different Adam looked back then. During the week, I'd seen some photos of him shopping for a suit so I wondered what we had in store. He came out in quite a classic Adam look all in black with a black jacket with sequins and black trousers. His hair was done fairly naturally with dramatic eyeliner. I found it very endearing when Kris and Adam were both asked the same question by Ryan and Kris replied first, then Adam repeated exactly what Kris said. It was cute moment that gave us more of an insight into their friendship.

Despite my efforts to stay away from the rumour mill, I knew but wasn't quite willing to accept that Adam's reprise would be Mad World. This got me a little concerned because I believed it to be a pretty impossible task to surpass the original because the surprise element would be missing. Still, a part of me was thinking that Adam would instinctively know what to do to freshen it up. There was an introductory clip that focussed around Adam and his parents talking about his childhood when he was a noisy kid, which cut to some of his high notes on the show. I think it was meant to be snarky to show him as a screamer and I don't think it helped him with winning over new fans.

I felt worried when Mad World was introduced but bloody hell, WOW! What a dramatic entrance that was. From the get-go, it was going to be other-worldly spectacular with the turbulent blanket of ground mist, and the shade of blue lighting from behind that honoured his original take. It was a desolate landscape. Adam cut a striking figure rising from within a platform on the stage dressed in a long trenchcoat with clunky boots in a pose that stood confident. One of the first things that came to mind was that this was reminiscent of iconic noir cinema, a stylised portrayal of a lonely tortured fantasy comic book hero. I was excited. The first few notes were full of clarity but perhaps due to nerves or because of the movement down the stairs, could have done with super-fine tuning. We saw his silhouette shrouded in mist until he got to the bottom of the stairs, where we could see he was dressed all in black with black leather fingerless gloves. He looked more like a goth than ever before. The instrumental arrangement was very similar to his previous one but the tempo was slower with variations in the lyrics and melody. Adam sounded just as haunting but maybe less mournful than last time. He didn't make as much use of his falsetto which made him sound less weak, and he gave us some gorgeous deep and rich notes which I preferred to the previous incarnation. There was a point where I thought he lost time during No one knew me, but it might have been that he was thrown by that bloody backing singer. Look right through me didn't have the same change in volume or impact and was much gentler but it still made my hair stand on end. I wanted more of that me note, which was just sublime. Adam cut a very solitary figure advancing slowly around the stage and I feel that he got deep into the character of being the world-weary outcast, singing with a troubled expression. He did engage with the camera a little more than he had done recently and his final wide-eyed look into the camera was heart-stopping. He nailed that final note.

Adam looked fairly happy after his performance but I think Simon was trying a little to negate the backlash he'd created with his pimping, by giving less positive remarks. Unusually, Adam spoke back at him but was very charming about it. He was so excited about experimenting with the lift and the dry ice and it just makes me respect him even more because his adventurous spirit is not dimmed by the pressure of the competition. And I adored his enthusiasm at expressing how he saw this as a chance to play dress-up.

I absolutely loved the theatrics and thought they were very appropriate to the big stage. I felt that this performance was a very different interpretation which captures a much edgier, darker mood than his original, which felt very exposed and filled with sadness and vulnerability. Perhaps it's my sleep deprived Lambosessed senses getting into overdrive (you tell me), but I feel that Adam has used the two performances to tell the story of how he has progressed, transitioning from being the alienated soft and fragile person filled with sadness to a tougher, more hardened, and confident one who is no longer afraid of being the outsider. If people felt less emotionally connected to this performance then I think it may have been because the character he portrayed was more aloof and the sweeping wide angle shots emphasised this. The message I got is that it's possible to evolve from one to the other to become the awesome dark superhero of the underworld that he created on that stage with his voice, the costuming and the set. I was completely captivated and entertained by this mysterious and exciting world he had created, even down to the moon that was the light in the background. I found it to be a visual and atmospheric masterpiece that was laced full of significance and meaning.

I felt a little concerned after Kris's performance. I didn't know what the other song choices would be beforehand, so when 'A Change Is Gonna Come' was announced, I was completely surprised but felt myself whooping with delight. I knew Adam had already performed this song in 2004 for the Zodiac Show, which might be why they were pulled from YouTube in the last week. I didn't rate that performance highly though as, unusual for Adam, I think it was quite off-key. I mentioned before that I wanted to hear Adam's take on something soulful and bluesy because I was impressed by his riffing in Some Kind of Wonderful and it would show off his range. This choice told me that the producers most likely want Adam to win. I was laughing, envisioning Simon Fuller as one of us, having spent hours obsessing over Adam's YouTube videos and his Zodiac pants! Perhaps it was unfair to give Adam a song he's already known to have performed, but if the rumours are true then Adam got shafted last week when it came to song choice. He was allegedly meant to be doing One Republic's Come Home but had to switch to Cryin' when he found out about Kris's Apologize. And Simon's pick was confirmed later than the others' so he probably had to work on twice as many songs as them and had less time to prepare. Maybe that's why it wasn't such a good night for him and we didn't see much in terms of stage direction.

The grey suit Adam wore appeared to be the one he wore for ToMT but seemed to lack the sheen. The look was made edgier with his white shirt cuffs protruding from underneath his jacket sleeves. His top button was undone with his blue tie slightly loose, which gave quite an understated look of a jazz club singer. His hair and make-up looked unchanged. Adam shared the centre of the stage with the band and along with the red lighting made it seem like a fairly intimate club setting.

The opening notes were very strong and filled me with confidence that this would be great. There was a slight waver on Long time, but he managed to recover completely so that the rest was flawless. He went on to use his rich, velvety, lower register that sounded seductive and superb. The song had time to slowly build to that first high note which was truly phenomenal. He held it for exactly the right amount of time - long enough for us to feel awestruck by it but short enough to avoid the showboating accusations - before coming down then sliding back up again. This for me was Adam's most beautiful and perfectly executed high note so far even though I have no idea what he said during it. In the rest of the climactic part of the song, he held the notes long enough to still keep the melody, avoiding sounding shouty. The last note was low for Adam, but majestic. Here Adam made beautiful use of his range and used his wail appropriately and to good effect without overdoing anything. His movements and expressions started off subtle then rode with the song, from his hand palming the air to the emotion twitching to get out of his leg. The arrangement was fairly straight-up so it was purely those mind-blowing vocals that put Adam's stamp on the song. I think the meaning of the song resonated with him to display such passion. He bled every drop of soul out of that performance and it was just scintillating to watch. He happily thanked the band afterwards before seemingly shaking himself back to reality. I think he'd been completely immersed in the song and looked very emotional when listening to the judges' comments.

I had no idea what Kara's song would be like or who she was expecting to write it for but I was hoping it wouldn't be a soppy ballad. For this performance, Adam looked fairly toned down with sober black jacket and T-shirt but paired up with some tight crazy-ass marble-washed jeans which I wasn't keen on. The camera stayed mainly above the waist though. Adam's voice started the song quite breathy and low and we heard a bit of his chesty rock voice. Then the band came in. Oh shit. Cheesy power-ballad on the way. I wasn't worried about Adam not performing well or doing worse than Kris on this one, but I thought he seemed slightly out of place. The song clearly didn't suit him and I think it might have been meant for Danny or even Lil Rounds. Adam seemed again to be battling with the band and the evil backing singers which really pissed me off because they were out-of-tune again. Not only was the song difficult to sing because the melody jumped all over the place, but the lyrics were unwieldy and super-cheesy. I think Adam tried hard to seriously sing the crap out of it but even he looked a bit awkward moving to the song. That was like dipping the finest piece of wagyu beef into supermarket budget-line ketchup. He looked quite relieved but emotional when he finished and I think he knew the song didn't fit him. It was a sad way to finish such an awesome run on AI. I didn't agree with Randy saying that Adam was pitchy because I think it was the backing singers. I think Kara looked a bit embarassed and I certainly didn't agree with Adam that the song was beautiful. I think Adam still did a great job with what he was given and he's proven that he can sing anything. It's also painfully clear that Adam is much better being the brains behind his song choices.

That was a rubbish way to finish the show and the season on such a crap note, which really didn't do either contestant justice. The coronation song wasn't worthy of either contestant. What a disappointment. If they'd gotten the coronation song out of the way first then the show would've turned out to be much less of an anti-climax. I think the running order is an important factor in the way the performances are received. Adam was at a disadvantage singing an unknown song first because people weren't familiar with the melody. But I guess that goes both ways - if the song is awful, then the person singing second would be at a disadvantage because no one would want to hear it again. I think it was unfortunate that Mad World came first because I see it as more of a finale. I truly believe that had it come last after the awful coronation song, it would've been a showstopper, bringing the house to its knees. I think a performance so mindblowing needs some foreplay in the form of warm-up acts.

I was hoping for a greater variety of tempo in Adam's performances and what I would've liked to have seen but didn't this season was an a capella or a single instrument acoustic arrangement to show off his staggering voice, and crazy Glambert complete with sexy dance routine. It would've been great if Adam had a more uptempo number yesterday where he could've rocked out and got everyone up on their feet. There's still the rest of tonight though to look forward to and I'm hoping he goes all-out because he has nothing to lose. I'm still really nervous about the result because I think it's a close one. Whatever happens, I'm sure there'll be some tears shed. Fingers crossed that they're those of elation.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The Final Preparations

The finale's nearly here and I hope we're not all turning into nervous wrecks!  The big question is, as it has always been, is what is Adam going to do?  I await with a combination of eager anticipation, excitement and anxiety.  There will be three performances each, with rumours being that one of the songs is going to be the contestant's favourite from the season, one Simon Fuller's choice, and the other one the coronation song written by Kara.

What would I like Adam to do?  I feel like I'm in a bit of a dilemma.  There's no doubt I would consider myself a die-hard fan who would love to see him go all-out crazy OTT Glambert in his most extreme incarnation because I believe that to be closer to what he'd like to do.  It would be mind-blowingly entertaining for him to let loose without inhibition, sending a enormous 'Fuck you!' to all his haters, subverting AI and turning TV talent shows on their head.  To be so fearlessly audacious and be crowned with the win would be the biggest and sweetest reward possible for Adam, finally overcoming the battle to be accepted as his no-holds-barred, unadulterated and fabulous self.  In my perfect scenario, he'd win by a landslide, and the world would undergo a creative revolution where everyone would open their minds, feel completely free to experiment with self-expression and be accepted and celebrated for all their quirks.  In the real world however, because I don't have enough faith in America, I'm afraid it would mean Adam losing the competition because there'd be too many scared conservatives running back to the sanctimony of their pulpits to spout vitriol, condemning any perceived threat to the safe mundanity of their lives.  Do I really want to see Adam in his full magnificence at the expense of his winning the competition?  This is the balancing act that Adam has had to deal with all season and I'm going to have to side with him compromising just a little in order to win as there'll be plenty of time later to propel us out of this world.  Although that doesn't prevent me from still holding out for some of this on the results show performances when the voting is over.

The thing about Adam is, because he gave us a teaser at the start of One last week, he also rather contradictorily has me ravenous for the complete opposite kind of slow song of that will really tear our hearts out, rip us to shreds and leave us as quivering bawling wrecks because I know he can do it, he can move the world to tears.  The only problem might be that none of us will be able to recover sufficiently enough to vote afterwards.  To be able to have both types of performance on the same night would be beyond awesome.  Perhaps the reason why we didn't have such completely contrasting performances last week was intentional.  Things are usually more intense after a period of deprivation and to make us ache for it could help to achieve the maximum impact in the finale.

For selfish reasons of wanting more new Adam performances to marvel at, I really hope we don't see a reprise but I do understand that three songs is a lot to sort out a few days, not to mention all the enormous pressure and freaking out before the big day.  If I had to choose a song for him to reprise, I wouldn't choose Satisfaction because we've heard it twice already but there is potential for improvement in terms of the vocals.  I wouldn't want him to reprise classic performances such as RoFToMTWLL or MW because part of their appeal was in capturing the magic of the moment.  I fear the surprise factor would be missing so that they wouldn't surpass the original.  It's possible he could rearrange them, but any rearrangement of RoF would seem like he was retreating and bowing down to appease his critics.  Which leaves BoW, PTFM, BTBW, IICHY, FG, One and Cryin'.  Of those, I think IICHY, FG and One have the most potential for a 'moment' that were narrowly missed first time round.  Both IICHY and One could help with being lengthened, and FG and One could be improved for the AI audience by sticking closer to the studio versions.  I doubt One will be reprised, having been done so recently but Adam has the ability to make it sound completely different should he choose.  BoW was done a long time ago so there's scope for improvement and to show how much he's grown since then.  I doubt that reprising PTFM, BTBW or Cryin' would help Adam in the competition, considered to be his more 'screechy' tunes.  I think it would work well if he chose any of the five songs he sang in the early rounds.  Contestant's favourite is a term that's open to interpretation though, and could mean any song from the season.  As it's a rumour, I'm still hoping for a new song.

The other songs are the coronation song and Simon Fuller's choice.  I have no doubt that if Adam sings head-to-head against Kris with the same song, same arrangement, Adam will wipe the floor with him.  Adam's voice is an additional instrument that can completely change a song, but it all comes down to a matter of taste.  Some people will prefer Kris's arrangements and vocal imperfections, which although distinctive, on a night of three performances where he's weaker than Adam when it comes to varying it up, he'll sound quite samey.  I'm guessing that Kara's song will be quite ballady although it depends on who she had in mind when she wrote it.  I'm hoping for a pleasant surprise.  Simon Fuller's choice will be quite revealing as to the producers' intentions but I'm hoping overall that the songs chosen will vary in tempo so that Adam can treat us with diverse and dynamic performances.  I want to see one high-octane OTT performance with a dance routine where he goes crazy with his signature vocals, one emotionally rousing one and a bonus would be a really edgy left-field one that he'd bring into the mainstream (which, let's face it, won't happen).

Now is the time to leave these thoughts here, clear my expectations and go in with an open mind.  I think my ability to do this has been improving as the weeks have gone by and I trust Adam's instincts in knowing what to do.  I don't think the quality of performances are actually going to make a huge difference to the outcome of the competition because the casual voters won't be the ones voting frantically for a full four hours.  I think it's going to be won based on the dedication of the fanbases and their ability to send group texts, so it's very important to do what we can.  I want him to win for the way he has captured our imaginations and inspired us - we owe it to him.  I need him to win for that elusive validation he seeks and I'd be so pissed off if he didn't.  He is a superstar who is light years ahead of the competition and deserves to be recognised and rewarded for his talent and courage.

Tomorrow's reviews of the three performances may come out a bit later than usual and may be phased because I'll be exhausted after lack of sleep staying up to vote.  I urge you to do the same so that we can all finish this journey celebrating together on the highest of highs.  Please, GET VOTING!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Obsession Beyond AI

I'd like to send you a big thank you for dropping in and showing your solidarity.  All your comments are appreciated.  It's been a thrilling ride so far.  We're in the final stretch of the competition and as much as I've been euphoric that Adam's made it to the final and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next, I'm also dreading having to prepare for the grief of not seeing a weekly Adam performance.

In many ways it's good we're getting to the end of the season because it means I'll get my life back, but in other ways, I'm going to feel bereft.  How are creatures of habit going to cope without the weekly fix?  The withdrawal symptoms are going to be quite unbearable.  I'll have to keep Googling and relying on people posting videos of his TV appearances and tour performances, which I can't believe will be enough for my greedy self because I'll want to see new material.  One thing I realised more than ever during Adam's homecoming is that when he emerges from the AI bubble, there'll be times where we'll get completely swamped with info because for every video I saw from that homecoming, there were hundreds more cameras shooting the same thing from a different angle, which left me spending hours sifting through the huge pile just in case there was something I missed, or there was a better version.  As there are 50 dates on the tour, as an estimate we'll probably end up with at least 20 videos of Adam for each one over a period of over two months.  That's a hell of a lot to digest and I'm not sure if I'll be able to cope with watching the same songs over and over again, even with all his fabulousness and wardrobe changes.  There'll also be times when there'll be nothing but a slow agonising trickle which likely means the end of the road for regular updates on this blog.  I hate the predicament that my need for all things Adam puts me in, because it will make him prime fodder for lining the pockets of paparazzi scum who'll be invading his personal space.

I've never followed Idol before so I'm uncertain of what we'll see of Adam once the season is over or what the timetable is.  Will there be a special on Adam where they show all the unseen footage of Rock With You, What's Up? and the full-length version of Believe?  I really hope so.  Is the tour going to be the only thing we'll get from him for a long time or will he be allowed to perform independently?  Will he be able to have side projects where he can collaborate and experiment in parallel to churning out the AI stuff?  I still have little idea about what kind of music he's going to make.  How much will he have to hold back his idiosyncrasies and compromise, or are 19 so desperate for his greatness they'll allow him to do the dictating?  Will they allow him to resurrect all his social networks and MySpace pages, allowing him to communicate with his fans?  Or do they have strict rules about these things even after the competition?  I would absolutely love it if he were able to provide us with video updates or a blog and throw us the odd bone here and there.  And how long do I have to wait for him to come to the UK?  If you have any answers, please let me know!

I'll be eagerly anticipating the release of his songs but for me, the medium of records doesn't capture enough of him for my liking, despite his mind-blowing voice.  It's like the agony of knowing he's in front of you all glitteringly made up pretty and glam, shooting out rainbow coloured fireworks, snarling and gyrating and slithering his awesomeness inches away from you, but you're blindfolded.  He's such an addictive audiovisual spectacle I'll need to see all the videos too.  I can't quite describe in words how much I want him to have his own weekly TV show where he's allowed complete freedom to do what he wants.  As well as performing, I could happily just sit and watch his nails dry, he is that fascinating.  He could eat ice cream, pull funny faces, dance or give fashion and make-up tips for all I care.

At the moment, the studio version of One embodies not my mood exactly, but the specific tone of my mood.  My heart feels heavy and worried and I'm in that state of mind where I'm bracing myself for deprivation.  Perhaps I'm just having a bit of a panic and it's raining and miserable today.  The top 2 interview where he talks about the challenge of staying true to himself also seems very sombre in comparison to the previous ones.

Something that will get me excited is all the pre-Idol footage that has yet to surface, which is fascinating and compulsive viewing.  A recent one released a couple of days ago was another version of Is Anybody Listening?  performed at Jewish fund-raising event.  I wonder if the timing of the release was decided by Adam and whether it's to garner Jewish support for him in the final because it's not something he's noticeably done.  It's a great video in which he looks strikingly handsome, and could win him more fans because it's very different from any AI performance.  Look out for the Mutley chuckle at the end!  There's also a video of Adam with a jazz band  in his younger days.  I'm hoping that people will dig up and post more videos when they realise who that blonde boy with the incredible voice has become.

Tuesday's getting closer and I'm getting excited at the prospect of being able to see three performances from Adam.  It's the last time I'll be able to drive myself crazy speculating about what he's going to pull out next on the show, but that's the subject of another post to come.  Let's make sure he wins so that we get to see more of him and because he unmistakably deserves to be rewarded for all his hard work whilst bravely remaining true to his great self.

Friday, 15 May 2009

One More Time

I watched One for the first time on TV last night, and I must say that I think I'm starting to love it. It's actually rising towards the top of my list and I know I'm far from alone in feeling this way so I started picking apart and analysing my initial reaction to it.

From One's opening, we were expecting a certain type of interpretation from Adam. We heard the pure ravishing beauty of those first few honeyed notes and we were completely spellbound. We wanted more and looked forward to the song continuing in the manner it started so we could get more of this wonderful drug, not only because it was breathtaking, but because we'd been a little starved of slow emotional numbers in the last couple of weeks.

Adam has surprised us many times with his performances and his interpretation of songs, so much so that paradoxically it was getting unsurprising. With Adam never settling for predictable, he managed to challenge and astonish us with a drastic change mid-performance that we were least expecting. I think the issue we had was the shock factor - which sent some scuttling towards wanting the safety of the song's opening - because it was so far from what we were expecting. Less than a minute until the end of the song wasn't enough time to get over that shock. With a little more time we might have been better placed to process and understand it within the limits of the song and left less bewildered. Is it fair to feel disappointed just because he didn't do what we expected, even if he did something better and put a glittering cherry on top? Ironically, the unpredictability was something I'd wanted, but when he hit me with it, I wasn't particularly receptive because I was completely unprepared.

If we look at the latest performances in the context of the competition, intentional or not, they were relatively 'safe', on the Adam scale. Maybe it was in preparation for a real treat when it comes to the final. I expect that in the same way when WLL came round we'd been yearning for a RoF type performance for some time, the little taster of a tender number in One has us completely ravenous for one in the final, and maybe it will taste so much sweeter for it.

I think One improves on subsequent viewings because I neither expect nor want the song to continue softly-softly. It no longer jars but works brilliantly and I think Adam provides a better representation of the lyrics to give us that huge and impassioned crescendo, than the more mournful and resigned original. I strongly felt the intensity and emotion first time round but I'm now able to really appreciate the full impact of this gem of a moving performance. Here it is again for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Top 3 Results

We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief for now as Adam has made it to the final and we get to see a more of him. I'd been checking the Dialidol predictions before the results show and even though Adam was a few points in front, it didn't stop me from fretting because it's not particularly accurate. I'd never rooted for any contestant like I've done for Adam and the wait was agonising. As I've become more emotionally invested throughout the weeks, it's been increasingly nail-biting.

When it was showtime, he wore a striped top under a black leather jacket teamed up with dark jeans. He seemed quite happy but I'm sure he must have been shitting his pants just like the rest of us. I was expecting to find out the result right at the end of the show and for Danny to go home. Apparently there were 88 million votes cast, with the gap between the top two being a close 1 million votes.

The advert this week was a little odd, with Adam being turned into a cartoon character that threw a piece of meat at some hungry scary looking dogs. I wasn't digging the stone-coloured shirt he wore, which looked like he'd just gotten up from a dirty stopout after a heavy night out it was so creased. And it was a little too small as well. I'm sure he cannot seriously be a medium size like he says when it comes to clothes, being over 6ft tall.

When it came to introducing the homecoming clips, the contestants got called one by one from backstage. Danny got called first which made me nervous that he might be declared safe then we would have to have the excruciating wait to find out who would join him. Massive relief after the clip when he was just sent to sit down.

Although I'd seen so much footage already from the homecoming, I was wondering how the producers would edit the footage to present Adam. The other clips showed Kris and Danny at very big events with huge crowds. Adam was the last one to be called in amongst a cacophony of screaming fans, which took quite a long time to quieten down. He responded particularly well to Ryan's questions, his elocution really standing out after the the other contestants' bumbling. His answers were interesting and he gave us a charming giggle when asked about his streaker.

The video was filled with Adam being pursued by lots of squeeing fans and giddy presenters falling all over him. The clip started off with the fun bits to the soundtrack of BTBW, which included Adam applying makeup to the weather girl, his python boots and his stint at TV presenting and a radio slot. A cute moment included Adam giving a tween girl a hug and a funny moment when a slightly scary granny pressed up against the window of his limo to try to get a glimpse. There were hordes of people chasing down him down. A more sentimental section started with a visit to Adam's old theatre group to the sound of Come Home. I enjoyed his introduction when he talked to the camera and think he could add presenting to his plethora of talents. It was very touching because it was a low-key, personal audience with the kids only. He dedicated the visit especially to help and inspire them and give something back. Even a truckload of fluffy kittens have nothing on the cuteness and 'Aw' factor that his interaction with the kids had. It could seriously melt Antarctica and drown us all. The next part showed Adam going to an audience in his old high school which surprisingly included footage of the streaker, and to the air base which included a snippet of his beautiful rendition of the national anthem in front of a huge American flag.

I thought the clip was the best of the three because it really showed his altruistic side whereas the others were a little more self-absorbed in their new-found fame. He looked so happy and enthusiastic throughout. There were no cheesy happy family clips and only his mother was featured, wiping away a tear of pride.

When Ryan read out the summary, I felt a terrible sense of foreboding, afraid that there might be a shock boot. Adam looked nervous too, taking in a deep breath, but a huge wave of relief washed over me when he was asked to go join the others on the couch. I hate this freaking show! Just before Katy Perry came on, Danny was describing how he just wanted to cut straight to the results, and Adam very excitedly blurted out 'I wanna see Katy Perry!' and he and Kris both cracked up. It was a funny fanboy moment and whether intentional or not, he showed Danny up in an unfavourable light. Katy Perry was so OTT and her blatant endorsement on the cape of her Elvis ensemble just made me laugh so hard. An Adam-Kris mention needs to be made of Kris wearing nail varnish on the only nail that Adam didn't:

When it was finally time, there was a bit of banter between Adam and Kris before Kris was completely shocked to be declared safe. There was a big hug from Adam, who then went on to Danny for an awkward hug. For the final announcement, Adam pulled a nervous face before grabbing Danny to put his arm around, then hid his expression by facing the floor. Adam's reaction to being declared safe was a priceless 'Oh!' and he covered his eyes with one hand, then the rest of his face with the other. It was a heart-melting moment to see Adam suddenly lose his cool to show such emotion. I squealed with joy as I watched him, hands on head in delighted surprise. Judging by that reaction, I think he was expecting to go home. I'm guessing he probably Googled himself after his performances to find a fairly cool reception. From a previous interview, he said he thought he was too alternative to win, and we're aware that he wanted to use AI to get more work. I wonder if or when he started to allow himself to believe he could win. In his last confessional, he said it was possibility and I've been convinced that he's wanted it, but I don't think he truly believes it. He seemed more excited about making an album than anything else. Towards the end of the show during Danny's swansong, the camera shot to Adam who had a sad, stern expression on his face. I wonder what was on his mind, whether he was thinking about winning. We all know he's made of it.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Top 3 - One / Cryin'

I found this week's review hard to write. Last night I had mixed feelings and was left slightly subdued and despondent, and I can't tell whether this was because Adam didn't quite hit the spot which left me worried, or whether he hit it dead on and he ripped my heart out. This was one of those nights where I repeat viewings were necessary.

The confessional this week didn't reveal much we didn't know and it I think he looked as if he was just going through the motions. Perhaps the hectic schedule took quite a lot out of him. Before the show, I managed to see a spoiler that told me he was going to be singing One and Cryin' and that he had the pimp spot. I didn't think Cryin' was a great song choice to show another side of him and was mourning the loss of Wicked Game which I think would have been a showstopper.

The first time Adam walked out on to the stage, his wardrobe choice surprised me by being quite understated. He was fresh-faced and natural looking, with the make-up and hair styling being kept to a minimum. He was wearing a light faded denim shirt, blue jeans and snakeskin boots. I couldn't tell what he was going to do from this but I started feeling a little nervous. I didn't like the shirt because it was too tight around the chest with the pockets too high up, like it was meant for someone much shorter.

Danny's performance was pretty bad and Kris's was OK but his voice just wasn't up to it. Next was Adam, and I felt this was a great opportunity to completely blow the others away. The song started with a piano intro and I thought we were in for an Upright-type performance, or at least one that was understated by Adam standards. I liked the thought of a stripped arrangement where his voice could really shine. He was bathed in royal blue light from behind, slowly fading to white. The first notes were low, very pure, soft and breathtaking. He looked quite elfin because of the earpieces. The camera close-ups made him look mesmerisingly and achingly beautiful. I felt makeup-less Adam looked like he was baring his soul and looked so exposed. Those first looks into the camera emoting his vulnerability before gently closing his eyes, tugged heavily at my heart shaking me to my core. His expressions were tender and heartfelt but tinged with sadness and dejection. I thought he showed a hint of tiredness. Unusually, I felt there was a note or two that could've done with some fine tuning, but perhaps it was an intended effect to load additional emotion.

After a slightly shaky start the vocals were flawless. When it came to the the bridge, I felt it came much too soon with little build-up that was too sudden. The camera didn't engage his movements well when he walked off the stage to stand in front of the judges, and it seemed a bit too aggressive. I think it needed a close-up to show his facial expressions. I thought the vocal acrobatics were hectic and he could've done with slowing it down, mellowing it a little and holding the notes for longer because the melody was lost to emphasis on the lyrics. When he got to the glory note Hurt though, it was truly magnificent and made me gasp and my hairs stand on end. It managed to stab me in the heart. The emotion of the song really did get to me. It was one of his most impassioned performances where I felt like it was personal, he was naked and I was looking straight into his soul. He seemed to really feel and resonate with the meaning of the song, which, in addition to the pink lights seemed to make as strong a statement as possible without explicitly stating the obvious. This is me, we are one but not the same. I think perhaps that's why his mum was teary-eyed afterwards.

Adam added the light and shade that I thought was missing from the original, with the bonus massive firework on top, but I think it was too much to handle in such a short space of time. It didn't quite seem to work as I felt the song was unbalanced. It could have done with another verse at the start to build up to the massive crescendo. I thought this took up too much of the song and we overdosed on it. Perhaps he could have shortened it by bringing everything back down immediately after the glory note, or put a lull in the middle of it. Another option is that he could have played it down all the way through the song which would probably have done more for the popular vote. Personally though, I'm glad he did take a risk as this song works much better with a shot of light and shade and I'm looking forward to the longer studio version. I feel really frustrated because the performance was so close to bringing everyone to their knees with just a few simple changes. If only there'd been enough time to do it justice. Why oh why did they have to squeeze it into such a short time just so the stupid judges can wank themselves off?

I wonder what happened and why he ended up with such an arrangement. There seemed to be a suggestion that Simon was somehow involved with the mentoring, so I wondered whether Adam could have been revealing his displeasure about it when he told Paula to punch Simon. I'm probably reading way too much into it. Common sense tells me Adam's such a perfectionist and that if he was unhappy with Simon, he'd just do things his own way. How much time did Adam actually spend preparing for the song since it was only cleared on the Saturday? And is it unfair that he'd been preparing three songs in that time, when everyone else was preparing two? I'm guessing he did Cryin' because it was an easy option that he was already familiar with. I think I'm looking for excuses now because I'm in denial that Adam is human and susceptible to faltering.

I didn't feel great after the song and I've been trying to figure out why ever since. It pains me to say that I don't think it worked as well as it should have. I felt both underwhelmed because I didn't like what he did with the song and overwhelmed at the same time, because it really hit me emotionally. Did he manage to inject the sorrow of the song into me so effectively it became real? Or do I feel terrible about disliking the song where I think he really laid himself out so bare? Or maybe in doing that, he made me feel uncomfortable? This is the first time I've ever been really moved by a song I didn't care much for. How is that possible? How the hell did Adam do that? I feel challenged and it's left a strong impression on me that I'm still pondering over, which I suppose is what being a great artist is all about. Maybe it just needs more time.

After Danny and Kris's performance, I started to get more worried because it meant that Adam had to really do something amazing. It all seemed to rest on this one. For the second performance, Adam came back with eyeliner dressed all in black in casual-looking and understated rocker gear. He wore a leather jacket with a cut like the one he wore for Mad World with very long sleeves and clunky boots. I found Ryan's thinly veiled comments regarding Adam's song choices of Queen and Cher a rather silly attempt to poke fun but I'm glad Adam just dismissed him and laughed it off. We were to expect a fairly straight-up version.

I loved Adam's vocals at the start of Cryin', which were in his lower register, very resonantly rich and velvety - absolutely stunning. He started off in the centre of the stage and did some pacing about. Then the backing singer came in which really distracted from my enjoyment of the performance. It was terribly discordant and the timing was way off and annoyed me immensely. I'd also found this the case but to a much lesser extent on BTBW. Adam doesn't need them. He did a great job using his rocker wail to sing through it, not allowing it to faze him. There were definitely some technical issues because Adam ended up pulling out one of his earpieces midway through the performance. The band sounded very loud and seemed to drown out Adam's voice at points. Adam's stage presence didn't seem as commanding as usual and it seemed like a very controlled performance in terms of his movements, but the vocals were out of this world. They were pitch perfect and powerful throughout and he made brilliant use of his breath to convey the feeling of desperation. I found him to be very expressive and loved the incredible Dying to forget you as well as the final Crying, which was low, long and and perfectly unembellished. He was awesome and took my breath away. After he finished, he looked quite happy and the first thing he did was signal to the band, then shook his head to zone back in and removed his remaining earpiece. I found it a little bit strange that Simon practically begged everyone to vote for him and I hope he negated any possible backlash by complimenting the other contestants.

I still have mixed feelings about the nights performances which I thought seemed slightly jaded. It wasn't a great night for anyone and I'm left a bit worried that Adam's lost a little momentum this week. Perhaps it's just been a very hectic and tiring week. I was hoping for Adam to blow the roof off but felt that what he gave was relatively tame by his standards. I half expected Adam to give two performances that were complete polar opposites but I guess it's hard when you don't know until late on what you're allowed to sing. I still think his performances were the best of the night, beating everyone else's. He actually didn't put a foot wrong in either performance and sang his ass off - but as he himself is aware, at this point, it's not about skills or talent but a matter of taste. I'm annoyed at myself for having built up such high expectations that are unfair on Adam. I hope they'll announce him safe early on in the show because I desperately want to see him completely blow us away next week and win.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Run-Up to Top 3 - Judge and Personal Picks

It's getting to the final stretch and Adam needs to continue with his upward climb from the past two weeks. I think he'll manage it but if he plays it level, I'm afraid it won't be enough. This week is pretty open in terms of the type of music we're going to be hearing. I believe from the homecoming event that there are a couple of possibilities for Adam: One by U2 and Wicked Games by Chris Isaak. These aren't definite but I kind of wish I was clueless as I really loved it last week when Whole Lotta Love came out of the blue as a complete but very welcome surprise. I really appreciated the fact that Adam came back from the Glumbert Day scare with all guns blazing, giving us a thrilling performance. And frankly, we were gagging for some of that crazy Adam we hadn't quite seen since RoF. To be able to hear him sing two songs by himself tonight just hasn't come soon enough. I haven't managed to refrain from speculating, but I think I've managed not to build up my expectations too much.

I think One is a great song although I'm not quite sure what Adam could do with it to make it really special. It's not the most exciting song and I don't see it to be challenging enough as I think he does best when he's really pushed. I'm guessing we'll be relying on the pure emotion of the vocals to drive home the impact as I don't think One lends itself well to being re-arranged. But then again, although the song is lacking in light and shade, I feel I can pretty much rely on Adam to shine his fog lights and dig a trench, then slap a bonus 1000lb firework on top.

I love Wicked Games by Chris Isaak. It's one song I'd already entertained in my mind that I'd like to hear him sing. It's not quite mainstream and such a stirring, intensely gripping and steamy song that simmers a heartbeat away from boiling point. It doesn't have much range in terms of pitch, but there's a lot of room to play with in regards to the emotional delivery. Providing he doesn't mess with the arrangement too much, it's quite bare, which should enable him plenty of space to allow us to marvel when his voice unfolds its spectrum of nuances. I'd be interested to hear more of his lower range which I think would better suit the song's sensuality. Adam can express the anguish and desperation of obsession like no one else can. I have no doubt he'll be able to connect to the song and in doing so, he'll connect us to the song. The only problem is that we might die watching it! The lyrics describe how we feel towards him, and for him to return the sentiment might just send us over the edge! Someone will have to mop my remains up off the floor after I've melted in his heat then drowned in the agony of yearning.

Of course he might not even sing these songs at all as I'm doubtful that Wicked Games will get cleared. I'm not quite as nervous as last week, just a little apprehensive. I'm excited to see what's in store but a little concerned from the Tweets I've picked up that Kris has been doing very well this week. If Kris has a 'moment' and Adam doesn't amaze with his songs, then it's possible that Adam might end up in trouble. GET VOTING!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Apple Pie Adam

This was a week in which Adam returned to his past.  Revisting the past is usually something that's bittersweet but I get the feeling that the past was more on the unpleasant side for Adam because he's talked about how he's always been made fun of and how he was the weird kid at school.  Many people were concerned about the visit dredging up old high school woes but I think it's good to face the past before diving into the future because you can appreciate how the pain of the past is an important part of the journey that leads to the present.  Adam said he said he wasn't that popular, but he was also careful not to play the victim card by keeping any bitterness in check, emphasing that he wasn't necessarily disliked, but rather misunderstood.

I can't say I understand Adam and I think this is a conundrum that has gotten us so fixated with him.  He just seems to be such an enigma.  This past week has shown us polar opposites and the biggest possible contrast between the different sides of Adam that it's hard to believe they are the same person.  Seeing him sing in his graduation video as a cherubic sandy haired, freckly, slightly awkward teen after watching Whole Lotta Love was just shocking.

I'm sure I can't be the only one who has trouble in reconciling sweetheart, gentle, granny-hugging Apple Pie Adam at his homecoming with the disdainful, aggressive, so sexually charged he was audio-visual Viagra that could ignite a population explosion, rock god Adam.  How can someone be so completely different when they are on stage?  Surely to be able to be convincing you have to experience and empathise with the character you are portraying.  But there's nothing about Adam's personality we've seen that remotely resembles the contemptuous snarling sex god.

Throughout AI so far, Adam has managed to avoid any overlap between his on and off-stage self.  I did wonder before, but I'm now convinced that Adam is genuinely every bit as sweet as he apears to be.  I'm fairly certain that if the nice guy thing was just an act, then the cracks would definitely have appeared on such a day as his homecoming.  I spent the day watching the videos and my head hurt from all the screaming hysterical fans.  I felt exhausted and deaf and I wasn't even there so I can't imagine what it would've been like for Adam.  There's just no way you could keep a fake smile and persona throughout the whole day like that.  He conducted himself graciously, radiating charisma and charm throughout.  He showed how much he cared for and appreciated his fans and tried hard to make time for them, hugging them, speaking to them, fulfilling their requests for shouts out and signing autographs.  It was a long day and he displayed patience and stamina.  Through all the videos that I saw - and there were a heck of a lot - I was pleasantly surprised at how generous and responsive he was and he didn't snub anyone.  To be chased around like that I did feel concerned for him being overwhelmed.  It must be a bit of a headfuck to come out of the bubble and realise suddenly you're the world's shit-hot next biggest thing.  The negative part of me was thinking how fickle people are and would compare how differently they treat him now that he's on Idol.  Although I'm confident Adam knew what he was getting himself into from the lyrics of Pop Goes the Camera - which are quite prophetic - I'm fairly certain he couldn't have known how intense the spotlight would be on him or the extraordinary effect he has on people.  I think that if he fully understood the latter, he would be quite freaked out.  I see the benefits of why he waited so long to audition.  Although it was a struggle, I'm glad he has experienced a normal life which has shaped who he is before being whisked away with AI.  I'm glad he grew to be assured enough in himself not to feel ripped apart by the need to compromise because of any negativity aimed towards him.

Next brings me to the Adam I don't think I've seen on AI, which I categorise as a combination of the on and off-stage personas.  The one who likes to dress up and goes to Burning Man.  This side of him is compellingly mysterious and yet so appealing that we can't help but wonder.  Is he still Apple Pie Adam or does he get into a certain character?  Is he still sweet and charming even when he's dressed up as an other-worldly fantasy beast?  He captures our imaginations because he represents what we all wish we could be like but aren't daring enough to take the leap.  This part of him to me is exciting and fearless, symbolising an avant-garde creative free spirit with little regard for social convention.  It represents an exploratory and experimental side which is individualistic, bold and audacious.  He's talked about people loving or hating him and getting kicks out of arousing strong reactions and that if everyone likes you, you're playing things too safe.  His attitude portrays that of an artist who is dedicated to challenging us and he has the potential to create tidal waves.  The thing is, how can you be of all these things and still be so incredibly grounded and nice?  If you dare to push boundaries, surely you have to fashion a 'screw them' attitude about you in order to survive?  Those who take the leap can often get lost.  I can't say I like people who are provocative for the sake of getting attention.  How can Adam manage to be provocative without provoking outrage and consternation, and remain so likeable at the same time?  Or am I just blind to it and it's just a matter of taste?  Adam to me is a screaming contradiction who defies stereotypes.  He doesn't do it in a brash, in your face, 'Look at me, aren't I shocking?' kind of way, but in an unabashed 'Let's have some fun, aw, it's a shame if you don't like it' kind of way.  There may be parts of his art or assumed lifestyle that people could find to hate but he concedes no part of his actual personality to lend itself to be hated.  Even the bashers have to admit that he seems to be a truly amiable person.

I think the homecoming showed him in a very positive light as the theatre kid who worked hard, followed his dreams and done good.  He's not had the background story clips like the others so this will help to show other sides of him.  Each part of his visit showed us something slightly different but altogether, I think it was a great PR success.  I haven't watched any of the other homecomings so have nothing to compare it to, but it seemed to be personal and sincere with the focus on others rather than a pretentious flashy ego-trip.  The places he visited seemed to mean something to him and I thought he was giving a nod to all those who helped and shaped him along the way.  The visits to the radio and TV stations showed how appreciative he is of his fans, easily relating to both young and old.  The radio slots gave us more insight into his time on AI and how winning would validate everything he's done up to now.  It was touching that he was still able to remember his first-grade teacher.  The interview with his mother showed what a sweet and loving son he is.  The clip with the weathergirl showed us how unassuming but delightfully engaging he is at the same time.  The visit to the school was inspiring and full of positivity for the children.  The visit to the theatre group reminded us that he will never forget his roots and wants to make a difference to aspiring little Adams.  The trip to the military base was an unusual move but he showed his heartfelt appreciation to the troops, where he sang a moving and beautiful but very simple a capella national anthem.  In doing this, I think he added to his fan base and at the same time placated those who took issue with his previous Burning Man rendition of the anthem.  In one day, he managed show us his take on social responsibilities to promote art, education, individuality, patriotism, tolerance, acceptance and risk-taking without a hint of self-indulgence, which is an impressive achievement.

I'd challenge anyone to say that they really get Adam but I hope the difference between now and his high school years is that the message that he's been trying to deliver for much of his life has finally hit home for all of us.  I'm sorry you had a tough time, Apple Pie Adam, but it's made you into who you are today.  You may still be weird, we don't truly get you, but we wholeheartedly accept and love you for it.