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.


  1. I'm heartbroken right now.

  2. There will never be another contestant of American Idol that matches the talent of Adam Lambert. The show is now very boring without him in it!!

  3. Anonymous, I think you're right. Future singing competitions will be so pale in comparison. I just feel glad that I was there to witness the rise of a superstar!

  4. I was really pleased Adam got to sing CIGC, I was brought up on Jazz and Blues, and I hadn't heard his Zodiac version, which I think is Brilliant too, but I loved it that I had something to show my Dad as well as Feeling Good, which was sung by Nina Simone.

  5. magsmagenta, me too! Ever since hearing SKoW, I'd wanted to hear him sing soul/blues with that incredible voice of his. It was those bluesy riffs and the power that did it. Would love to hear some soul/funk on his next album to show off his voice. Plus I just love the feel of it.

  6. Well, after I heard Adam's version of 'No Boundaries' and read your comments I had to go to find Kris' performance of the song on You Tube. And... I can't help it - Adam's performance WAS better! He deserved to win. Anyway, it doesn't matter now, IMO. And I have to say, 'No Boundaries' isn't my most favorite song, but I like it when I hear Adam singing it now. :)

    1. shimoli710, I don't think anyone liked the song, not even Kara who co-wrote it! When I hear it now, it makes me feel wistful having captured the strong feelings at the time.

  7. CIGC still to this day makes my jaw drop when I see it...he is so insanely talented and such a great person

  8. it's me, @MalsDoxy, thank you for this site