Wednesday, 27 May 2009
The Final Results Show
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.