After what seemed like an incredibly long wait, Adam showed up with pimp-spot timing on the red carpet. The look was very understated in terms of sparkly embellishments and was one of the simplest I think I've seen from him. The look consisted of a skinny black tie and button-down shirt with pointy collars, underneath an elongated jacket with thin slivers for lapels. The bling was provided by patent leather boots and a knuckle-duster of garish chunky rings. His hair was styled in a high pompadour which I find smarter and more appropriate for the red carpet than his spikes. I thought he might have arrived in something more outrageous but because he didn't, it made me all the more curious about what he would bring to the performance. He looked fabulous nonetheless and was his usual charming self.
The expectations for this were virtually insurmountable as the hype grew with each ad break thanks to the AMA voice-over which I really didn't appreciate. The pressure must have been enormous. As the evening of bad sound and vocals progressed, my first doubts started to creep in but my confidence in Adam's performance skills swept them away until the performance. That Adam wasn't at his best made the viewing a little uncomfortable and less-than glowing performances are always the most difficult to write about but here you go.
Seeing Adam's name in lights was incredible and gave me a lump in my throat. Everything was dark apart from that and a dim spotlight locked onto the lone but powerful figure at the centre of the stage. The bright sparkly keys gave off a slightly oriental melody as Adam began to sing. It took a very dramatic turn, sounding like the score for the villain's entrance in a silent movie as Adam surveyed and sneered at his subjects. We got a close-up of his outfit, which possibly ranks as my favourite. I think it hit the spot that the Sebree look homed in on but missed. I loved the camp glittery silver three-piece suit and the gold tie that were complemented by the hardness of his glove and shoulder spikes. It was a grand opening full of theatrics and strong vocals and he commanded every one of us - I absolutely loved it.
With such a strong start, I had high hopes for the rest of the performance. But soon after the band kicked in, the thin and shaky vocals upset my engagement of the performance and I just couldn't get back into it. The rest went by in a bit of a blur. It was frustrating because the stream wasn't particularly good, there were silent spots, there was a lot of glare and the camerawork was a bit of a failure. The things I remember were swelling with pride, a huge mental 'Yes!' and cackling with glee at his sexual predator moves, wincing when I heard the backing singers, wondering if rolling on the floor was part of the plan, and thinking 'WTF?' when I thought I saw him snogging Lisa, the band's keyboardist.
It's only on subsequent viewings was I able to take it in properly. FYE isn't a song that sells Adam's vocals well with the verses in a low range that sits outside his sweet spot. I think it needs big notes to impress as a live performance otherwise it lacks power. There may have been some nerves but as he pulled the dancer across the floor, he wasn't really able to sustain the quality of the notes and think he would have perhaps done better in a higher key at the expense of a growly tone. He gyrated and prowled around the stage and I loved the visual of his whipping the dancer gimps on leashes, as if there were any doubt as to which bitch was in charge. I find myself bemused by the highly exaggerated claims of simulating fellatio and annoyed that not only was it muted, but the cameras were made to pan out to the audience. Do these people not understand what a blow-job is? That was nothing more than Adam rubbing a willing face into his horny crotch, that lucky bastard!
As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I found the performance disappointing because it wasn't well executed and I couldn't really connect with it. The sound was bad, the lighting glare and camera work made it much more of an effort to watch, detracting from the performance, and Adam was vocally below-par. It felt as though it was targeted at the theatre audience rather than the television one because the screen just seemed too busy. I wanted more focus on him and think the lighting should have enabled that. I did get the feeling that Adam was being destructive in mauling Tommy as my instinct was that it might cause awkwardness within the band.
I can see what he was trying to achieve with that performance though, which was unmistakably Adam. I liked the way the dancers moved in their kooky costumes even though due to having seen them in the spoilers I paid them little attention. I liked the colours of the performance with the set and costumes all reminding me of Duran Duran's 'Wild Boys' video. I liked the raunchy S&M bondage theme and the provocative character Adam assumed, although the anger/aggression could have been toned down a notch and the fun cranked up a few. I'm proud and love that Adam didn't shy away from taking such a risk and it was a ballsy, subversive 'Fuck you!' to generic bubblegum pop and to anyone who thinks he's de-gaying to pander to the audience. I do think giving the finger wasn't necessary though, and it should have remained implied. I so wanted that statement to have been made without giving the critics any ammo but the standard of the vocals lessened the impact. In that respect I can't place it with RoF, which was technically flawless. Although the kinky sexual nature might have been too shocking and gratuitous for many, I just think it was a bit of harmless groping, no more. It's similar to what he did for the Zodiac Show, which had plenty of grinding and crotch-grabbing and sexually suggestive moves. I don't see it as a cheap attempt to get headlines because he's staying true to himself bringing underground performance art to the masses and I hope he succeeds. I did feel uncomfortable watching the FYE because it didn't go smoothly and didn't do justice to Adam's mind-blowing talent. I was worried he might have ended up kamikaze-ing it after feeling it slip away a little and was sad for him. After watching the post-performance interviews though, it seemed fairly upbeat, which left me feeling reassured and more positive.
Being invested fans, we've been building up our expectations over a period of months and this performance got blown into a massive event. Perhaps we rested all our hopes and attached too much importance onto this debut performance. Yes this was a stumble and he may have alienated many, but I think the re-branding was successful and he couldn't distance himself any further from cookie-cutter Idol. He's shown that he can hold his own against established stars despite being sub-par. The result is it's grabbed plenty of headlines and gotten people talking. As their curiosity has been stoked, there will be many more who'll be wondering what he does next. Some of them will have opened Pandora's box by Googling him and seeing other amazing performances. Some may even have stepped off the precipice and been swallowed into this obsession. Adam is a brilliant rainbow and it's his spectrum of colours that's one of his greatest strengths. It's rare for anyone to like every colour so if you didn't like his vision for this performance, there will be many more to come that'll show off his other colours.
Apologies for the delay, it's been a tough day with the end of a relationship.