As I predicted a few weeks ago, Adam Lambert is dominating this years American Idol competition. It’s really gotten to the point where he’s the only reason to watch the show. I think it’s pretty clear that besides being the most vocally talented, he’s also by far the most musically creative and adventurous and it’s not even close.
I think there are two main things to watch for as the show ebbs its way to it’s finale
1. How big of an issue will the fact that Lambert is obviously gay become. While he hasn’t trumpeted the fact openly, he doesn’t seem to be making much of an attempt to hide it either. Aside from a having a press conference formally declaring your sexuality, having your father comment on your lifelong love of theater, by adding “sports not so much” is about as clear an implication as we can probably expect at this time.
2. I’ve read a lot of people mention that they find Adam to be more of a performer than an artist who sings passionately from the heart.
For a long time this was my problem with David Bowie as an artist. I preferred guys like John Lennon, who put their hearts on the line and sang their guts out. By comparison, Bowie came off as too much of a chameleon.
Then I saw Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine, which traced Bowie’s career back to Oscar Wilde and explored this fascinating notion of living your entire life as a sort of dramatic performance. Not surprisingly, Haynes attributed a lot of these tendencies to the homosexuality of the artists of that period.
An interesting contrast between these two styles, can be seen when one notes that Kurt Cobain, who howled passionately from his soul as achingly as anyone since Lennon, was also a big fan of Freddie Mercury, both a homosexual icon and known as perhaps the ultimate performer.
Adam Lambert’s original Idol audition song? Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
As it stands now, Lambert seems to know exactly who he is and even more importantly seems to have the talent and artistic drive to help him swallow the enormous bite he’s attempting to take out of America’s Number One rated show.
I expect the show to continue to ignore the 800 pound gorilla that is Lambert’s sexuality, but I think it should be fascinating to see how maturely the rest of the media deals with this over the next two months.