Adam Lambert | He Will Rock You!

state_adam-lambert_sm.jpgCorrect me if I’m wrong, but isn’t American Idol supposed to be a singing contest, not a sexuality contest?








I’m not an American Idol junkie. Really; I promise I’m not. It’s true that over the years I’ve enjoyed watching the show each season, but this time around, when the show returned to the air in January, I wasn’t that interested. Too many changes were in store. Too much tweaking of the format was promised by the producers.

First of all, they were adding a new judge, Kara DioGuardi, to the mix. Second, they were bringing back the wildcard round. And finally, most disturbing of all, the producers were substantially cutting the amount of time devoted to featuring the most awful, yet gut-busting, side-splitting, hilarious early auditions. What?! No more William Hung, Rhonetta Johnson, Leroy Wells or Mary Roach? Watching those contestants and other unforgettable rejects like them had been my absolute favorite part of Idol each season.

Since there was little chance that I would get to see any laugh-out-loud, dreadful auditions as memorable as theirs, I wasn’t the least bit excited about Season 8 of Idol. In fact, I was considering skipping it entirely. But then serendipity stepped in and I was introduced to the sensational sounds of 27-year-old Adam Lambert. Lambert, a true superstar in the making, has single-handedly made me change my tune.

Interestingly enough, I only came to know of Lambert because of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Sometime back in March, Hoda and Kathie Lee were chatting about how much they loved Lambert, then they played a clip of him singing Michael Jackson’s "Black or White." After watching that clip, I was shocked. Lambert totally rocked out the MJ classic in an unbelievably unique style that was like a rock ‘n’ roll eclectic mix of Steve Perry and Axl Rose. He sounded amazing! Needless to say, I became a fan right there on the spot. 

Since then, I’ve been faithfully tuning in each week to see how Lambert will put his signature spin on every song that he sings. And I must say that I haven’t been disappointed yet. Last week, for instance, the contestants had to perform music from the Rat Pack era. Lambert gave a rendition of "Feelin’ Good," but more than good, his performance was spectacular. He received high praise from all of the judges, including Simon Cowell, and everyone was impressed with his originality. Have I mentioned that the guy is truly amazing? I can honestly say that if he were to release an album, I’d actually buy it. And that’s a first for me; I haven’t been impressed enough with any of Idol’s past contestants, or even winners, to spend my hard-earned money on any of their music.

So imagine my surprise, disappointment and utter shock to learn that, despite Lambert’s brilliant performance of "Feelin’ Good," on the next night’s result show, he landed in the bottom two. He was in serious danger of being eliminated from the competition. I was mortified! Lambert is easily the best thing about Idol this season. I couldn’t begin to understand how such a miscarriage of justice could have happened. Then I learned that a backlash is brewing against Lambert because of his sexuality. He’s reportedly gay or bisexual, as evidenced by photos taken of him kissing another man.

Yeah, and so what? I’m completely dumbfounded here, America. Suddenly, Idol viewers are not voting for Lambert—far and away the best singer in the competition—because of his sexual preference? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t American Idol supposed to be a singing contest, not a sexuality contest? Who cares if Lambert is gay, straight or in between. Whom he kisses doesn’t diminish the quality of his voice. If it did, then, of course, I’d say send him packing. But it doesn’t. So why, then, is his private life even an issue? Come on, people, let’s focus our attention on the stage instead of the bedroom.

Thankfully, a little luck was on Lambert’s side and he survived last week’s near elimination. But who knows what shocking results (or revelations) lie ahead. I can only hope that the same fans who have voted for Lambert throughout the competition will continue to support him based solely on his talent and talent alone. His personal life is not on display. It’s not open to judgment or criticism week after week. His talent, though, is. And since it’s quite obvious that he’s the most talented of this season’s contestants, shouldn’t his talent be recognized and applauded? Shouldn’t it be celebrated and appreciated?

The new winner of American Idol will not be announced until May 20, but I can tell you right now who the champion is in my eyes: Adam Lambert. I only hope that America gives him all the support and votes that he truly deserves. | Retannical D. Russell

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