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Music / Adam Lambert

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"Pop is a little bit theatrical. That's the whole vibe. That's the point - is that it's great music, great melodies, great hooks. But, on top of it, it's a presentation. There's a showmanship about it. And that's why I wanted to be a pop star."

Adam Mitchel Lambert (born January 29, 1982) is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He rose to fame after appearing in Season 8 of American Idol, where he finished as runner-up. He is known for his flamboyant stage presence and dynamic vocal abilities, which combine his theatrical training with modern and classic styles.

On Idol, he became known for his showy and sometimes over-the-top mannerisms, appearance and performing style, as well as his tendency to request interesting costumes, remixed musical accompaniments and flashy lighting effects during the rehearsals for the live shows.

Rumours swirled about Lambert's sexual orientation while he was on the show, especially after surfaced photos of him kissing another man while dressed in drag elicited mass speculation and controversy. Lambert didn't outright deny the claims, but was careful to remain in the closet until the season was over so as not to harm his chances of winning. (He officially came out as gay in June 2009, several weeks after the season's finale.) He also drew flak because he had past professional experience, with some viewers feeling that he perhaps had an unfair advantage over the other previously undiscovered contestants.

The show made no secret that they wanted Lambert to win — guest performer Katy Perry had his name embroidered on the back of her cape during her musical number (not the one with the contestants) in the Top 3 show. Lambert himself was probably ready to go before then — in later seasons, getting into the Top 2 can hurt your musical career relative to a lower placing. But between his obvious talent and Danny Gokey's disaster with "Dream On" the previous week failing to leave the radar, he made runner-up while Kris Allen won the season.

Lambert's loss shocked almost everyone who didn't vote for Kris Allen — even Allen himself. It didn't help that some AT&T dealerships in Arkansas (Allen's home state) may have rigged some of the cell-phone voting (not enough to make a difference in who won that season, we were assured, but probably enough to tarnish American Idol's credibility and do serious damage to the ratings for Season 9).

Lambert has gone on to a successful mainstream career in music and acting. His musicianship and showmanship are routinely acclaimed; his live performances, however, have been controversial due to their occasional use of sexually provocative and overtly Ho Yay imagery, including him having dancers put their faces in his crotch and kissing the male keyboardist/guitarist of his backing band. This came as an unexpected shock for the television stations who were airing the shows live (most of them big awards shows like the Grammys, several with television audiences expected to include families/young children and teens) and led to the cancellations of several daytime/morning talk show appearances. Lambert has said he does not regret his risqué performance decisions, though sometimes concedes that it may have been a little much.

Since 2011, he has also done live vocals for Queen, replacing Paul Rodgers. His pop background caused some initial hostility, but many fans now accept him as being as talented as Freddie Mercury (and being just as camp, which has included a fair amount of onstage Faux Yay with the straight Brian May).

Lambert had a minor role in the fifth season of Glee. His debut episode aired on November 7, 2013.

Before he was on American Idol, he also did musical theater, appearing in the San Francisco production of Wicked and a musical version of The Ten Commandments starring Val Kilmer as Moses.


  • For Your Entertainment (2009)
  • Trespassing (2012)
  • The Original High (2015)
  • Velvet (2020)
  • High Drama (2023)

Adam Lambert provides examples of:

  • But Not Too Gay: Pick a random music video of his. He has more chemistry with pet snakes than with any of the guys on-screen. The sole exception to that is "For Your Entertainment", and even that has so much activity in the background that Adam blends into it. Averted in real life, as he was one of the few celebrities at the time of his debut to be openly gay from the get-go rather than staying closeted for a few years before coming out.
  • Camp: As the page quote shows, he's fully embraced the theatricality that comes with being a pop star.
    • Camp Gay: Downplayed, but as also mentioned above, while not "out loud and proud," he never hid the fact that he was gay.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Original High drops the camp aesthetic of the first two albums in favor of a sleeker, more standard one.
  • Formerly Fat: Weighed 245lb in high school due to eating his feelings.
  • Guyliner: Became a signature of his - so much so that in the intro to the finale, Ryan Seacrest described the two finalists as "the guy next door vs. the guyliner."

Statler: Meat Loaf again?
Waldorf: Worse. Imitation Meat Loaf!
Both: Dohohohoho!