American Idol’s Adam Lambert Losing Focus … Losing Edge

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I love Adam Lambert’s music, but I am starting to get worried.

On American Idol, Lambert was stunningly fantastic. His performances were soaking with originality. Combined with rare vocal range, an in-your-face, edgy wardrobe and a likable attitude, Lambert was not your typical American Idol fare. He was unscripted and raw.

Week after week, he stole the show. From the incredible tender “Tracks of my Tears,” to the bad-ass, through-everything-on-the-table attitude in singing Aerosmith’s “Cryin,’ ” Lambert was just “it.”

The judges knew it. The other contestants knew it. The media knew it.

Had Bill O’Reilly not published some pictures of Lambert making out with another guy, America might have known it too. Instead, he came in second, behind the talented, but less exciting, Kris Allen.

But who cares if he won, right? Like many lovable losers, Lambert was sure to score a record deal anyway.

Well, he did, and all summer, and well into the Fall, the media has been buzzing over Lambert’s debut album. It’s been such hot fodder, that fans have been treated to Lambert a little bit at a time.

First his single to the 2012 movie, “Time For Miracles,” was leaked to the media. Then we heard he was working with some hot artists, songwriters, and producers such as Lady Gaga, Linda Perry and Rob Cavallo. Then we found out the name of his album, “For Your Entertainment.” Oh, and with those cover shoots, Lambert was everywhere.

Then it all went downhill. We got a glimpse of his horrible album cover, where he looks liked an airbrushed, cliched stereotype of disco freak from the late 1970s-early 80s. With blue hair, a glove and a intergalactic background, it just looked, well, weak, from an artistic standpoint.

This is not the Adam Lambert we saw on American Idol.

But I held out hope that the album’s songs, really what matters, would be better.

Ugh. Amazon.co.uk released 30-second snippets of Lambert’s album songs this week, and, oh boy, did Kris Allen start to sound really good.

It’s not that I am criticizing Lambert. Let’s be clear — this dude can sing, and is probably the most all-around, entertaining star to come around since Michael Jackson. Yes, I believe that to be true. Just watch him on American Idol. Just pick a performance on YouTube. Any performance.

The problem is that it seems although Lambert has been highjacked by too many songwriters and producers wanting to work with his incredible talent. You know the story about too many cooks in the kitchen.

The best parts of American Idol, where when Lambert took the stage. Why? Because he could sing like no one else. His unique voice is unparalleled – he’s kind of the male Whitney Houston, er, the Whitney Houston of 1987, that is.

Although I have only heard about 30 seconds of each song, his stuff sounds terribly overproduced. Some of the songs are catchy. “Whataya Want From Me,” shows off his voice, as does, “Fever,” and “A Loaded Smile.”

But it’s kind of like looking forward to a delicious steak dinner at your favorite restaurant, and the steak is raw, the drinks are flat, and desert is stale. The mashed potatoes were pretty good, but, in the end, the meal was a disappointment.

During Lambert’s Idol audition, Lambert sang “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Simon Cowell, at the time, said he was “theatrical,” and therefore “not contemporary.” Lambert told him that he could work on that. And he did, with the exception of a couple of performances, Lambert dropped the whole theatrical bit, and rocked the house with his voice.

But since the show ended, Lambert forgot Cowell’s advice, and went all Theatre again.

Lambert keeps Tweeting about how excited he is about his album. Good for him. I will buy it, and I hope I change my mind.

But if the incomparable Adam is reading this, here’s my message to you:

Don’t try so hard.

Keep it simple. This isn’t 1980. You don’t need to go retro, or glam, or 80s. You don’t need act like you are on the broadway stage. You don’t need to act one way on the cover of “Rolling Stone,” and the opposite way on the cover of “Details.”

And you especially don’t need to collaborate with Kara DioGuardi.

It was your originality that got you so far on American Idol, and that’s what is going to make you a star again. It can be a rough road without the backing, and weekly television exposure that comes with Fox’s American Idol show. Fans are finicky and fairweathered. Remember Taylor Hicks?

All you need to do is be yourself. And sing. Don’t let the overproduction of the music drown out the artist that you are.

Otherwise you will be here for our entertainment. Except you will be a joke.

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5 comments for “American Idol’s Adam Lambert Losing Focus … Losing Edge

  1. Ella
    November 7, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    You are an idiot if you think Adam was going to put out and album doing all classic rock or ballads, not only would that not do well commercially that is not what he EVER said he was going to do. If you are real fan have a little faith, Adam is being the artist he wants to be, if you can’t support that then go be a fan of someone else. There is no loss of focus from what I can see, from what I’ve heard from the album snippets of the songs he is doing exactly what he has been telling us for months he wanted to do with his album, it’s your problem if you didn’t listen to him. This is his artistic vision, it’s not about YOU.

  2. Gimmee a Break Ella
    November 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Ella seems to think fandom = blind faith. I must disagree. The author is a true fan, IMO.

    Do not support your idols blindly, even your American Idols. If you loved Lambert and are confused that his spirit has dissipated during subsequent actions, it’s a true fan, one who expects Adam to be his best, that should indeed question him.

  3. Rianna
    November 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hmmm, I loved Adam on AI and all the covers that he performed, I felt he did a better job than the originals. But I wasn’t disappointed with TFM and I simply cannot stop playing FYE it is SO good. I don’t judge Adam, as long as I can hear his amazing voice I WILL listen! I hope he stays true to who he is, that’s one of the reasons I am in awe of him. He is just starting out, let’s give him some room for testing the waters and seeing what he wants from all of this!

  4. November 23, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Adam Lambert is a very good performer, me and my boyfriend voted for him on American Idol. So many in the business have really noticed Adam. Given his talent, I would guess Adam will be someone many will want to work with, but he is a highly creative artist and won’t slip into someone elses shoes for long.

  5. nina nais
    January 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I know this is a very very very old post. But, did you ever get a chance to go to any of Adam’s Glam Nation performances? Because in a live show completely of his own construction, I think the “theatre” works. Some of his Glam Nation performances are otherworldly and completely unique, IMO. Like nobody else, which is a good thing. If by any chance you haven’t seen them, on youtube check out, for example, “Whole Lotta Love” in Louisville, Milhaukee and Fantasy Springs, “Aftermath” in Wilkes Barre, “Strut” in Nashville, “Sure Fire Winners” in Foxwoods and “20th Century Boy” in Providence. lambobsessed, indybeck71, suz526, and TALC have some of the best live Adam vids. And you will also see that the criticism you had in another blog about him not wanting to dance on stage definitely did not hold true during Glam Nation.

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