By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Adam Lambert, in an interview last month, said he came onto “American Idol” seven years ago not thinking he had a prayer making it far on the show because he felt he was just too different.
But in his case, different was good. Very good. So good in fact that he finished second.
Last night he proved at a sold-out Tabernacle concert (capacity 2,000-plus) why he really should have been first. During his post-“Idol” career, he leveraged his time on “Idol” to his advantage, building a worldwide fan base with his glam rock stylings and vocal power. He earned more money last year than any alum, according to Forbes magazine.
His set list included his classic “Idol” cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” a tribute to his muse David Bowie with “Let’s Dance” and an homage to his work with Queen “Another One Bites the Dust.” Plus, he included a nice range of his hits (“Whataya Want From Me,” “Ghost Town”) and cuts that should be hits (an ebullient, catchy “Another Lonely Night,” a sweaty “Fever.”)
Adam’s music is as much a pastiche as the third jacket he donned, a bright graffiti-filled design, with elements of pop, EDM, R&B, funk and rock all blended together. And he built his set list so the energy level ramped up over the 90 minutes. With no effort at all, he emoted sexual desire and the slightest hint of danger. But outside a few curse words (“You guys are f***in’ loud!”), he felt oddly family friendly. He was having a good time and appeared truly appreciative by the groundswells of applause he would get between songs.
“Is there a towel up here?” he said at one point. “I’m wet!”
But for some reason, he didn’t make that sound dirty at all.
“I promise I won’t kick you out in the morning,” he said, then added with a tease, “unless you want me to!”
The crowd was a heavy mix of older women and gay guys and the atmosphere was all positivity.
Well, almost all.
I was on the second tier in the second row. Early on, two Glamberts – who appeared to be in their 60s – were standing in front of me in the first row, just enjoying themselves. A man behind my wife and me started yelling at them to sit down multiple times. It was amusing given that women of this vintage were “disrupting” the experience of a middle-aged dude.
But after a few songs, they were on their feet again and he ultimately joined them with a smile on his face. That’s the Lambert effect.
On stage, he talked a bit about how “Idol” brought different types of people together regardless of age, gender, religion or sexual orientation. “Deep down, we all have a heart,” he said. “And deep down, we all go through the same s***! I love that about music and I love that about my journey and I love that about my fans.”
Here’s my Power 8. Last week, I placed Olivia Rox at No. 2 and poof! She’s gone. I wish she was around and Tristan was gone. But that’s just me. She fumbled and paid the price during the top 10 show. And when she tried to salvage things last week, she got (barely) played by Avalon. If “Idol” still had a save, I’d give it to her. But alas, we are just four weeks away to the finale already. Speed “Idol!”
Right now, four (and maybe even five) of the eight finalists could win it all in my mind. The parenthetical is last week’s ranking.
1- La’Porsha Renae (3). She has been pulling off powerhouse performances in her live shows that means she means business. She has a different look and an edge that could get her to the top.
2- MacKenzie Bourg (4) – This man is a true charmer. He was able to David Cook a Whitney Houston song and make it work. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the finals.
3- Trent Harmon (5) – He is still overly technical and theatrical for my taste but he has serious stage presence and it’s hard not to be taken in by him.
4- Dalton Rapattoni (1) – He isn’t rising to the occasion during the live shows. He seems to be over-thinking things and picking overly wimpy songs. And last week, he felt disconnected. Apparently, he was sick. He needs to just let go.
5- Avalon Young (7) Her “Earned It’ really earned her spot here. She is still a dark horse as long as she picks the right songs. (R&B and hip hop, not pop.)
6- Sonika Vaid (6) She wasn’t as locked in this week as she was last week. She somehow connected during the top 10 week with that Evanescence song. But “Since U Been Gone”? Not so much. Her lack of life experience, having not broken up with anybody much less dated anyone came through.
7- Lee Jean (9) – He should have gone home last week. I’m not sure Lee is growing enough to last much longer.
8- Tristan McIntosh (8) – She actually put together a solid performance last week but I’m not sure if she’ll be able to garner votes this week to survive.
I predict the bottom three will be Sonika, Lee and Tristan. Who will survive? Either Sonika or Tristan.
Michael Slezak and Melinda Doolittle argue in their latest Reality Check (watch here please!) that “Idol” should just have everyone perform, then provide the bottom three after the fact. Melinda feels the current format is unnecessarily stressing out the singers and negatively affecting performances because they have no idea when they are going on stage. Pus
I also agree that this week’s theme sucks. The producers are going to have the top 8 sing the most sung songs in “Idol’ history. “The well is dry!” Slezak says. “It’s a cup of dirt. It seems cheap.” Melinda said it is “sad” and “ill-placed homage.”
Slezak wonders if the producers “hate us”?
Maybe they do!
People magazine’s tribute to “American Idol” on newsstands now gives Carrie Underwood top billing on the cover with three of the other biggest stars in the top corner: Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert. Plus, the original trio and the current three with Ryan Seacrest are included.
It’s a fair representation of the best of the show.
Inside, there are photos of Adam playing with Queen, Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young getting married, Jennifer winning her Oscar, Carrie receiving a Grammy, Clay Aiken running for office, Jordin Sparks in “Sparkle.”
There are season reviews, a bit about “Idol Gives Back” and interviews with the three original judges and the current ones. Seacrest wrote the forward. Nobody who has read my blog all these years would find anything they didn’t already know but it’s a nice keepsake.
Here’s my weekly nostalgia piece from my “hoarders” desk of stuff: