Kris Allen who?
Ever since I learned that “American Idol” was recruiting Adam Lambert to coach the Top 8 contestants on the art of performing Queen songs on April 28, I’ve been hungry to hear the Season 8 runner-up perform live himself on the show. Yes, he is expected to do so on the finale on May 19. But that is too long to wait.
Lambert, who nailed his spot on “Idol” 10 years ago by singing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” ended up sharing the stage with Queen on that year’s finale. It served as an audition of sorts, with the glam belter becoming the touring frontman for Queen + Adam Lambert in 2011.
At least ABC and the producers of the long-running talent contest are savvy enough to take advantage of the wave of Queen fever that took hold after the astounding global box-office success of four-time Oscar-winning biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” whose star Rami Malek took home a Best Actor trophy for his performance as late Queen singer Freddie Mercury. Lambert and Queen were even the opening act for the Academy Awards ceremony, but their brief medley of hits acted more as a tease.
ABC seems to know that Lambert’s appearance on the reality show that launched him is not enough to satisfy his fans. That is why they scheduled an airing of the TV special, “The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story” the following night.
More than a few “Idol” watchers a decade ago will remember the controversy that broke out when it was claimed that of the nearly 100 million votes cast to decide the ultimate winner of season 8 that 38 million might have come from Lambert’s chief rival Kris Allen‘s home state of Arkansas. It was suspected that AT&T might have skewed the vote tally somehow but the producers knocked that claim down.
As for Allen, he was in the mode of such guitar-strumming crooners such as Jason Mraz and John Mayer. He was cute, polite and talented. Basically, teeny-bopper bait. He also distinguished himself as an activist, someone who did Christian missionary work around the world. But as the complete showbiz package goes, he was no Adam Lambert when it comes to being an all-around entertainer.
But Lambert’s second-place finish might have taught the nation and “American Idol” team a valuable lesson. It was speculated early on in season 9 by the media that he was gay, which was steadfastly not acknowledged by the judges or Lambert himself in any way on the air. That sort of cover-up happened before with Clay Aiken, the runner-up on Season 2. Compare that to Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon‘s moving back story this season as he reconnects with his religious family, who initially rejected him after coming out.
But let’s get back to getting more Lambert in our lives. Watch the highlight reel above of his performances on season 8. Yes, his interpretation of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was and still is a bit screechy for my ears. But what Pavarotti is to opera, Lambert is to pop, rock and even soul. Enjoy!
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