American Idol

The biggest upset in history

No Idol chat: Lambert’s the winner

By : SUZIEANA UDA NAGU


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Fans admire Adam Lambert (left) for his humility and kindness especially to Kris Allen
Fans admire Adam Lambert (left) for his humility and kindness especially to Kris Allen

Adam Lambert is the best thing that has ever happened to American Idol. SUZIEANA UDA NAGU tells why America has crowned the wrong Idol

KRIS Allen may have been crowned the eighth American Idol. But if it was up to rest of the world, Adam Lambert would have been the undisputed Prince of Rock.

Fans worldwide — from Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan to Australia, England and Norway — relied on social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums to get a blow-by-blow account of the results show on Wednesday (Los Angeles time).

As soon as they received the bad news, “Adamazed” supporters used the Internet to articulate their approval of Idol runner-up Lambert, who is from San Diego, California.

A live blogchat (between 7.30am and 10am on Wednesday) organised by a Malaysian English daily which coincided with the live telecast on Astro’s Starworld (channel 711) revealed that American Idol viewers here “voted for Adam Lambert”.

“It’s crazy, man. Adam is a far superior (performer) compared to Kris. Don’t worry Adam, your future will be brighter than his,” wailed a fan from Malaysia.

“Adam, I salute you for what you have achieved! The Philippines loves you so much and so do I. I admire you for your humility and kindness especially to Kris! I hope to see you perform live in the Philippines,” gushed julz_cacho, a fan from the Philippines.

“I’m sorry that you didn’t win. But I am so glad that you still adore Kris. You are a good man and good things will happen to you. The front page (of the local newspaper) says you are an international star. That is true. You’ve got fans here!

“Though we couldn’t vote, we can buy your album and go to your concert in Asia. Just want to let you know that you have supporters in Taiwan,” wrote kchencc from Taiwan, who tried to vote for Lambert but was prevented by the busy voting lines.

Three days after the controversial decision, fans are still reeling from the shocking results show.

“I just can’t believe it. The results (were) so unfair. (This is) an injustice. I am in shock and can’t stop crying,” wrote a distraught Eva Georges on Lambert’s official website (www.adamofficial.com).

The website, which was launched on Wednesday, had garnered close to 800 members worldwide within two days.

Messages were posted by fans who ranged from teenagers to grandmothers.

Undergraduate Maria Holm from Norway lamented on Twitter: “I can’t believe it. I’m still upset that Kris Allen won. Adam Lambert deserved that win! He has been the best during the whole competition!”

Bloggers found it necessary to remind readers of Lambert’s vocal prowess and musical genius.

The theatre veteran caught the attention of fans when he sang Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody during Idol audition a few months ago.

Lambert’s almost limitless vocal range and spellbinding performances have been hard to ignore, let alone forget, since then.

Rock and Roll week was predictably a walk in the park for Lambert. His rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love received the approval of those who grew up listening to the band and sent them marching to iTunes to download the remade single.

In the few months of being on the reality TV series, the “guyliner”, to quote Idol host Ryan Seacrest, had always risen to the occasion.

On Country week — a week in which many contestants stumble and fall — Lambert showed that he was no “one trick pony”.

He picked up from where Rock Star: Supernova contestant Dilana left off and turned Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire into a “sexually charged, Far Eastern inspired number”.

He also sailed through Motown and Rat Pack Standards weeks and even moved mentors Smokey Robinson and Jamie Foxx with his interpretation of Track of My Tears and Feeling Good.

Simply put, Lambert had shown a great body of work throughout the season and did so without missing a single note.

Although fans have seen their fair share of talented contestants, they have never met a contestant who is at once charismatic and enigmatic.

On stage, he looks like an edgy superstar with a penchant for black eyeliner and nail polish as well as “jumping off cliffs, creatively speaking”. Off stage and during interviews, he transforms into an eloquent and a well brought up gentleman.

Lambert is refreshing and appeals to the rebel in fans young and mature. He shows that it is possible to be both a rock star and a role model — just ask the children from the Metropolitan Educational Theatre formerly known as the Children’s Theatre Network, where Lambert attended, growing up in San Diego.

Lambert visited the theatre group as part of his homecoming trip three weeks before the finale.

Notwithstanding rumours about his sexuality and the incriminating pre-Idol photos circulating the Internet, footages of Lambert patiently answering questions from preschoolers about “how he got so good at singing and dancing” gave fans a sense of the kind of mentor Lambert would make.

But in the land of reality television shows, even an early favourite such as Lambert is not “safe”.

That American Idol traditionally favours contestants who are “a little abashed, nervous and demonstratively relieved when they survive” — a description one would use on Allen rather than Lambert — may have stacked the odds against the self-assured performer.

The result announced on Wednesday night (Los Angeles time) confirmed that while America adored Lambert’s “theatrics”, it could stomach his brand of music up to a point.

America may not be ready for an androgynous Idol but there seems to be a consensus that Lambert will have a long and healthy music career unencumbered by “mountains and hurricanes” — words from No Boundaries, the cheesy coronation song foisted on Lambert and Allen.

If the buzz on blogosphere is any indication, Lambert’s loss may just be the beginning of what promises to be a celebrated career.

The discussions on American Idol Forums quoted insiders as saying that reality show judge Simon Cowell “is going to manage Lambert”.

The famously acerbic Cowell has consistently rooted for Lambert. He told Oprah a week before the finale that he thought Lambert would emerge as the new Idol because, among other things, “he’s got swagger”.

The votes proved Cowell wrong but fans refuse to accept that this is the end of the road for the revolutionary artiste.

As American Idol judge Paula Abdul succinctly put it: “Whatever happens with this Idol journey, I know with every fibre of my being that you (Lambert) are going to be iconic”. – YOU, New Straits Times (Saturday, May 23, 2009).

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