Adam Lambert's new album challenges "Idol" producer

Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:08am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Adam Lambert's debut album is coming out much earlier than planned, some time this summer.

That's great news for fans of the "American Idol" runner-up, but it could be a big headache for some of the major corporations behind the talent show, who have been beaten to the punch by a pair of small, indie labels.

Before he became a household name, the flamboyant singer spent three years recording songs for Los Angeles-based Wilshire Records. The label has joined forces with Hi Fi Recordings to release the 11-track album "On With the Show" this summer. An exact release date will be announced shortly.

The first single, "Want," went on sale at digital music retailer iTunes on Tuesday. Lambert co-wrote nine of the songs, working mostly with Madonna's guitarist, Monte Pittman.

"American Idol" producer 19 Entertainment issued a brief, businesslike statement attributed to Lambert in which he is quoted as saying, "The work I did back then in no way reflects the music I am currently in the studio working on."

"It doesn't surprise us, but it doesn't make us feel good," Hi Fi Chairman and CEO John Hecker told Reuters on Tuesday. "For some reason it's scaring Goliath, and I don't know why."

He said Lambert attended a post-production session last month, as "American Idol" reached its climax, and that the singer was "blown away" by what he heard.

It wasn't supposed to be like this in the highly controlled "American Idol" organization. The winner and the runner-up from each season, along with some other finalists, score deals with a Sony Corp label through 19 Entertainment, which is owned by media firm CKX Inc.

Their albums are released with great fanfare in the fall. If they're lucky -- and the odds are against them -- the stars will go on to enjoy Grammy-winning success like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.   Continued...

<p>American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert poses at the Hollywood Life's 11th Annual Young Hollywood Awards at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California June 7, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>