"Idol" wild child Adam Lambert readies first album

Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:34pm EST
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By Ann Donahue

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Adam Lambert -- the man with the outsize personality who delivered an audacious octave-and-a-half sitar-tinged purr of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" on the most-watched TV show in the country, dodged sex toys thrown at him onstage during the "American Idol" tour and did it all without smearing his eyeliner -- is curled in the fetal position.

Balled up in a patio chair on the 10th-story balcony at the offices of 19 Entertainment in Los Angeles, Lambert is the portrait of the goth as a young man -- black clothes and combat boots; dyed black hair and black nail polish; Egyptian-themed jewelry matching the Eye of Horus tattoo on his wrist.

He grabs his knees and constricts himself even tighter as he reveals why he's so emo right now: He's attending the premiere of the film "2012" in a few hours. And his song, "Time for Miracles," plays over the closing credits.

"I'm going to be like this, in my seat, hiding in my popcorn bucket," he says. "It's going to be really weird."

Lambert laughs, unfurls his legs and straightens up in the chair. His worry is, of course, all a joke, an act, a performance. Because, true to the title of his upcoming album, Lambert is here for our entertainment.


When "American Idol" launched in 2002, creator Simon Fuller must have dreamed of a contestant like the 27-year-old Lambert -- one who mixes style and substance, one who can sing anything and cares about cultivating his public image. In a year, Lambert's gone from being one of a herd of auditioners at the San Francisco tryouts to landing the covers of Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone before his album, "For Your Entertainment," was even released.

For Fuller's music company, 19 Entertainment, the eighth season of "American Idol" was something of an embarrassment of riches. The eventual winner, Kris Allen has sold 1.1 million digital downloads of his "Idol" songs, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and contestant Allison Iraheta, with her preternaturally gravelly vocals and artful red and blue hair, is prepared to court the Hayley Williams/Avril Lavigne demographic.   Continued...