expressed interest in a "post to explain who this Adam Lambert person is, likely with some RPF stuff thrown in" over a year ago. There was a ticky-box, I’m not quite sure how invested sobluethesky
actually is in this; I’ve remained remarkably unhounded about this, which may be a sign, A SIGN THAT I AM IGNORING. ♥
Adam Lambert was the runner-up the eighth season of American Idol
I feel that I should disclaim: I’ve never watched American Idol
. I watched the local equivalent last time around, though, and I suspect all of its incarnations are roughly the same.
is a reality television competition to find new solo singing talent."*( Basic Mechanics of Idol: )
It is massively popular. "As of January 2011 it is the most-watched TV series in the Nielson ratings and is the only program to have been number one for six consecutive seasons."**wiki
I’m going to talk a little bit about Idol and fans, because that’s kind of hugely important for this discussion. Idol is set up for fans, that is, essentially, the whole point; they want to make money. They do that by drawing in viewers, creating fans, and selling records.
Idol is not exclusively about music. That ridiculous behind-the-scenes footage is spinning narratives and contributes to character development. Idol is a show that tells stories
, and no, they may not sit you down and preface it with, say, “This is the story of Friedrich,” but the select bits of footage they show you of his family and friends, his hometown, him behind-the-scenes, the words that the judges and hosts use when they’re describing him or his singing, the things that they keep bringing up, the songs that he sings (which he may have influence on, but not control of), these weave together into a story. Idol produces a celebrity narrative.( I’m going to talk about this a bit more fannishly for a span. )
The Adam Lambert American Idol
narrative, from what I understand, goes like this:
Adam Lambert had been living in L.A. for a number of years and working in musical theatre before he decided to try out for American Idol
. (This decision may have coincided with drug use in the desert.) His performances on Idol were really theatrical, something he was criticised for by the judges, but also made them, you know, fun to watch. Photos of him kissing an ex-boyfriend came out while he was on the show and were a source of controversy in the media coverage of that season. He roomed with Kris Allen (southern, Christian, young married, and that season's winner), for a good chunk of the show and they got along really well. Adam also got along really well with the then-seventeen year old Allison Iraheta, who made it to the top four.
Adam placed second and came out as gay in Rolling Stone
afterwards, his sexuality never having been brought up on American Idol
. In the article he talked about having a crush on Allen, who said in an interview with Adam afterwards that he
had a crush on Adam
. (There's a fair amount of footage of those two being happy, silly, and teasing.)
Adam is known for his controversial performance of For Your Entertainment
at the 2009 American Music Awards wherein he kissed his male bassist. The support tour for his debut album, also called For Your Entertainment
, was called the Glam Nation Tour and featured former Idol-mate Allison Iraheta as an opener for a good chunk of the North American dates.
That's a pretty stripped down version of that story. There is a lot
of information and discussion about Adam Lambert out there.Tightrope
is a vid that you should watch. I'm reccing it here as another rundown of the Adam Lambert narrative and to provide context. The source material for this vid includes footage from his music videos, American Idol
, concerts, interviews, photo shoots,and other media coverage. I like it for its presentation of the relationship that Adam has had with the media. It does what it set out to do well
; it's incredibly shiny and has some good movement to it. It's set to Tightrope by Janelle Monae, and the lyrics are on the vid page if you need them. (You should go watch it now.)
The reason that Adam Lambert is kind of a big deal is that you can get into all kinds of cultural discussion talking about him. You can talk about Adam Lambert and sexuality, gender, queer issues, diversity, or celebrity. Jian Ghomeshi interviewed him on Q
in February of last year and that interview
is a pretty good introduction to who Adam Lambert is and touches on a bit of that cultural discussion; you can watch it and see where that discussion is coming from. There’s a lot of discussion about diversity in the interview; it seems to be an ongoing theme with Adam and something that he’s been actively supporting, which is really nice to see.
Adam says in the interview that, "[his] biggest thing is: have fun, be free, don’t hurt yourself or anybody else in the process." It’s an excellent set of guiding principles. He also talks about his love of music that’s sexy, fun and decadent and how he believes in being your own person and embracing your identity, "letting it all hang out, owning it, feeling comfortable in your skin." He seems to be doing that and that's awesome.
The reason that Adam Lambert is noteworthy is that being gay is noteworthy, being out is noteworthy, being comfortable with your sexuality and sex-positive is noteworthy, being a man who wears glitter and make-up and dresses up is noteworthy, being queer-positive is noteworthy, being diversity-positive is noteworthy; these are all things that aren't or aren't seen as standard in our culture. That Adam Lambert is these things and is also a mainstream artist is really interesting.
So a lot of the hype of Adam Lambert is tied into the identity and values that he presents as part of his public persona. He also sings and is a pretty awesome performer. His music videos might be a good place to start out if you're interested in his music:
It's worth noting that Adam Lambert is Adam Lambert, musician and not Adam Lambert, gay rights activist. That Adam spends a fair amount of time talking about his sexuality and answering a certain type of interview question is a choice that he makes, but one that I suspect isn't much of one at all for him.
So Adam Lambert is this amazing singer with an impressive range who wears leather and studwork and sparkly things and climbs on stage and performs the hell out of things, does fascinating things with his hips and does stage gay with his bassist, pulls his hair and kisses him, is a sexually aggressive gay man, sits down on stage and talks earnestly to his audience, wears sex toys sometimes, and doesn't apologise for any of it
. He's a little bit like a superhero.
People dress up for his concerts. They paint their nails and put on awesome hats and wear feathers and glitter and fun clothing and get a little glammed up. What I've read about his concerts makes them sound like a rock concert crossed over with Pride, with a less pervasive rainbow theme.I recommend this fandom
, is what I'm saying. There are sparkly things
and leather and studwork and dressing up and awesome people
Fanwork about Adam Lambert goes by a couple different labels, actually. It's down as American Idol RPF for season 8 or Glam RPF or sometimes Bandom. There are some really good primers out there:
So you’d like to get to know Adam Lambert...
This post is really good for links. There are links to primers for main pairings, meta, communities, rec pages, and twitters. There is also a picspam with a few gifs thrown in that is worth checking out for the pretty. (I am quite fond of the second picture in this, wherein Adam looks like he has fallen out of an exceptionally pretty anime.)Fandom Overview: American Idol Season Eight
This is a really good and concise rundown of the season 8 people that also includes some people not directly involved with the show - friends of contestants and interesting media people that sometimes appear in fic. There are also some fandom resources linked to at the end, including a number of primers.WE JUST FELT EACH OTHER'S ENERGY, AND IT WAS NICE.
Good internet is a necessity for viewing this page. It is an epic, long picspam. There are many gifs and videos. It's pretty in depth coverage of both Kris' and Adam's idol story. If you're interested in getting into Kradam this is the post to read. It is a fannish recount and a lot of fun for that.Kradam Fic Reclist
An extensive, well-organised and detailed rec list that includes a little bit of non-Kradam fic, podfic, fanvids, interview links, downloads, other rec lists, comms, and other relevant fannish things. It's a really fantastic resource.
(So hopefully that's been educational and useful and things. If you see a mistake, be it a typo or something else, please point it out to me. Discussion is also awesome as are various other forms of feedback.)(Edited 2011-07-29 15:15 to add alternate, non-vevo links for music videos)