For the most part, I have always considered American Idol to be an entertaining reality/competition show, with a few highs (Simon Cowell’s brutal honesty) and a few lows (those cringe-worthy audition outtakes!) , but when it dwindled down to the remaining two this season, I felt the show had potential to actually be groundbreaking. And of course I’m referring to Adam Lambert. He raised the talent bar so high that it might as well have been outside the Nokia theater, and well above the golden-gray smog line that hovers gently over scenic Los Angeles. Every week, the care, thought and originality that he put into his performances–the costumes, special effects, and that range/voice/signature scream. To a lot of us out there, and I think I’m primarily speaking on behalf of the critical AI viewers, Adam was truly an artist, what a musical idol could and should be, and a tribute to good old rock and roll that you just don’t find/hear/see/experience anymore.
Unfortunately, the majority of those who voted Tuesday night didn’t agree with me, and instead went with the cute, cuddly and instrumentally-talented Kris Allen. Was it the blue state/red state thing? Was it the glam-boy vs. the boy next door thing? Who knows, who cares…Kris is safe, he’s nice, and apparently he’s what the majority of America wants right now. His music I’m sure will be…nice. But I predict he’ll do his one-year American Idol dog-and-pony show and then eventually fade into the vast Adult Contemporary/Country Music landscape.
And Adam…yes, well, Adam will be fine, he will be more than fine. He’s already made a huge splash in the music industry and I’m sure there are a lot of record execs thrilled that he didn’t win for two reasons 1) No AI contract frees him up and 2) They don’t have to comply with AI when marketing/promoting him. He’s a free agent with the world in the palm of his shimmery black-nail-polished hand.
So, we’ve seen hints in the past that the American Idol machine turned out to be irrelevant (see: Ruben Studdard/Clay Aiken, Academy-Award winner Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Hicks/Chris Daughtry, etc.), but this year brings it home because it is so clearly obvious even before any contracts have been signed or tunes cranked out. The fickle AI viewers may have made Kris Allen their first choice for this season, but the music industry and the true die-hard music lovers out there will make Adam Lambert #1 for many years to come.