Adam Lambert has never been understated. The musical-theater vet has brought his Broadway sensibility to the “American Idol” stage, and the judges (and, obviously, voters) have been eating it up.
With his over-the-top performance of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” he nabbed a spot in this year’s top 12, alongside Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen . We caught up with the 26-year-old from Los Angeles to talk about facing off against Normund Gentle, why he hopes there isn’t a musical-theater theme week and more.
Q: How did you feel when Simon said voters would either love or hate your performance?
A: I responded on air, and I just kinda said, “Well, I guess that’s kind of music in general — you either love it or you don’t love it.” Obviously, I’m a risk-taker. I’m not easy listening, you know? I’m not going to always be the most digestible thing for everybody across the board. I’m specific, and I kind of like to blow it out the box. And either you like it, or you don’t.
Q: How has your “Idol” experience compared with your musical-theater experience?
A: You have to be on your game with the theater world. You have to be ready to go at any moment. I mean, this machine is turning real fast. So I think theater has definitely trained me to sing under any condition and just go at the drop of a hat. I think in certain ways, there are certain elements of the theater training that could be detrimental to the “Idol” experience, because that’s not really the sound I’m going for — I’m not going for a Broadway sound. But the cool thing is that this is finally allowing me to be myself. I mean, I don’t listen to show tunes in my spare time, I can assure you. … The musical thing was kind of the way that I was paying the bills. I mean, we all gotta have a job right? [Laughs.] But now I get to finally sing the kind of music I like to listen to.
Q: Are you hoping “Idol” does a Broadway theme week this year?
A: No, I hope they don’t. Not because I have anything against it, I just don’t see myself doing that as a recording artist in that way.
Q: Were you nervous when it came down to you and Nick “Normund Gentle” Mitchell during the results show?
A: [Laughs.] You know, I got a little nervous. I thought Nick was brilliant the other night, so I didn’t really know which way it was gonna go. I thought, “Well, here it goes. It’s a toss-up.”
Q: What did you think when you found out you’d been given the last performance slot of the night?
A: I was honored. I was excited, because I knew that meant I was closing the show and I would be fresh in everybody’s minds when they started voting.
Q: Do you think the amount of screen time you were given before the performance rounds has helped build your fanbase?
A: Of course it helped. It’s exposed me to people more and more times, and they get the feeling like they know me, and that’s really exciting. And they get to hear me talk and hear my opinions — which are many. [Laughs.] I’m really, really thankful to the producers for featuring me in such a way.
Q: Whose music career would you most like to emulate?
A: I think David Bowie has been a really, really, really, really cool artist, just considering that he’s reinvented himself. He took a ton of risks, both visually, lyrically and musically. Obviously, vocally we are very different, but I think that along those other lines, we have some similarities, and someone like that is a great model for me.
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