Adam Lambert just spent the last four months learning new songs each week, taking part in commercial and photo shoots, and being picked apart by "American Idol" judges, Internet gossipmongers and the general public. Now that the show is over, the truly hard work begins: He'll have to record an album.
In the annals of "Idol," there are winners and losers who've delivered mega-hit debuts ([artist id="1231768"]Kelly Clarkson[/artist], [artist id="1933910"]Carrie Underwood[/artist], [artist id="2385930"]Chris Daughtry[/artist]), and there are winners and losers who've turned in subpar first discs ([artist id="2372570"]Taylor Hicks[/artist], [artist id="2807016"]Jordin Sparks[/artist], [artist id="2522204"]Blake Lewis[/artist]). How will this first mainstream-recording experiment go for the eighth-season runner-up? MTV News talked to music experts to get their takes on what type of album Lambert should make, which artists he should take inspiration from, and his long-term career prospects.
Howard Benson, who produced both of Daughtry's albums, as well as discs by Clarkson and My Chemical Romance, raved about the 27-year-old singer's potential. He emphasized that Lambert should embrace his theatrical side, dismissing industry chatter that the singer must reinvent himself to appeal to the widest possible audience.
"You need to make the record that is true to him," Benson said. "That's what works on every one of these Idols. Why did Carrie Underwood work? She made a country record. They didn't want to make that record, but she made that record and it worked. Chris Daughtry made a rock record, because that's where he was comfortable and it was believable."
Douglas Grean, who produced Scott Weiland's "Happy" in Galoshes, pegged Lambert as a singer most comfortable in the pop world. "He could go either rock pop or orchestral pop," Grean said. "He should avoid trying to be in a rock band. Real rock fans would see right through that."
And time is of the essence, according to Grean. "If he makes a record right this minute and puts it out soon he can capitalize on the 'AI' momentum. But the farther away he gets from the show, the less records he will sell. If he puts out a record now and it does well he may be able to reinvent himself and escape the 'AI' label, but only if he acts fast and succeeds."
Grean added, "Tell him I have the perfect hit single for him. We could have it done in a few days!"
The most important factor for long-term mainstream success, these producers agreed, is having great music. "It's all about the quality of the songs and being genre-less and gimmick-free," said Butch Walker, a recording artist who's also produced tracks for Pink and Katy Perry. "I'm living proof that glam rock doesn't really sell records. He can sound like [artist id="1231843"]My Chemical Romance[/artist] all day long, but I don't think he would have the same success in that scene. ... He might want to go full-on [artist id="1962774"]Katy Perry[/artist]-style or [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist]-style."
Benson, who might end up working on Lambert's album, suggested another provocative inspiration: early-'80s, Let's Dance-era David Bowie. "He would work very well in dance clubs," Benson said. "You could get a pop song that used his voice and is also danceable. You'd have a huge hit, as opposed to it just being a rock record."
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