Saturday, March 28, 2009

WAITING FOR A STAR TO FALL

Adam Lambert confuses me. Or maybe it's just that I'm kind of over the whole American Idol thing. Several seasons ago (in fact, last season, with David Cook), a contestant like Adam would have had me on the edge of my seat every week, anticipating whatever twist on an old hit he'd pull out of his box of musical tricks. But eight seasons in, I'm having trouble mustering much excitement for Idol at all. The participants this season are probably overall the most talented bunch the show has collected yet, but Adam aside, I can't really remember any of them from week to week.

As for Adam, I love him, then I hate him. I found his performance of Michael Jackson's "Black and White" to be sexy and riveting, his "indulgent" (to quote Simon's spot-on assessment) take on "Ring of Fire" was a hot mess, totally missing the point -- and the melody -- of the song, and his "Tracks of My Tears" (a song I always wished Dusty Springfield had covered before she died) was beautiful but strangely unmoving. When I love Adam, I can't help but wonder if I'm reacting to his sex appeal, his hair, his sartorial choices or his voice.

And of course, there is the matter of his sexuality. My friend Mara, a senior writer at Us Weekly and my favorite person with whom to discuss all things Oscar and Idol, told me the other day that she recently wrote a piece about how several major news outlets, including the L.A. Times and EW.com, have taken it upon themselves to out Adam. This tidbit is somewhat disturbing to me, especially considering that several years ago when I was a senior editor at Entertainment Weekly, the then-managing editor threw a fit because a gay joke about the then-still-closeted Clay Aiken almost made it into the magazine. I also find it unfair that Adam's sexuality is even an issue. No one discusses the sexuality of Danny Gokey or Lil Rounds, so why is it newsworthy that Adam's kissed a boy? It's just another double standard that the United States needs to get over quickly.

While the U.S. press ponders Adam's sexuality, I will go on wishing and hoping for that milestone performance that will shake me out of my Adam ambivalence and make me love Idol again.
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