Saturday, March 28, 2009


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, 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.


Anonymous said...

There is a huge disconnect for me reading your remarks about Adam's sexuality and your opinion that you found it shocking that your editor wasn't keen on publishing a gay joke about Clay Aiken.

Since when was it acceptable to joke about anyone being potentially gay? Closeted or not, both Adam and Clay are not deserving of having their private lives used as fodder for the media. Clay has been the target of some of the most vile treatment by the media that I have ever seen, yet you are suddenly protective of Adam. Where was your outrage when it was so much worse for Clay?

The fact that you included any remarks about these 2 men's sexuality is just as bad as those you purport to criticize. The gay jokes and blind gossip items have seriously harmed Clay's career. Adam will be next because although he is talented, he is going to face the same homophobia and prurient interest that your magazine has contributed to in the past.

Jeremy Helligar said...

Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. I actually agree with most of what you say, and I think you misunderstood what I said. The reason I find's alleged "outing" of Adam disturbing is because at one point the magazine was firmly against outing people and now apparently it isn't. I believe my former boss was correct not to allow the Clay joke. Whether I am wrong to comment on the subject at all is a matter of opinion, and you are certainly welcome to yours.