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May 27, 2009

‘Idol’ chatter

I can’t believe Adam Lambert didn’t win “American Idol.”

He was the strongest performer, has a level of musicality far superior to any other competitor, and a voice with a range and depth that doesn’t quit. Not many people can actually stand out while performing with KISS — a band whose costumes are as iconic as their music.

Unfortunately, I am not kidding when I say that a little part of my soul was wounded last night; a little part of my newfound Obama-hope vanished. The shock, not the situation or consequence, but the feeling of bewilderment was similar to the puzzlement I felt when Bush won his second term. And yes, that sentence is just as frightening to me.

I mean (whine), Kris what’s-his-face performed with Keith Urban! Very little stage presence and ability is needed to perform with one man who could be upstaged by Oscar the Grouch from inside the comfort of his garbage can. And Kris looks like Drew Lachey.

Kris is fine, likeable, pleasing to watch on the stage. He is comfortable. He is straight. His arrangement of “Falling Slowly” was different enough to be safe. He deserved to be in the top two. But Adam, man, Adam dismantled “Born to be Wild,” only to reassemble it seamlessly, surprisingly and divinely weird. Like the best sentences, the architecture of his composition surprised us all.

I’m not sure if this is a crush or what, but I want to see Adam Lambert on tour. Don’t look at me that way; we all have our contradictions. Even Bono.

I used to pride myself on the fact that I never knew who the contestants were on “American Idol.” It is only a recent development that I know who Rachael Ray is … ah, the good ol’ days (sigh).

I used to take such delight in surprising people with my inability to correctly name anybody on “Big Brother.” Or “Dancing with the Stars.” And while my ignorance of certain pop culture was mostly a consequence of living sans TV for the past five years, part of it was intentional.

Maybe this was snobbery or maybe a necessary defense. Either way, until now I have never in my life been so moved by a contestant on a reality show, and so upset at his losing. And I’d like to blame it all on my girlfriend.

One night, in the beginning of this “Idol” season, she watched the tryouts. Forced to choose between that and a book I was bored with, I joined her. This night was the key to the box; my fall from grace came weeks later, while waiting for her to finish something on the computer before starting a movie. That night I happened to turn the TV on just as Adam Lambert began singing “Born to be Wild.” And there but for the grace went I: I have never seen a more glorious rendition of a tired, boring song.

Of course my girlfriend managed to miss his performance entirely. And, of course, she ignored all my pleadings to watch that performance on the “Idol” website, or any other of his performances the next day, or any day. My top two favorite Adam performances were his cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and “Mad World,” a Tears for Fears tune and the theme song for the cultish indie flick “Donnie Darko.”

But I guess the freaks never win homecoming queen.

One of the things Adam Lambert has reminded me of — without knowing it, of course — is that when Obama won the presidency, I let my guard down; I reverted back to a naïve level of optimism I’m sure I had as an infant. I thought Obama was proof that our society was progressing, that as a people we were opening our minds, changing our pictures of what is, what can be.

But America voted dumb ol’ Kris. And I am feeling itchy in my pessimism suit.

Maybe America can’t handle a male “Idol” they’re almost positive isn’t singing about a girl.

Or maybe it isn’t about that. Newly out Clay Aiken thinks America made the right choice, that Kris is what an “American Idol” should be: safe and dreamy. Or maybe Adam was just more gifted than his TV counterparts, and he lost as he began to win.

And so now, with “American Idol” over, I’m even more convinced that life would be better if “Dexter” were around. 

Tagged: Yep, I’m Gay |