Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adam Lambert: David Bowie with Fantastic Singing Skills

I'm crazy about Adam Lambert, the front-runner to win this season's American Idol competition. I'm crazy about his music, his persona, his theatricality, and especially about his joyously spontaneous creativity.

Adam Lambert will be a big, big star, most likely in musical theater, but his appeal won't be limited to, or even include many, young, edgy music aficionados. Here's why...

He's a joyously Disney-fied version of glammed-up punk rock. He's David Bowie, but with fantastic singing skills. He's Elton John, but with style and fashion sense. He's Elvis but without the snarl and the fried peanut butter sandwiches.

He's a mannered young man with a choir boy's face from middle-class San Diego suburbs. He's the son, the nephew, the brother, who had talent too out-sized for desk-bound college study and proclivities too exotic for his confused, loving family.

He's the wanderer who arrives home for Thanksgiving with a black shock of hair, two new tattoos, Revlon eyeshadow, and armed with pumpkin pie and sweet hugs for all.

What I find refreshing about Adam Lambert is his openness and comfort with his identity. He's part of the new generation of young gay man who lack an angry chip on their shoulder and a desperate need to taunt with their sexuality.

Indeed, his 21st-century androgynous charisma is blend of the new and the moderately old, but his creative vibrancy as a musical performer is an American tradition that dates back to vaudeville.

Adam Lambert as the lead in "Jesus Christ, Superstar," anyone?

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