An open letter to Adam Lambert

Dear Adam:

As the runner up in this years American Idol, you should first and foremost be congratulated.  Either you or Kris could have easily taken home the platinum microphone trophy this year and nobody knew how it would turn out.  You are a consummate performer, bold and self-confident, and from what I have read, you are correct: it doesn’t matter if you are first or second in this thing, your will both go far and do great things musically.

I have all the markings of an Adam Lambert supporter.  I’m gay, not religious and liberal.  I have very “in your face” attitudes and opinions that exist merely to get people to think about thing’s, or rather think about life and people, differently.  I want everyone to get the benefit of the doubt and I want everyone to be so much less judgmental than they naturally are.  I should have, by all counts, voted for you and backed you up.

When it came down to the final four this season, I cast a vote for the second time since the show’s inception  Last year for the finale I voted for David Cook.  From the moment he sang his rendition of “Billy Jean” I knew he was brilliant.  For this year’s final four I voted for you and Kris Allen.  At that point in the competition I knew that you and Kris should be in the finals, that was my opinion.  The week of the final three, I only voted for Kris because the “vibe” of the show seemed to already have decided that Danny and you should be the finalists.  I didn’t agree.  The other thing I did for the first time this year was download American Idol songs from iTunes.  I downloaded your rendition of “If I Can’t Have You” and then several songs by Kris.  I don’t know if it’s just me but gay men typically don’t care too much for Zeppelin, KISS, or even Queen for that matter.  So that genre is lost on me.  While I enjoy listening to your voice, which is beautiful and has that “ringing” you hear when a note is sung just perfectly, I don’t enjoy the screaming so much. 

I read some comments you said after last night’s finale.  I hope you were quoted correctly so that I can respond to them correctly.  From what I read, you want to move on, obviously, collaborate, and push the boundaries a bit; get people to open their minds a bit.  I don’t know what that means to you.  There aren’t too many places in music that haven’t been tested.  So it leads me to believe that you may venture into some “gender-bending, in-your-face, I am what I am and what about it” kind of music.  Again it is difficult to understand exactly what you mean.

My suggestion is to be as creative as possible and don’t try and push anything in anybody’s face.  Nobody likes to be “convinced” that they should like something.  Nor do they enjoy being told to think or re-think a certain way.

You seem like a very intelligent, out-going, thoughtful, and confident man.  You were gracious as a performer and gracious as a runner up. I am sure that Kris appreciated that just as much as America did.  What I wish for both you and Kris Allen (because it really doesn’t matter which order you landed in the competition) is that you grow and learn musically so that you both become an American Icon rather than and Idol.

I voted for Kris Allen as the winner mostly because of the way he shyly wears his heart on his sleeve.  It was almost unfair to make us choose from two artists who are so completely different.  It’s the apples and oranges all over again.  I’ve seen and read lots about the Idol finale.  People have tried to bring religion, and politics, and homophobia, and the church, and Christian-phobia into this national debate over who won and who should have won.  I don’t believe any of it.  This is about something that is so personal to each and every one of us; the music we like.  Discussing music is like discussing art, or politics, or religion, or sex.  It is almost too personal to make comparisons and judgments.  But American Idol forces us to make that choice.  Kris Allen has a certain sweetness that’s not sticky, big wide eyes when he sings but those eyes are looking into his own soul.  He is one of those old souls in a young body.  He has a way of interpreting a song that some call boring but I call unique.  He sings about love in ways only men twice his age could do.

For the next little while, they way I understand it, both you and Kris are under the thumb of American Idol, but because you are not THE American Idol, you probably have more room to breath and be creative.  Please don’t try and speak for the gay community, or the liberal community in your music.  As a gay man I feel that I don’t need another gay voice.  I don’t want to be singled out, I want to be integrated.  So musically, I hope you truly speak for yourself, from your heart, through your music.  I want you to be relevant, not reviled.

Only a confident and generous man could give Kris Allen the support and friendship that you did regardless of who was going to win.   You are both gentle men. But I think your burden is greater going forward.  Kris Allen is liked by many, and to some for rather strange reasons.  He is more shy than you and right now the public will expect him to be predictable and safe, musically speaking.  That’s his burden.  Yours is the opposite.  You will be expected to be avante garde and edgy. 

I have no credentials to give you advice but I wanted to let you know that you found your voice (both literally and figuratively); now you need to find your puspose.  What message will you send through your music.  Stay away from duets.  Your voice is too powerful for that.  So you would end up sounding too overpowering.  Even if you found someone with an equally strong voice; that coupling would end up sounding like a screaming match.  And all the while, start thinking about what you are projecting to the world.  You can get away with eye-liner and finger nail polish now, but what will you evolve into as you grow.  It’s time to start that evolution.  Strike while the iron is hot.  You have some incredible gifts.  The world is much more likely to grow with you if you start now.

I wish you all the best and will be rooting for you.

I wish you all the bet and look forward to what you have to offer.

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