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Adam Lambert dishes on making 'American Idol's Top 12 finals


By Christopher Rocchio, 03/02/2009 

Adam Lambert feels his theatrical background will work as both a help and a hindrance during his upcoming journey as an American Idol eighth-season Top 12 finalist.

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"I think in certain ways there are certain elements of the theater training that could be detrimental to the Idol experience, because that's not really the sound I'm going for.  I'm not going for a Broadway sound," Lambert told reporters during a Friday conference call. 

"But the cool thing is that this is finally allowing me to be myself, I mean I don't listen to show tunes on my spare time I can assure you.  The show tune thing, the musical theater thing, was just kind of they way that I was paying the bills.  I mean we all have to have a job.  So now I get to finally sing the kind of music that I like to listen to."

The 27-year-old from Los Angeles, CA advanced to the Top 12 finals along with Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen after the three received the most home viewer votes for their performances during Wednesday night's broadcast of the season's second semifinals group.

Lambert performed the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," and he was the last contestant to take the stage during Wednesday night's broadcast.

"I was honored," said Lambert.  "I was excited, because I knew that meant that I was closing the show and that I'd be fresh in everybody's minds when they started voting.  I was really, really happy."

Lambert already had a presence in viewers' minds since he was one of the hopefuls who was heavily featured during the eighth season's audition and Hollywood Week episode broadcasts.

"Of course it has helped.  It has exposed me to people more and more times, and so they get the feeling like they know me, and that's really exciting," said Lambert about his screen time.  "I'm really, really thankful to the producers for featuring me in such a way."

Lambert added that he feels his added on-air presence allowed viewers to get more into his performances, which in turn leads them to vote for him.

"I think it does make a difference.  I think it allows the audience to empathize with that person, with that artist, especially when you go on stage and sing a certain number," he explained.  "If they can relate to the song, if they feel like you're relating to the song based on your own personal experiences, I think that that really evokes quite a reaction from the audience."

Lambert is used to evoking reactions from audiences, as he has been performing on stage for the last 17 years.

"I actually was cast in a production of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown when I was 10 years old, and I played the role of Linus with the blanket," he told reporters.  "It was downtown San Diego at the Lyceum Theater, and it was like the first time and it was pretty wild.  I got to sing."

More recently, Lambert served as the understudy for the Los Angeles production of Wicked and added he actually took the stage "a handful of times."

"Obviously you have to like be on your game with the theater world.  You have to be ready to go at any moment.  This machine it's turning real fast, so it's kind of like you either hop on and hold on and you know how to own your stuff or you fall off," he explained.  "So I think with theater it's definitely trained me to be able to sing under any condition and be able to just go with the drop of a hat."

Not surprisingly, Lambert is aware that one the most frequently used criticisms by Idol judge Simon Cowell is to call a contestant theatrical -- however he's hoping to put a positive spin on it.

"I think that I take the theatrical comment as a compliment as opposed to a derogatory statement," he said.  "Simon kind of makes it seems derogatory, but when you think about it in the pop music scene right now a lot of the big artists are going a very theatrical route.  There's lots of camp and costumes-that's kind of an angle right now in the scene.  So I kind of think it's time for something like that."

While Lambert said he has nothing "against" theatrical performances, he also distanced himself from the genre as a musician.

"I just don't see myself doing that as a recording artist anyway," he told reporters.

(Photo credit Fox)


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