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May. 21 2009 — 12:00 am | 48 views | 2 recommendations | 3 comments

Lambert loses Idol title. Was it the nail polish?



Rod Stewart.

Carlos Santana, Keith Urban and Cyndi Lauper.

These legends made this year’s American Idol finale a real-time must-see for millions. But let there be no doubt: The night belonged to Adam Lambert.

Those of us who’ve been watching for months knew Lambert’s coronation was inevitable. So certain was his winning that I’m sure I wasn’t the only viewer who relished the time he was relegated to the Bottom Three. Other than that, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the 27 year-old. “I Kissed A Girl” singer Katy Perry had his name monogrammed on the back of the cape she wore during her performance on last week’s show, and Entertainment Weekly gave him a solo cover a few weeks back.

How then did Lambert possibly lose out to the sweet but merely mediocre Kris Allen?!

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20:  Contestant Adam Lam...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

As Lambert proved again and again during the two-part finale, he is on another level. Tonight alone, he was a supernova, way upstaging semi-twinkling star Allen when the two joined Queen on “We are the Champions.”  And Lambert’s appearance in a black leather, Flash Gordon-esque costume and platform boots performing with KISS was easily the two-hour event’s most memorable moment. Kudos to the producers for booking such a legendary act that so perfectly complemented their theatrical, makeup-wearing rock star.

Perhaps that was the problem.

My mother, a pre-Kindergarten teacher’s aide and super Idol fan, told me post-finale that while she believes Lambert is the better singer, “I just couldn’t deal with the black nails and that kinda look. He’s a gorgeous guy — beautiful face and everything. But there was something I didn’t like.”

Please note that this is the same woman who voted for David Cook and Taylor Hicks. In fact, I don’t think she’s ever voted for a runner-up. (FYI, Mom didn’t get through last night, but not for lack of trying: “I gave up after 79 tries” dialing for Allen.)

Me? I should know better. After all, I came close to sitting in Paula Abdul’s judging chair. A magazine editor who nudged along the careers of budding pop stars from Britney and Christina to Usher, Backstreet and ‘Nsync, I pride myself on knowing how to pick ‘em. Yet I was all about Archuleta, Aiken, and, tonight, Lambert. 

That’s not to say Lambert won’t be the bigger story post-finale, as Archuleta and Aiken were, along with Chris Daughtry, who dropped his first name and relegated Hicks to the Whatever Happened To . . .? file.

Also, Lambert shouldn’t reach for the polish remover: Androgyny has been a rock star asset for ages, from the gender-bending Bowie to Boy George to current pop tartlet Lady Gaga, who’s probably the biggest pop artist on the planet right now. So keep sharpening the eyeliner, Adam — but remember that your album has to be as interesting as your image.

P.S. Look for Allison Iraheta to do a Daughtry and shine brighter than her fourth-place finish suggests!

May. 19 2009 — 10:26 am | 6 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Tomorrow we crown a new American Idol. But the real winner is . . .?

HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 14:  American Idol Season 8 ...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Tonight millions of Americans will vote in an election that will best the number of ballots cast for most U.S. Presidents. Granted, there are fewer restrictions: In the battle for American Idol, voting is via phone or text; one needn’t be 18 years or older; and the electorate may vote for their candidate as many times as they like or are able to while the polls remain open.

So who will be the next American Idol? Duh: Adam Lambert.

Despite a late-innings rally, the sweet, talented but kinda boring Kris Allen will lose handily to Lambert in what will be the most lopsided final since Fantasia wiped the stage with teen cage bird Diana DeGarmo back in Season Three.

Still, it’ll be a fun show to watch, thanks in large part to the theatrical rocker with the black nail polish and unconfirmed sexuality. (Earlier in the competition, EW.com and the Los Angeles Times, among other outlets, inferred that Lambert is gay, but he played it coy during last week’s Entertainment Weekly cover story iview: ”I know who I am. I’m an honest guy, and I’m just going to keep singing.”)

But here’s the real question: Will Lambert easily transition into a bonafide pop star? Will he become a pop star at all? Or, after the confetti is cleaned up and the obligatory summer Idol tour is as distant a memory as Season Five champ Taylor Hicks, will the flamboyant fave end up on Off-Broadway in The Rocky Horror Picture Show? (Hold on a minute — that fate suited former Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis just fine: He was (shockingly) nominated for a 2009 Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for 80s mock rockpera Rock of Ages, which recently upgraded from OB to the Great White Way. But then, Maroulis didn’t even make Season Four’s Top Five.)

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05:  American Idol con...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The truth is, Lambert certainly has what it takes to make it outside of the talent show. But if it’s longevity we’re talking about, then my money’s on Allison Iraheta, the pink-haired dark horse who came in fourth. Her rendition of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” was a season-stealer that should have had her finale-bound. The star-making moment rather reminded me of that time, way back in Season One, when Kelly Clarkson first revealed her range on “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”. 

Last Saturday, I caught Clarkson’s no-frills but plenty of thrills set at New York radio station Z100’s Zootopia. And despite what this week’s tabs will no doubt say about her rather plain appearance (next-to-no makeup, unstyled hair, and less-than-flattering figure), she outshone the energetic Black Eyed Peas and their oddly costumed dancers. Why? Because she doesn’t need gimmicks — her songs and voice were the show.

That’s why, like Chris Daughtry, another Idol who didn’t come close to winning the crown but a year later won a Grammy, Iraheta will be runner-up with the career. So long as she makes the right record, the precocious, more marketable teen will best likely winner Lambert where it really counts: on the charts.

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    A 16-year media executive, Lori Majewski is a founder and ex-editor-in-chief of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) award-winning Teen People, and a former executive editor of Entertainment Weekly and Us Weekly. Lori is currently a partner in and Chief Content Officer of the upcoming brand launch ThisGirl, a multi-platform community that entertains and empowers women in the 16 to 30 year-old psychographic. She also recently became a member of the team behind the First-Ever Tween Girls Summit, produced by Allykatzz.com and to be held in D.C. on Oct. 10, 2009.

    After serving on Do Something’s Board of Directors, Lori joined the non-profit's staff in 2008 as their inaugural editor-in-chief. Among her varied duties: overseeing content for 2009 Webby award-winning DoSomething.org and its celebrity blog, CelebsGoneGood.com; urging celebrities to be philanthropic by persuading them to participate in Do Something campaigns and public service announcements; and coordinating 2008’s first-ever Do Something Awards in Hollywood, a walk-up event to that year's Fox Teen Choice, where $100,000 was presented on-air to the Do Something Awards grand prize winner. She recently led the talent recruitment committee for the 2009 Do Something Awards held June 4 in NYC.

    Lori heads up the New York effort for Cape Farewell, a London-based group of socially responsible artists dedicated to creating a cultural dialogue about climate change. In October 2008, Lori travelled to the High Arctic with artists such as Suzan Lori Parks, Laurie Anderson, Vanessa Carlton, KT Tunstall, Riyuchi Sakamoto, Jarvis Cocker and many others, as well as a team of internationally known oceanographers, on a 10-day expedition that was recognized by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

    Widely recognized as an expert in teen and popular culture, Lori has appeared on shows like Today, Good Morning America, CNN, and in the pages of USA Today, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, is a lifelong resident of Weehawken, NJ.

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