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American Idol Adam Lambert loves pancit, adobo and lumpia. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

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ADAM during the interview. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales

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The cover art for his debut CD. Photo by Ruben V. Nepales



Only in Hollywood
Flamboyant Idol likes to make fans feel sexy

By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:14:00 11/07/2009

Filed Under: Celebrities, Music

(First of two parts)

LOS ANGELES??I did this myself, yeah,? Adam Lambert said with a smile, amused at a female reporter?s question on who dressed him up or styled him today. ?This is out of my own closet. I like clothes so ??

?This? is his version of glam rock?pinstriped jacket, T-shirt with Marilyn Monroe?s image, skinny jeans and silver boots. The look is completed by his trademark dark eyeliner ringing those blue eyes, spiky hair, black nails and striking rings on each hand.

Mix those elements with his chiseled facial features and an incredible singing voice?and wonder no more why women fling their underwear at him onstage even though he?s admittedly gay.

Beyond these physical attributes, the ?American Idol? runner-up is remarkably grounded and sensible. Very confident and articulate as well, the 27-year-old singer gave a very moving comment when a reporter told him that he must have wonderful parents.

?I do have great parents,? he said. ?My father is teacher-oriented. He was very much guiding me through. I always felt weird and kind of out of place. I remember my father from my early age going, ?It?s okay. When you?re older, everybody is going to want to be your friend, trust me. The weird ones are the ones that everybody wants to be like when they?re older.? I really enjoyed hearing that as a kid. He gave me a little tip. He was like, ?Hold on, just hold on. It will all work out. It will all fall into place. People will understand you later.? So that gave me a lot of confidence, being like a strange kid. And my mom is just as supportive.?

It?s all working out for the ?strange kid,? probably way beyond what his father had imagined. Adam?s much-awaited album, ?For Your Entertainment,? comes out on Nov. 23. He gets to sing the theme song of ?2012,? the apocalyptic movie of epic proportions. Titled ?Time For Miracles,? the song was composed by Alain Johannes and the late Natasha Shneider for the movie that stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Interviewed by my wife Janet for TV, Adam disclosed that he has Filipino friends so he rattled off the Pinoy food that he loves: ?pancit, adobo and lumpia.? Told that ?American Idol? alumni David Cook and David Archuleta have been to the Philippines, Adam said that he wants to visit the country, too. He offered a message of hope to Filipinos affected by the recent spate of storms, according to Janet.

Below are excerpts from our interview with Adam.

Can you talk about your journey from ?AI? to this point?

It?s been pretty wild because I didn?t think I would get as far as ?Idol? at all. Every week that I got through, I was like, really, they voted for me again? So each time I thanked my lucky stars and just did what I do. I just didn?t expect all the support that I?ve been getting and it?s been really amazing, very flattering and very exciting because I?ve been working towards this type of career the 10 years that I?ve lived in Los Angeles. I?ve been working toward this so I feel like it?s all added up into this moment.

And this moment includes the release of your album and you singing the theme song from ?2012.?

Yeah, as soon as ?Idol? ended, I was busy that month, already working on my album, with different producers, doing writing sessions and then the opportunity came up for the ?2012? song. Alain and Natasha?s demo for it was this beautiful melody, just a beautiful acoustic kind of rock feel and then with (producer) Rob Cavallo, we made it like an epic kind of rock power ballad that I?m very proud of.

?For Your Entertainment? is the first single off the album. It?s a lot different from ?Time for Miracles.? What?s great about ?Time ?? is that it has a kind of classic rock power ballad feel. It appeals to all ages. It goes full on like Zeppelin or Queen rock toward the end but starts out with a beautiful melody. It does what some of those great classic rock ballads do. I?m really happy with it. As for the single ?For Your Entertainment,? we wanted to release something that was dance club ready. I wanted to get people dancing, drinking to it and shaking and feeling kind of sexy.

Is acting also in your future?

I hope so, yeah. It is something that I?ve done a lot over the past eight or 10 years. If the opportunity came up and it was the right thing, I would love to be a part of a film. Right now, I am going to try to work on the album first. One thing at a time, right (laughing).

Talk about your androgynous look.

Even on ?Idol,? I wear my eyeliner and my black clothes, my little rocker outfits. That?s just how I?ve always dressed over the past couple of years. You can label it however you want?androgynous, glam, emo, Goth. We can put a bunch of different labels on it but I?m just being myself. I like to pretty it up like all the good rock stars do. Mick Jagger and David Bowie did it and I?m like trying to do it now (laughter).

What can you say about your female following?

The female following is really flattering, with underwear flying up on stage (laughter). I never really expected that to happen but I?m enjoying it. It?s very flattering and I like the attention (laughter).

Five million people are probably trying to give you directions about your career. How do you know what?s the next step you should take?

I don?t think anybody ever knows the next step. I think ?Idol? was a great microcosm for the way that this could work from here on. I was given the opportunity and what was so great about ?Idol? is because it?s a contest. They help you where you need help. But they really put it in your hands which made it really exciting for me because I had to pick the song, what I was wearing, what my staging looked like, what the arrangement was, and obviously there were professionals in each of those fields who went and offered their advice and they were like, ?I think you should do this. What do you think?? And it was all teamwork in a way. I think that was like a great way to experiment with how I would be received. Okay, this week I?m going to be crazy, over the top with my eye makeup on and screaming and wailing at the top of my lungs.

On the album, you went to many different ways ?

I did. I went four or five different ways all on the same album. That?s what I decided after ?Idol.? I was like, okay, I have all this classic rock that I?ve done. I got a lot of credibility from that but I also perform ?Mad World? which is like a New Romantic, New Wave haunting ballad thing. I did a disco song and I did a bunch of different types of music.

I wanted to figure out a way to do an album that had cohesion to it but that was kind of a variety of different directions, just like what my experience was on ?Idol.? I think we did it.

As far as your question on what to do now, I?m trying to keep following my instincts. Luckily, my team that I work with both at 19 and RCA have been really great with backing me and asking me like, well, ?what do you want to do?? They?ve been very supportive. Maybe more so than people will think. It?s not as Svengali puppet master as people commonly think the ?Idol? experience is. It?s actually been the opposite.

Can you talk about some memorable moments that have happened to you so far?

I remember that finale getting ready for the Kiss performance which was actually really funny. Black Eyed Peas were onstage and I love Black Eyed Peas. I love pop music as well as rock music and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas walked in. I was getting rhinestones glued onto my eyes at a backstage makeup mirror. She just wrapped her arms around me and gave me a big squeeze. She was going, ?I just love you.?

I turned around and I was like, ?No, I love you! (laughter) ...? And then she said, ?Look at your outfit, wow, you know (laughter). Is that thing painted on?? So it was great moment, just that kind of exchange. It gave me a lot of confidence going out there in my glitter platforms, thinking that Fergie thought I was cool. That felt good (laughing).

After you said in that Rolling Stone interview that you are gay, was there negative reaction from the fans?

Yeah. I mean, I?m sure. I tried not to pay attention to the negative reaction because that?s a waste of my energy. There were a couple of people who felt turned off by that. Quite frankly, if my sexuality is enough to deter you from the art that I?m creating, then you probably shouldn?t be my fan, anyway, because I?m looking to create fun music that?s entertaining and sometimes makes you want to dance. Some of the album tracks are emotional and very vulnerable. If you can?t get past that, then you?re probably not going to enjoy the music anyway, so to each his own.

(Conclusion tomorrow)

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com and read his blog, ?The Nepales Report,? on http://blogs.inquirer.net/nepalesreport.

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