Okay, I don't follow American Idol as a rule, but loving music as I do, when I stumble across it, I tend to get sucked in. Mainly because it's like a master class in how to sing badly, but once in a while you get a contestant who really knows what they're doing.
Adam Lambert. This kid can sing. I mean, not only does he have that Voice, that Freddie Mercury-Rob Halford-Axl Rose siren of a voice, but he knows how to pace a performance, to deliver lyrics, to caress rather than bruise a melody. All you have to do is hear his take on
Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" - he knows how to soar like Aretha or Robert Plant, but more importantly he knows when to tighten it up, how to growl when necessary, like Otis. He knows how to own a song: that is, to find himself within it so he can deliver it like he wrote it, or like it was written for him. He's a singer.
Whereas Kris Allen, nice guy though he may be, is a typical lost '00s pop singer, all melisma and vocal tricks and absolutely no soul. No clue as to how lyrics work together with melody and how either work together with delivery. I mean, I guess he'll be better for the lame-o stuff he'll be forced to record as an Idol winner. But clearly, the best singer didn't win.
Which may - hopefully - be better for Adam in the long run. He doesn't need to be run through the prefab pop machine. He needs to find himself a flashy guitarist, come up with a bunch of wild songs, and cut a real damn record. Was that going to happen if he won Idol?