Local Wire

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert has the vocal range of James Blunt and the Maybelline-boosted looks of a young Lisa Rinna. And that — combined with a man-on-man kiss here, an onstage pelvis-to-face grinding there — makes the American Idol runner-up a truly one-of-a-kind specimen in today's hypersexualized pop music zoo. Critics have identified the 28-year-old former Hebrew student as the first openly gay mainstream pop artist to "launch" a major-label music career (unlike Elton John and other grandfathered-in gay stars), but that's only half the story: He's also the one of the first mainstream pop singers to consciously make gay sex part of his on-stage mien (unlike, say, George Michael, who generally restricts his pelvis-to-face grinding sessions to the relative privacy of public restrooms). It's good that Lambert's presentation is so distinctive because, let's face it, his music ain't. "Whataya Want from Me," the biggest track off his debut album For Your Entertainment, is the sort of blandly defiant sing-along that preteen girls like best, and the other singles are strictly Scion sound system fare. Still, one could have less rewarding socio-musical experiences than attending one of the man-siren's Glam Nation Tour shows. The guy moves the chains, there's no doubt about it.
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Craig Outhier