Adam Lambert kicks off rehearsals for American Music Awards
Rehearsals started today for the American Music Awards and the first to test out the mammoth stage at Nokia Theatre was Adam Lambert, the ebony-haired runner-up in last season’s batch of “American Idol” contestants. With his new album, the obsequiously titled “For Your Entertainment,” out vamping the streets this week, Lambert will showcase the Dr. Luke-penned title song for his Sunday night performance at the audience-selected award show.
For about five minutes, this reporter was allowed to write notes from a cushy blue chair in the audience during Lambert’s rehearsal, watching as dancers sashayed across the floor in spangly harem pants, leotards with torn tights and in one particular eye-catching costume, leather pants topped off with a few leather suspender-straps and silvery chains on an otherwise bare-chested male dancer. A Lambert performance, we were reminded, is not a place for demure displays of postmodern dance. As for the panther himself, he took a few leisurely leaps to various levels of scaffolding, singing into a phantom mic and writhing with whatever dancer was around. On the top level of the scaffolding, a band of indeterminate numbers played keyboards, a flying V guitar and other gadgets, all of which collude to formulate the glam-rock pyramid that Lambert mightily prays to on a seemingly daily basis.
And then we were kicked out, in the oft-fickle ways of rock star management. And then we waited an hour or so, nibbling Panda Express and text messaging friends. At long last, we got a few words with Lambert himself, who has the dashing good looks of a soap opera villain. His ice-blue eyes were rimmed with kohl, his T-shirt beneath his glittery jacket emblazoned with David Bowie’s heavily made-up visage.
It turns out Lambert is feeling the pressure of, um, outing his new material (speaking of OUT...). “The expectations are high -- the audience's and my own. But I’m really excited to perform live -- it’s what I know the most. It’s what I do best.”
Many have applauded “For Your Entertainment,” while others have deemed it a series of hedged bets. What does he think of the chance-taking on his first studio album? “I think I straddled the line between commercial and esoteric. I think the album’s eclecticism is the big risk I took.”
For all his forays into gothic kingdoms and its neighboring fiefdoms of glam-rock, power balladry and rock-god bombast, Lambert has barely scratched the Champagne-fizzy R&B of some of his peers. Would he ever perform something from the pen of Ne-Yo or Justin Timberlake? “It’s not the style I’m gravitating towards now but I might down the road.”
And who’s Lambert looking forward to seeing Sunday night? His sister in outrageousness, of course: Lady Gaga.
-- Margaret Wappler
Photo of Lambert in rehearsal. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for DCP