Adam Lambert was the runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol. The former theater geek—he spent his teenage years performing in community theater productions, and toured with productions of Hair and Wicked—was a fan favorite from the very beginning, delivering a solid a cappella "Bohemian Rhapsody" at his audition and appearing to be an all-around cool guy. But it was his over-the-top performance of "Ring of Fire" (complete with sitars and animated flame backdrop) that really got the audience's attention, and he did his best to make sure he didn't lose it. He followed "Ring of Fire" with a stripped-down "Tracks of My Tears," and repeated the big performance / little performance pattern for the rest of his run on the show, hitting his peak with a cover of Gary Jules's cover of "Mad World" and pretty much staying there. But his talent wasn't the only thing that got people talking. He was also the closest thing Idol's ever had to an openly gay performer: though Lambert wasn't exactly out on the show, he wasn't exactly in, either. Much of the press about him during the competition focused on Idol's issues with homosexuality and America's ability (or inability) to accept a gay male pop star.
What has he been doing since Idol?
His first album, For Your Entertainment, was released in November 2009, just six months after he ended his Idol run. Three singles were released in America: a Dr. Luke production entitled "For Your Entertainment," the P!nk-penned "Whataya Want from Me" and the Max Martin stomper "If I Had You." (The rest of the album wasn't exactly filler, either; Lady Gaga, Linda Perry, Rivers Cuomo and Muse's Matthew Bellamy all contributed tracks.) In June 2010, he set out on a six-month world tour. A live acoustic album, creatively titled Acoustic Live!, was released in December 2010 and a live DVD is due out in March 2011. He's also been living up to the "all-around cool guy" first impression, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for DonorsChoose and charity: water by encouraging his fans to donate.
Wasn't he banned from appearing on ABC?
Sort of. The night before his album dropped, Adam got a little raunchy during a performance at the American Music Awards, kissing his bassist, pushing a dancer's face down to his crotch and grabbing another dancer's junk. ABC aired the performance live just after primetime, and reportedly received 1,500 complaints from viewers. The network responded by canceling Adam's scheduled appearance on Good Morning America, but they didn't ban him from their shows altogether. In fact, he appeared on another ABC show, The View, about a month later—although his performance was pre-taped, just in case.
Why did he decide to audition for Idol in the first place?
Shrooms. No, seriously: shrooms. He told Rolling Stone he was tripping at Burning Man when he realized American Idol was his best shot at a successful music career.
What's a Glambert?
Back in the Idol days, Adam got as much attention for his "glam" style (eyeliner, nail polish, blue-streaked hair and the occasional metal shoulder pad wing contraption) as he did for his theatrical vocals, prompting his supporters to nickname him "Glambert." It soon became a nickname for the supporters themselves, and like the Claymates before them, the Glamberts retained their title even after Idol was over.
Did he ever officially come out?
About a month after the Idol finale, Adam confirmed his homosexuality in a Rolling Stone cover story. (He later threw a bone—no pun intended—to his female fans, stating that he likes to make out with women from time to time, and is at least a little curious about boy-on-girl sex.)
Did he really kiss Ke$ha?
Yes. They made out at a party in New York, and blabbed to gossip blogs about it a week later.
How long do you think it took him to wash off all the glitter?
What makes you think he wanted to?