Things are looking up for Adam Lambert, in probably his busiest year to-date, as he is finally apparently transitioning into a permanent celebrity fixture independent of his role on American Idol. Here is the list:
- Adam just signed with a UK modeling agency. It’s about time.
- Adam is judging the next season of X Factor Australia (after “Ghost Town” reached #2 for 2 weeks there following a well-received performance on the Australian version of “The Voice”).
- Adam is playing Eddie on an upcoming remake of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
- Adam recently released two non-album singles, “Can’t Go Home” and “Welcome to the Show.” While neither has been a major international smash, (or much of a hit in the US), “Can’t Go Home” has had some success in Germany, while the new music video for “Welcome to the Show” has been getting quite a bit of buzz (35 articles show up in a Google News search, and 0.5M youtube views in its first 3 days — competitive with other recent Adam Lambert releases “Ghost Town” [which was an international hit], and “Another Lonely Night” [which was not]). Is the music video the first step of a full promotion campaign to US radio?
- Adam featured vocals alongside Mary J Blige, Jason Derulo, Britney Spears, Tyler Glenn, Selena Gomez, Halsey, Ty Herndon, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, Jennifer Lopez, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, Kacey Musgraves, MNEK, Alex Newell, P!nk, Prince Royce, Nate Ruess, RuPaul, Troye Sivan, Jussie Smollett, Gwen Stefani, and Meghan Trainor, and Mary Lambert (quick shout-out: who just released a super-cute and probably under-appreciated new music video about her love for her dog and her girlfriend), in charity single “Hands,” to raise money for survivors of the Orlando nightclub massacre.
- Adam has “The Original High Tour” PLUS more tour dates with Queen + Adam Lambert.
- Adam is apparently already working on his fourth studio album, and he is doing it with hitmakers Max Martin and Shellback.
- Adam has been featured in major recent advertising campaigns by Macy’s and Oreo.
- Adam was the biggest-earning American Idol alum of 2015 with $10M (largely due to touring with Queen). With all of his projects this year, coupled with more Queen tour dates, Adam could see an even bigger paycheck in the wings.
- Oh, yeah. Also, somehow, Adam has basically become the token gay of country music, despite having never released a country single. Adam performed “Girl Crush” alongside Leona Lewis at the CMT awards last year on December 2nd. Now, he has been nominated for a CMT award for “Performance of the Year” for that performance. Either he is the token gay, or country music misinterpreted the performance as the first successful case of conversion therapy.
All of this follows Adam’s true post-Idol breakthrough success with “Ghost Town,” which the New York Times said was “perhaps his best single to date,” before it went on to sell over 1 million copies worldwide (including half a million in the United States), charting in dozens of countries, and reaching the upper rungs of several major music markets (#2 in Australia, #11 in Germany, #1 in Poland, and top five in Russia [of all places!]). Yes, “Whataya Want From Me” was legitimately a bigger international hit, and “If I Had You” was at least a bigger hit in the United States. But, both of those singles were released in the afterglow of American Idol. Typically, artists have their strongest sales with their first project after the talent show — then they slowly fade away to obscurity.
After 2012’s Trespassing, a person could have been forgiven for wondering if that was what was happening to Adam Lambert. The initial sales bump was just enough to give Adam the first ever #1 album by an openly gay male artist, but the singles largely flopped, and album sales dropped like a rock. The media talked less and less about Adam, despite an album that was chock full of what I would consider some of the best music that Adam has ever made. To some extent, that isn’t just me, either. Billboard wrote a 2015 cover article explaining why music aficionados should give Trespassing a second glance, saying “The majority of the album is pure kinetic energy, with Lambert delivering its choruses rapidly and squeezing over-the-top sexuality into every tawdry syllable.”
“Ghost Town” was Adam’s breakthrough single. It a sleeper hit with a long life, whose success was driven by its own catchiness. And the fact that two of pop music’s biggest hitmakers (Max Martin and Shellback) are still working with Adam Lambert for his next project bodes well for his future. But stacked up next to everything else that Adam Lambert has going on this year, it is just one sign among many that Adam has become a permanent fixture, and that he has finally outgrown his origins on American Idol.