Adam Lambert, the edgy 27-year-old musical theater performer battled against 23-year-old guitar playing college student Kris Allen in the final performance battle on "American Idol."
They captured the hearts of the nation -- the rocker with the “guy liner” and unique “pipes” from San Diego and the likeable boy next door, the so called “dark horse” of the competition.
“Only one can take the title,” host Ryan Seacrest said, kicking off Wednesday’s finale to a pumped up crowd.
That ‘one’ was not Adam Lambert, it was in fact the dark horse.
Many people (including American Idol’s judges) thought Lambert had this one in the bag – apparently America decided otherwise.
After the nationwide vote Folksy singer Kris Allen became the new "American Idol" Wednesday night. Nearly 100 million votes were cast for the finalists, according to host Ryan Seacrest.
27-year-old Lambert, a theater actor from San Diego who grew up in Rancho Peñasquitos, came in second to the 23-year-old student from Conway, Ark.
The two-hour finale included performances by the Black Eyed Peas, Cyndi Lauper, Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart.
Lambert rocked the stage in costume with Kiss and Allen did a duet with Keith Urban.
The ‘bikini girl’ stole the show for a time, waltzing on stage in a skimpy bikini, kissing Seacrest on the lips (without any protest from the host) and performing a somewhat painful song -- until judge Kara DioGuardi decided it was time for a little pay back after a fiery, argumentative audition and joined ‘bikini girl’ on stage.
Kara showed us her chops and a little extra… ripping open her dress to show off her own skimpy bikini. Sweetie… honey… you proved your point.
Tatiana del Toro (the annoying squealer who won the Golden Idol) followed bikini girl’s lead. In an attempt to steal the spotlight she ran on stage and grabbed the microphone and sang as Seacrest tried to go to a commercial break.
Whether both performances were staged or not you have to admit it made for great television.
Many of Adam’s hometown fans just couldn’t wait until the west coast version of Idol. They packed Copley Symphony Hall to watch the east coast version three hours earlier. Among the crowd was last year’s chatty contestant from San Diego.
“We are at Copley Symphony Hall because Adam is our theater child and we love him to pieces,” Carly Smithson said.
Last season’s winner, David Cook, took the Idol stage to hand over the title. It was a tough and emotional performance.
“I know it has been a rough couple of weeks for you and that song I’m sure -- really emotional to sing,” Seacrest said.
Cook’s brother died May 2 after a long battle with cancer. Adam Cook, a lawyer, was 36. He had struggled with the disease for 11 years.
“Yeah, it’s a tough song, but I think at the end of the day to honor not only my brother but everybody who has to deal with something like this, you know you stay the course and pull strength from everybody else.”
Before the announcement, the two finalists dueted on "We are the Champions" with the surviving members of Queen.
“I would say to both of you, and I don’t normally mean this, you were both brilliant, unusually incredibly nice people and I think both of you should be very proud of what you achieved last night and the future’s all yours,” Simon Cowell said just before the new Idol was crowned.
The competition might be over but Lambert’s journey is just beginning. There’s no denying the guy can sing and has already made a name for himself in America and overseas.
Allen gets a record contract along with his "American Idol" title.
You can download Adam’s songs at AmericanIdol.com.
San Diego's hope for the competition, despite the loss, was a clear favorite in the judge’s eyes.
“The whole idea is to find a worldwide star, and I think we found that with you,” Simon Cowell said.
The often critical judge could find no fault with Lambert for most of the season and any criticism he did dish out came with a “Simon” smile as if to say ‘you’ve got this whatever I say.’
Randy Jackson also thought this “dog” was hot and often found himself repeating his obvious glee to watch a growing star on the Idol stage.
“Dude, you can sing anything in the phonebook,” he said – on more than one occasion.
Paula Abdul swooned every time he hit the stage and rarely made it through a performance without glistening eyes and a face beaming with pride and adoration.
“Adjectives can't express what you've brought to this show,” she said.
But it was Kara DioGuardi, this year’s newest judge (who had some growing pains with America’s most critical judge), who was put in a position where her words could have helped decide this season’s winner.
Kara co-wrote “No Boundaries,” this year’s designated first single for the winner. It was the final song that Adam Lambert and Kris Allen sang on Tuesday, and left the final impression in the audience’s mind as everyone went off to dial or text their votes.
Lambert grew up in Rancho Peñasquitos and attended Mt. Carmel High School – a place he visited May 8, much to the excitement of hundreds of adoring, screaming fans.
They got a first-hand look at Adam Lambert, who drove onto the stadium in a bright-red Ford Mustang, waving to the screaming throngs.
"Rancho Penasquitos, please welcome home Adam Lambert," yelled the school's principal, Dr. Tom McCoy.
After taking the stage, Lambert told the crowd to "embrace your weirdness."
"This is an example of being who you are," Lambert said. "Anybody who feels different or weird, screw it.... It's cool to be different."
Mayor Jerry Sanders went onstage at one point, proclaiming the day to be Adam Lambert Day.
Before "American Idol" took over Adam Lambert's life, there was "Wicked," not to mention "The Ten Commandments" — yes, a musical version of the sand-and-sandals biblical epic.
The 27-year-old had a professional musical-theater background before he ever sang for Simon, Paula and the rest of the show's judges.
Lambert did two stints in "Wicked," the mammoth musical prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" — joining the touring company in March 2005 and staying for six months, then opening in the extended Los Angeles production in February 2007 and remaining with the show until October 2008. For both engagements, he was a member of the ensemble and understudied the role of Fieryo, the show's love interest.
These pictures are from the March 1998 performance of "Music Man." Lambert, who was a high school junior at the time, played Marcellus Washburn, the friend of Prof. Harold Hill, in the classic musical. As part of the performance, Lambert sang "Shipoopi."
We're told Lambert was the understudy for the starring role. The student who nabbed the role of Harold Hill is as far away from "American Idol" as you can get, studying law.
Lambert joins a few famous alumni from Mt. Carmel High School including Blaine Cotter from "The Biggest Loser" and Eric Chavez who plays professional baseball with the Oakland A's.
Adam Lambert has stood out as one of the most unique contestants on "American Idol's" Season 8, so it's only fitting that a slew of equally unique items related to the star-on-the rise have cropped up on eBay.
From a locket allegedly containing some of Adam's hair, to a shower curtain featuring Adam's likeness, the raven-haired singer is all over the popular selling Web portal.
One item up for auction was "Catbert," a ceramic cat made in Adam's likeness. The seller notes that "Catbert" is wearing a "white suit and white tie, just as Adam did when he sang 'Feeling Good,' during Rat Pack week."
Another item called the "Adam Lambert Necklace," allegedly features a lock of Adam's hair, saved for her by someone who cuts the "Idol" hopeful's hair, the seller claims.
Sellers are also offering more traditional items like mouse pads, purses, hip flasks, money cases, and T-shirts all featuring his image.
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