Thousands of screaming, cheering fans flooded the packed Mount Carmel High School stadium Friday for a parade and free concert by a former alum who just happens to be the "American Idol" front-runner.
At 11:15 a.m., fans finally got got what they came for: 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.
The crowd went crazy. It must be an overwhelming day for Lambert, who was already on local TV and radio, all as part of American Idol's traditional "hometown visit."
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 Friday to be Adam Lambert Day.
Lambert opened up with a cover of Michael Jackson's "Black or White" and followed it up with Gary Jules' arrangement of Tears for Fears' "Mad World." At the end of that song, a young girl jumped onstage and took off her shirt (she had a bikini top on). She was escorted off the stage by bodyguards.
Even thought the sound system at the stadium was horrible and overmodulated, no one seemed to care.
The Idol did take care of some business while he was in town, reminding his audience, "So you guys are gonna help me out and vote!"
"You guys, how's it feel to be out of class today?" Lambert asked before leaving the stage. By 11:30 he was gone, taking one final lap around the track before leaving the stadium. He transferred to a white stretch limo not far away, which was thronged but able to make slow, steady progress off school grounds.
Later on Friday, he is expected to go to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where he will visit with Marines, sailors and their families at the Bob Hope Theater. That event is not open to the general public. It is for active-duty service members, reservists, retirees and their family members only.