Amber’s Brand Blog

Just another weblog

An Authentic American Idol

with 4 comments

(aired 3/17-3/31)

So American Idol is a cesspool of potential things to talk about in regards to branding.  However, I want to talk about how each particular contestant is creating their own brand by the songs that they perform and how they perform them.  The particular contestant that I wish to focus on is  Adam Lambert … because during this past weeks performance he totally changed his brand.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only.

This is Adam on 3/17

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is Adam on 3/25 (Jump to 5:02)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is Adam on 3/31 (Jump to 4:21)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Alright now from viewing the three performances this is what I thought of…

I’m now convinced that I started learning about authenticity through Sesame Street.  But let’s go back to looking at the authenticity of Adam Lambert in more grown up terms.

So obviously American Idol is a competition and how you win … typically…is to consistently sing well and to think outside the box.  But to me thinking outside the box has to be in the context of who you are and who you want to be as an artist.  I think for Mr. Lambert to do the “Tracks of My Tears” performance the way he did was a complete departure from who he is, and also possibly who he wants to be as an artist.  You can see from the other two performances that he’s usually a little more made up, that he dresses a little funkier, and that he’s still into wearing nail polish (even though that went out like 5 years ago).  And in the “Tracks of My Tears” performance he looks mostly like a clean cut all-American young man … which is not the vibe that he’s ever given before.  I mean for Pete’s sake he sang Cher during Hollywood week … clean cut all-American young men don’t do that!  I think that the “Tracks of my Tears” performance is a complete and utter betrayal of who he is … or who he has portrayed himself to be…and for me that makes me think he’s not authentic.

A couple of things that we discussed in regards to wine making come to mind when determining the authenticity of Mr. Lambert.  First, of course, is stylistic consistency.  As I mentioned before he’s been consistently different since the very first audition and this performance to me seemed like it was more inside of the box than the outside of the box.  The most major thing that made me question his authenticity was the commercial motives thing.  Yes this is a competition, and yes it’s important to have the audience on your side, but at what cost.  As you can see from the other performances Adam might not be too appealing to all the soccer moms (and dads) out there, or to the more conservative audience, or to really anyone besides Erica.  So I think this performance was a way for him to get those viewers and voters (aside from Erica) on his side.  So to me it makes it seem that this song choice was commercial in motive and really shatters his authenticity for me.

I will concede that this guy is a great singer … but until he figures out who he is and what he wants to sing and how he wants to sing it he will never be an authentic recording artist.

Until next time…


Written by amberbrandblog

April 5, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Amber, you hurt my heart. Adam FTW!!!

    Actually, I think he’s the only contestant this year that even bothers to try to figure out what the songs are saying. He’s the only one who asked Smokey Robinson what the song is all about. That’s why he sang it the way he did, and it was beautiful. If you look up his videos on YouTube, he’s done a lot of ballads in a similar style.

    He’s got a lot of fans throughout all the message boards and stuff. Even on the board that I read (and they hate EVERYONE), they like him. Adam LOVE!!!


    April 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm

  2. I’m still meh about him…

    Last season they criticized David Cook for doing Music of the Night … as Music of the Night because they felt it wasn’t him … yet this year the praise the guy for doing the song essentially as written. I’m still bitter about all bad David Cook comments…

    Also, I choose not to do outside research on reality TV shows because I think it influences my judgment of them on the show and I want to judge them on their merits on the show now their previous accomplishments.

    Can we still be friends?


    April 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm

  3. you shouldn’t be bitter. David Cook won!!!

    with all the random messed up themes they throw at them though, they should expect some strange and “outside the box” performances.

    Friends forever,


    April 7, 2009 at 12:47 am

  4. I like the exploration of authenticity with AI contestants… wow, are any of them so? I think that Hicks guy a few years ago refused to change for the show and it worked for him. And the rock guy, what’s-his-name? Daughtry has sold 7 million records because he sings who he is not what Simon or the the cheerleaders wanted him to be. Then again, lots never even maed the first cut because they were so authentic as to be inflexible – is unwaveringness authenticity?

    Scott R

    April 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

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