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Adam Lambert and the deception of search trends

By May 21, 2009January 2nd, 2024News, Politics


Matt Dickman of Techno/Marketer wrote a great post about the fact that’s confusing many people about the 2009 American Idol finale. It seems that even though Adam Lambert ruled the numbers for search, since January, he lost the contest. Interestingly, these search stats had made clear and correct predictions in the past.

Sadly, in this case, I think a prominent reason that Adam had the search lead but not the final votes was hatred and intolerance.

Despite the fact that many of the musical greats of our time (and actors, artists, etc. – Elton John, anyone?) are gay – during this time when the right wing conservatives are fighting so hardily against the gay community – I think what we’re seeing are people searching to find out about his gayness and to talk about it and rail against it. There’s curiosity…and there’s power in numbers when it comes to both love and hate.

While Adam may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, there is no denying that his voice, musical mastery, stage presence, moves and ability to transform songs in ways we never could have imagined surpassed every other contestant. Kris Allen, himself, was even shocked and responded on live TV, “But Adam deserves this…” after he heard the news.

I know that certain groups sent out mass emails with pictures of Adam in make-up and drag, as well as images of him kissing another man asking, “Do we want this to be our American Idol?.” My 13 year-old neighbor told me that the middle school was abuzz with comments like, “I don’t want to listen to someone gay on the radio.”

Interesting that we, as a country, were able to elect a black President, but not a sexually ambiguous entertainer. Or maybe it isn’t interesting – cue Prop 8.

Even if the skewed search results weren’t completely due to the gay factor, we can’t forget the voyeur factor. He is wild, new, controversial and fascinating. The green pointy thing in a sea of cuddly pink. Whether you like him or not (and I really, really do), it’s hard not to watch, listen – and search Adam Lambert.


Update: Fantastic and like-minded post on the HuffPo: American Idol controversy: Adam Lambert Loses, Homophobia Wins

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Jeff Brown says:

    Could it not have been as simple as Kris getting most of Danny’s votes? They had to go somewhere. And, if I’m not mistaken, Adam was the only one of the three (before last week) to ever be in the bottom three.

  • Julie Roads says:

    LOL…yes! That is certainly another reason!!!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Actually, Jeff…I was just thinking about this. My post is about the discrepancy between the search results and the winner. Not why either of them actually won. So, yes, it makes sense that Kris won b/c he got Danny’s ‘vanilla votes’ but that doesn’t answer the question of why Adam had such insane search numbers – that is what my post works at answering.

  • Jeff Brown says:

    Curiosity maybe? Intrigue? Adam was flashier, sexier, mysterious-er. I figured he’d win because of his command of the search volume, and was shocked when he didn’t.

    None of that has anything to do with singing. :-)

  • Cecily says:

    Both Danny and Kris are involved with some pretty conservative religious groups, and Danny’s pastor actually sent out emails saying that everyone should now vote for Kris to make sure a “Christian” won (because everyone KNOWS you can’t be a Christian and be GAY! OMG!). There’s no doubt that hatred and bigotry kept Adam from winning.


    The good news is that Kris, and not Adam, is now stuck with the horrid, rigid, awful American Idol record contract that would force him to sing songs like that awful dreck Kris had to sing at the end. From what I’ve read, Kelly Clarkson is only JUST getting out from under the mediocrity that was forced upon her. Now Adam will have the freedom to make the music he wants to make that will be GOOD. I suspect Kris will fade away and Adam will rock on.

    But it still sucks that people are so fucking stupid and intolerant.

    (can I swear on your blog? I swear. A lot. Sorry.)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Cecily darling. You can swear here anytime. And this is an excellent point about the contract…I thought about that when Adam seemed so happy to hand the crown over to Kris. So glad to know you…

  • I totally agree with Cecily. It sucks that people are so ridiculous as to let Adam’s personal business be part of the equation. On the other hand, it really does look (historically) like the winners fade away and the runners up get great deals that allow them to go on and become industry powerhouses.

    So maybe it will all work out in Adam’s favor? I’m primarily a country music fan, but I love his sound and the persona he’s created. I hope we see lots more of Adam in the months and years to come.

  • Moira says:

    I’m not an American Idol fan but since Adam is a San Diego guy (I’m an SD gal) I was following the news. It really disturbs me to think, as you suggest, that the end result had more to do with Adam’s private life rather than talent. It does not, however, shock or even surprise me.

    Just when I think we’ve come so far as an understanding nation these things seem to surround us. These were the headlines in the San Diego Union Tribune on May 21st:

    “School curbs girl’s report on gay rights activist Milk”

    Really? Really?

    And folks around the country think California is so liberal!!

    Adam now has a chance to really shine and he will definitely Rock On!!

  • In my opinion, Adam was in a league all his own on American Idol. None of the other contestants even came close to how gifted he is as a performer. I would have liked to have seen the show not be as lop-sided in talent. Week after week to hear the rave reviews from all the judges made it too predictable.

    For me, I was shocked that Adam didn’t win, although I didn’t vote for him. But my reasoning was not based on anything except that it was fun to watch Kris grow over the weeks and come out from behind as the dark horse. I believe people can learn a lot from Kris and Adam’s genuine friendship. They were a good example of how to look beyond our differences to appreciate each others value.

    You are right Julie, Adam didn’t have to win American Idol to go on and be a successful “Rock God.” By the way, I was one of those searching about his past achievements on the Internet, even when I wasn’t voting for him.

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