Adam Lambert

With his provocative looks, electrifying stage presence, and powerful vocals, "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-2016) season eight runner-up Adam Lambert emerged as one of the competition's most original artists. Adam Mitchel Lambert was born on Jan. 29, 1982 in Indianapolis, IN. Shortly after he was born, the family moved to Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego, CA. Lambert's earliest music memory was listening to his father's large collection of classic rock albums, and singing along to an Elvis Presley karaoke tape. At 10, he joined a children's musical theater, took voice lessons, and started listening to various musicals. Lambert took his passion for performing all the way to high school, where he was in the drama club and in a jazz band. As a teen, Lambert appeared in local productions of "Hello, Dolly!" (1964), "Camelot" (1960) and played Captain Hook in "Peter Pan" (1950), among many others. At 19, he toured with Anita Mann Productions and worked on a cruise line for almost a year. When he returned home, Lambert moved immediately to Los Angeles, where he landed parts in several musical productions, including "The Ten Commandments: The Musical" (2004), as the Hebrew army leader, Joshua. By this time, having embraced the idea that he was going to be a rock star, Lambert began wearing nail polish and eyeliner on stage. For three years beginning in 2005, Lambert nabbed his biggest role so far - the understudy of the role of Fiyero in the national tour and Los Angeles productions of the hit musical "Wicked" (2003). In 2009, Lambert auditioned and made it to the semi-finals round of "American Idol," where he instantly made an impact on the judges and viewers with his outrageous leather and spiked outfits, signature eyeliner, and out-of-this-world pipes. Week after week, Lambert delivered exciting performances of smash hits such as Michael Jackson's "Black or White" (1991), Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" (1977), and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" (1969). He even garnered a standing ovation from the show's guest judge, Smokey Robinson, after his acoustic version of The Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears" (1965). During the competition, photos of Lambert kissing another man surfaced, prompting rumors that he was gay and that such photos might affect the outcome of the competition. While he did not deny nor confirm his sexuality, Lambert confirmed that the photos were of him. The flamboyant singer did make it to the show's finals, where he held his own during a performance of "We Are the Champions" (1977) with the remaining members of the legendary rock group, Queen. Yet, in spite of the wildly enthusiastic response he received from the judges and audience all season long, Lambert lost the competition to the mellow, less charismatic Kris Allen. The fact that most voters believed him to be gay was thought to be a deciding factor in his loss and angered gay rights activists. But it did not take long for Lambert to steal the spotlight. He officially came out as gay in a Rolling Stone interview. On his debut album, For Your Entertainment (2009), featuring the hit singles "Whataya Want From Me" and "If I Had You," Lambert collaborated with some of pop music's biggest artists, including Pink and Lady GaGa. He incited controversy once again after what some thought was a risqué performance of his single "For Your Entertainment" at the "2009 American Music Awards" (ABC, 2009), during which Lambert kissed and grinded against a male bassist. In 2010, he launched "The Glam Nation Tour" first throughout the United States and then internationally, before temporarily replacing the late Freddie Mercury in Queen for a performance at the 2011 EMAs and a six-date European tour. Lambert's second album, Trespassing, was released in May 2012 to enthusiastic reviews. Following an arc on "Glee" (Fox 2009-2015) during the show's fifth season, Lambert rejoined Queen--now officially billed as "Queen + Adam Lambert" for an international tour in 2014. After signing with Warner Brothers Records, Lambert released his third solo album, The Original High, in 2015, touring on his own before rejoining Queen for a series of 2016 festival dates and a 2017 world tour. In between tour dates, Lambert joined the judging panel of "The X Factor Australia" (Seven 2010-16) and co-starred as Eddie (the role made famous by Meat Loaf) in a television production of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (Fox 2016).