The XX Factor

Adam Lambert, Too Weird for Prime Time?

I’m not really sure why I keep watching American Idol contestant Adam Lambert’s take on the creepy Tears for Fears song , “Mad World,” which he sang again last night. He doesn’t have any of the authenticity of unadorned British wonder Susan Boyle or even of the other finalist from last night: sweet, baby-faced Kris Allen. They call him “Glambert” because he wears black nail polish and chains, but he obviously does not have the bottled misfit rage to be a real glam rocker. He loves his mommy and daddy in California and always says the other guy should win. Maybe it’s because, like everyone else, I’ve lost sight of what’s authentic. In an age when Ozzy Osbourne gets a reality show and Miley Cyrus poses sort of naked for Vanity Fair , who can say who’s the true rebel? So Adam Lambert perfectly captures this moment when a kid from California can try on a David Bowie, or Sam Cooke, or Elvis getup for five minutes and have a grand old time doing it, and that alone makes him fit to be an American Idol.

Photo of Adam Lambert by Jason Merritt/Getty Images