American Idol

Adam Lambert’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Roots

I guess we know whom New York Times writer Stephen Holden is rooting for in tonight’s American Idol finale. “[Adam Lambert’s] glam-rock poses and banshee shrieks this season have lent a frisson of hipness to American Idol, a deeply conservative show that pretended to be on the cultural cutting edge,” he writes. “Mr. Lambert’s presence helped this year’s American Idol validate an idea of rock ’n’ roll that goes all the way back to the heyday of Little Richard: that it originated as a hormonal noisemaking outlet for rowdy boys to preen, cut up and role-play.” Holden couches his endorsement, however, observing a bit ruefully that Lambert represents “yesterday’s putatively subversive culture neutralized by television and turned into YouTube-ready theatrical karaoke.”