Adam Lambert will serve as guest mentor on the April 13 episode of American Idol, a spokesperson for 19 Entertainment confirms exclusively to EW. Internet buzz began swirling this afternoon that Sony Music reps had contacted selected radio stations with the announcement that last year’s runner-up would advise season 9’s Top 8 contestants, and then perform his current single “Whattaya Want From Me” on the April 14 results-show telecast. There’s no official word yet on what theme the contestants will tackle during Lambert’s visit.
Lambert as mentor should provide a glittery adrenaline shot to an Idol season that’s struggled to find its water-cooler mojo. Adam, perhaps more than any former contestant, should be able to help Idol‘s low-key crop of current contenders add some much-needed drama to their performances. Plus, what better way to promote Adam’s single (currently lodged at No. 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100) and planned summer tour?
Of course, there will be some Idol fans who argue Adam is too inexperienced to don a mentor’s cap, seeing how only a year ago he ended every one of his performances with a critique from Paula Abdul. Point taken, but what Adam lacks in music-biz wisdom, he makes up for with his knowledge of the singularly grueling Idol experience. Just yesterday, while interviewing season 9’s latest ousted contestant, Didi Benami, talk turned to her struggles with last week’s R&B theme, and she didn’t seem to completely understand where I was coming from when I asked her if she’d studied previous Idol successes like Adam, Kris Allen, and David Cook — and the way they managed to sculpt a wide variety of genres to fit their artistic styles, and not the other way around. Surviving and thriving in the genre-a-week Idol rollercoaster is something that a Mick Jagger or a Dolly Parton or even a Beyoncé or a Kanye has never had to do. If Adam can help season 9’s Top 8 to better understand the mechanics of the show — and it results in improved performances — I don’t see how anyone loses.
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