Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and gang rock Charlotte

If “American Idol” the TV show is one five-month-long education, then consider its concert tour the graduation ceremony: Freed from the pressure of being graded – er, judged – it's one last chance for a disparate group to celebrate what was before heading their separate ways.

Saturday's stop before a nearly full house at Time Warner Cable Arena provided plenty of clues about what awaits the top 10 contestants from the most recent season.

“Idol” winner Kris Allen was the anti-artifice, a straightforward proposition who took the stage sporting a plaid shirt and jeans. Starting with a muscular cover of Kanye West's “Heartless,” he provided the life-affirming valedictory after Adam's glitter rave, with natural stage presence and a stronger voice and piano and guitar ability than was apparent on the show. And mercifully, he ditched the overwrought “Idol” ballad “No Boundaries” in favor of the Killers' “All These Things That I've Done.”

All of that makes Allen's post-“Idol” musical direction completely clear: He's mainstream soft rock. Lambert, on the other hand, is a trickier proposition: Of all the show's contestants, he has the greatest potential to be a transformative male solo pop-rock star in a landscape that has produced few in recent years.

Read the full Charlotte Observer story

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