ADAM LAMBERT, 27, is used to lighting up phone lines. But this time he kept the FCC busy after his controversial American Music Awards performance (à la Britney and Madonna
, he kissed a guy and simulated oral sex onstage) Nov. 22. His R-rated shtick is all part of what he calls the "loud, crazy, silly, sexy, dirty, sensitive and vulnerable" vibe of his '70s-rock-influenced debut album For Your Entertainment
. American Idol
's most outrageous finalist discusses his over-the-top shows, his taste in men and the embarrassing side of fame.
You kept your sexuality quiet on Idol
, but you'd been out long before then.
I came out as I graduated high school. It probably wasn't a big shock. I had kissed girls, but it was PG-rated. I was young and confused.
You're single? [He and interior designer Drake LaBry split in October.]
Drake and I just realized we'd make better friends. But I adore him.
What do you look for in a guy?
He has to be attractive, but it's about chemistry. When he touches you, you want to be, like, bam!
You seem secure now. Did you ever struggle with self-doubt?
In middle school I felt like an outsider. I didn't have a lot of friends. I had confidence issues big-time. The only time I felt confident was onstage. My parents put me in theater at age 10. They've always supported me.
What's your thinking behind your image and your live shows?
I come from theater and costumes and all that. I'm going for, like, [David] Bowie, but it's hard. How do you do that so it works now? If people don't like it, I'm f-----.
What about your AMA number?
I stand by my performance. I just got caught up in the moment.
What advice have celebs given you?
This summer, when things got overwhelming, I had text therapy with Katy Perry. She'd say, "Stay close to the people you love." And Madonna
told me, "Keep your eye on the prize." I was at her house in New York. It was intimidating. Her son David answered the door. I thought, "This is so surreal." When we talked about singing together, she said, "I'm really bossy in the studio. I'll p--- you off." I said, "If you p--- me off, we'd probably make good art." We bantered. She was cool.
How was working with Lady Gaga, who wrote a song on your record?
So much fun. She's pretty much a gay man in a woman's body. She was very encouraging. She pushed me in the studio, like, "Go crazier!"
What else is next for you?
Creating a unisex makeup line. I've had luck in that field. But I have problem skin. I have acne. It's a mess. It's the bane of my existence.
Any downsides to fame so far?
I just shopped for a jacket and forgot to activate my new credit card. When I tried to charge it, they said, "It didn't go through." Everyone looked at me. I got frazzled, turned and tripped on a woman's dog. She said, "Watch where you're going!" Then I was bitchy to her. I realized the tabloids will probably say that I'm a diva, I hate dogs, I have no credit and I've already burned through all my money. But I'm not complaining. Giving up some of my privacy to get what I have now? It's worth it.