Lambert holds his ground

There are those who will question whether "For Your Entertainment," the debut album from "American Idol" sensation Adam Lambert, is more of a product of the all-star cast of producers and co-writers who worked on the CD than Lambert himself.

Several of the hottest behind-the-scenes talents were involved in the CD, including producers/songwriters Max Martin, Greg Wells, Dr. Luke, Linda Perry and Claude Kelly, and as songwriters, some notable names as well, including Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Justin Hawkins of Wolfmother.

But in a recent phone interview, Lambert, 27, made it clear he thinks there's plenty of his vision, style and sound in his debut disc, although he also wanted to benefit from the talents of his co-writers and producers.

"That's what collaboration is all about," Lambert said. "I feel that I held my ground in those collaborations. I think it's exciting to be able to work with people with such great track records. There's a reason why they're famous and there's a reason why they're successful, because they do good work. And I wanted good work on my album. "

Lambert will perform tonight at the Cotillion.

Lambert's CD, released last November, was probably one of the most scrutinized debuts to emerge from any "American Idol" alumnus. That's arguably because no other finalist created as big a stir as Lambert did on Season Eight of the hit television show.

Much of the attention stemmed from the fact that Lambert, of San Diego, was a different kind of contestant from the usual play-it-safe, middle-of-the-road big-voiced crooners who have populated the show. In other words, Lambert was the anti-Aiken (Season Two runner-up Clay Aiken), or even the anti-Kris Allen (who beat out Lambert to win the "American Idol" crown).

Visually, Lambert, who revealed after "Idol" that he is gay, was flashy, with his colorful clothes, spiky black hair and fondness for eye shadow.

Musically, he was edgy, often choosing rock-oriented material over sensitive ballads. And as a performer, he didn't hold back, combining flamboyance with a super-charged set of vocal pipes, and holding his own on stage during performances with the likes of Kiss and Queen.

Lambert didn't play things entirely safe on "For Your Entertainment," either.

"It's a very eclectic album," Lambert said. "I kind of don't really stick to one genre. I don't really believe in that. I didn't do it on the show, and I didn't do it on my album. I did, however, do a lot of music from the '70s during 'Idol,' a lot of rock music.

"But at the same time I wanted to bring in some really contemporary sounds to it, and kind of go into a pop direction as well," he said. "What I really tried to do on some of the tracks was a straight-up fusion of the two styles."

Lambert admitted he wasn't sure how fans would respond to "For Your Entertainment," but that was part of his plan for the CD. And his risque performance on the "American Music Awards" shortly after the release of the CD seemed to cause a temporary backlash. But his most recent single, "Whatdya Want from Me," went top five on "Billboard" magazine's adult pop chart and appears to have given the CD a second wind.

If you go

adam lambert

What: "American Idol" finalist in concert with opening act Allison Iraheta

Where: Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg

When: 8 p.m. Friday

How much: Tickets $40 at Select-A-Seat outlets, the Cotillion, House of Sight & Sound and employee clubs, unless otherwise noted. Credit card orders, 316-722-4201 or www.thecotillion.com.