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Photos: The many looks of Adam Lambert

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  1. Vested interest

    Adam Lambert, right, joins Snoop Dogg and Paula Abdul at the 2009 American Music Awards news conference held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Finding the 'Boundaries'

    Adam Lambert performs "No Boundaries," an original song written by judge Kara DioGuardi, on Tuesday, May 19, his final performance of season 8 of "American Idol." (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Making a 'Change'

    Adam Lambert performed "A Change Is Gonna Come," a song selected by "Idol" producer Simon Fuller, as his second song on Tuesday, May 19. “That was the best I’ve ever heard you sing! Ever, ever, ever!" cooed Paula Abdul of Lambert's performance. (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A 'Phantom' performance?

    Adam Lambert reprised his version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" during the final sing on Tuesday, May 19. Simon Cowell questioned his attire and said he thought the performance as a bit too much like "Phantom of the Opera." (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Big time

    Adam Lambert made it into the final two on "American Idol" by singing two songs by enormous rock bands -- U2's "One" and Aerosmith's "Cryin'." Judge Simon Cowell bragged that U2 leader Bono called him personally to OK the use of "One." (Frank Micelotta / Fox via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Name-dropping

    Judge Simon Cowell bragged that U2 leader Bono called him personally to OK Lambert's use of "One." (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. O say can you see

    Lambert, a San Diego native, returned to his hometown as part of the "Idol" final three hometown visits. While there, he made a trip to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and sang the national anthem for service members and their families. (Lance Cpl. Christopher O'quin / US Marine Corps via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rock this town

    Lambert was in his element on rock night, tearing into Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Said an appreciative Randy Jackson, "you are a rock star tonight!" (R Mickshaw / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Classing it up for Rat Pack night

    Would Sinatra perform in anything but a suit? Lambert dressed up, but still kept his own personal style, on Rat Pack night. There's now a cat figurine wearing a white suit for sale on eBay imitating Lambert's outfit from this night. (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Does caffeine calm backstage jitters?

    Lambert is seen backstage before elimination night on the week that Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai were sent home. Note the Coke machine in the background -- Coke, of course, is a major "Idol" sponsor. (R Mickshaw / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Suiting up

    Maybe this should have been the night for the white suit? Lambert went formal for disco night, where he sang his own version of "If I Can't Have You" from "Saturday Night Fever." (M Becker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Get your motor running

    On movie-song night, Lambert pulled out the motorcycle jacket and blue jeans and sang "Born to Be Wild" from "Easy Rider." Said Paula Abdul, "you dare to dance in the path of greatness." (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The song so many missed

    When the Idols performed songs from the years they were born, Lambert chose 1982's "Mad World." Even Gary Jules, who arranged the version Lambert performed, said "it was fantastic." Jules covered the Tears for Fears song in a stripped-down, slow version in 2001 and the tune became popular after it was used in the movie "Donnie Darko" that same year. Unfortunately, Lambert performed last on a night that "American Idol" ran eight minutes over schedule and many fans who recorded the show missed Lambert's song. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Lay down the boogie

    When Lambert performed Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music," Paula Abdul compared him to Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Emerging as a star

    Lambert's performance of "Tracks of My Tears" drew a standing ovation from Kara DioGuardi. Paula Abdul liked his appearance, too. "I love the clean look," she said. "No nail polish tonight!" (F Micelotta / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Middle Eastern music meets Johnny Cash

    Lambert was rarely criticized all season, but on country night, he performed Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and added a Middle Eastern flavor, complete with sitar sounds. Randy Jackson thought it was "current," but Simon Cowell found it "absolute indulgent rubbish." (Michael Becker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Taking on the King of Pop

    On Michael Jackson night, Lambert tackled "Black or White," and earned raves. "I hope Michael Jackson is watching," said Kara DioGuardi. () Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Fans got 'Satisfaction'

    Early on in the competition, Lambert tackled the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." Simon Cowell thought some parts of the performance were "excruciating" and others "brilliant," but Lambert was on his way. (Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. You've got the look

    From the beginning, Lambert attracted fans, with some claiming he reminded them of vampire hearthrob Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" books and movies. (Chris Cuffaro / Fox via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 11/19/2009 10:52:15 PM ET 2009-11-20T03:52:15

“American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert has been in the news this week for more than just the upcoming release of his debut album, “For Your Entertainment”: After putting Lambert on the cover of OUT magazine, Aaron Hicklin, Out’s editor, wrote the singer an open letter, complaining about certain stipulations placed on the interview and cover shoot by Lambert’s management team — allegations to which Lambert fired back via Twitter. (Read EW Idol Expert Michael Slezak’s take on the matter here.)

We caught up with Lambert at rehearsals for the American Music Awards in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, and got his unvarnished take on the dispute. We also chatted about the new album and his AMA performance, and will bring you those answers Friday as part of our ongoing coverage of Sunday’s awards show.

Entertainment Weekly: Let’s talk about the Out magazine kerfuffle.

Adam Lambert: Isn’t that fun? [laughs]

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EW: We now know the behind-the-scenes dialogue between the magazine and your management team. The thing I’m curious about is, from your perspective, how does it feel to have your image managed by someone other than you?

Lambert: What people don’t realize is, I am managing my image, more than maybe the editor of Out magazine likes to give anybody credit for. My team is a team. And I really feel fortunate that 19 Management and Simon Fuller said to me, from the get-go, “We want to do what you want to do. You need to tell us how you want to do things, what interests you have,” and they’ve been incredibly supportive of me. I really mean it. I’m not being puppeted around. I didn’t want to jump onto a gay magazine as my first thing, because I feel like that’s putting myself in a box and limiting myself. It was my desire to stay away from talking about certain political and civil rights issues because I’m not a politician. I’m an entertainer. That is not my area of expertise. I can talk about relationships and personal experiences because as an artist those things involve writing lyrics and that part of my process. But I didn’t feel comfortable talking about the March on Washington. I didn’t feel comfortable, so I asked my publicist to ask the interviewer to stay away from the political questions. I take full responsibility for that. I think that the editor has his agenda and has his opinions, which I respect, but they’re not necessarily my opinions. And I wish there was a little respect for that. Not every gay man is the same gay man.

EW: They’re gonna take away your laminated membership card.

Lambert: Apparently. It’s just sexuality. We’re all very very different, just like all straight people are different.

EW: Who told you that?

Lambert: You know? That’s the thing. But the funny thing is, in order for us to progress, we need to stop segregating ourselves. And a letter like that, that viewpoint — the letter that Aaron wrote is holding us back. Because it’s recognizing the big difference as opposed to letting us all ignore preference and just be people. So I think in attempt to champion a cause he’s actually taking a big step backwards.

EW: With things like the phrase “gay-gay”?

Lambert: That was taken out of context. It was all taken out of context. And also, the other thing that I feel about it? If there are things going on behind the scenes with my management, it has nothing to do with my interview with them. He really crossed a line.

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