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Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 10:13 pm
So boredom has created fandom drama again. The latest evolution is Adam having a boyfriend, which ought to all "yay cute pictures" and not "if you don't love Sauli, you're not a fan," which is what's happening. As such, I'm wondering why people are really fans. I realize that after two years, a TV show, an album, a tour, and one memorable awards show performance, the reasons vary drastically. Also, it's not just how fan encountered Adam, it's what he represents as an out pop star. This creates a very mixed and sometimes volatile fandom with a peace-loving hippie at it's core.

While American Idol is how Adam was launched into national consciousness, and mine, I realize it wasn't that way for many. Some discovered him the night of his audition, and followed the rest of the season, some were hooked later by a random sighting, Ring of Fire or Mad World mostly. Thank you Top 8 show running over and Simon's standing ovation. Even favorite songs vary wildly. Three songs followed from Idol to his Glam Nation set, but Whole Lotta Love seems to be a favorite among hardcore fans while Mad World is bigger among casual fans. Also, Idol fans vary in how they've reacted to Adam and Idol post-show. Some wanted the restrained singer to continue to be the arch of his career, while some wanted him to give us whatever he wanted no matter how over the top. This has led to many clashes as some fans worry about every over the top move, while others delight in them.

This divide was marked sharply by the American Music Awards performance that got sexual and controversial (more the faux blow job than the kiss from viewers I asked). While many fans wondered about the ramifications, some still worry about crazy stunts even after Adam's sales were fine even after bannings from TV and press during tour. He gained fans after the AMAs as many respected that he would go all out despite the consequences, especially those that tuned out after Idol and hadn't seen the tour. Some were offended and backed away, but I think over all he came out ahead. However, the performance did impact his fans as his debut single was dropped from radio and that's been a continuous fight, with Whataya Want From Me and If I Had You. Fans have over requested or not requested locally, and annoyed deejays, while trying to force airplay. Also For Your Entertainment has only been performed a hand full of times in the US since then. However, having heard the international arrangement, not sure if that's so much as fan reaction as it's a damn hard song to sing, even using a remix rather the regular track.

The Glam Nation Tour was when many casual fans resurfaced. Until then, the media saw his fans as only female, but plenty of men saw the show. These fans bought the album and saw the show, but don't follow every picture and article. Shows sold out and nearly thirty extra US shows were added, a few at 5000+ venues. However, many were so impressed with the live show that glowing reviews resulted, with many reviews written by male music critics. The show was plenty of fun for everyone, with kisses, vocals, staging, and costumes being applauded. Favorite songs varied, while many loved Fever, Sleepwalker and encores (particularly Whole Lotta Love), others preferred the acoustic set. Also, many of the best shows were on the international leg of the tour, where Adam seemed more relaxed and fans more anything goes. Glam Nation is even being sold as a CD/DVD with plenty of promotion, even though sales seem to be mostly hardcore fans as of now rather than casual listeners.

The casual fans did recommend or purchase the CD after their concert though. This shows that while the Glamberts get plenty of press, there are many people who won't change the radio and even listen to the CD. Also, sales do increase after TV performances, such as the Idol performances that many hardcore fans complain about. However, reading Idol discussions on nights Adam performs, Idol fans are still impressed, even though they get the more conservative songs. The increase in sales of Acoustic Live! rather than For Your Entertainment this year showed that many people like Adam's softer side much to the chagrin of fans who want on-stage antics and showy vocals.

Aside from casual fans, there were those that found Adam through less conventional means. With the growing popularity of YouTube, knowledge of Adam spread to countries he didn't visit on his international promo tour, which was very successful as the US was still reeling from the AMAs . Videos from pre-Idol, Idol, and both summers of touring have been made available. The initial gateway seemed to be the version of Mad World that was aired late on Idol and got posted several places. However, covers were posted this summer as they were revealed as well. In a less traditional vein, I had one friend find Adam through Idol recaps on Television Without Pity. She read the recaps and needed to hear the voice. Several others saw television interviews or articles with videos.

Just how people became fans and what music they prefer makes this a very diverse fanbase. When you add in looks, vocals, boyfriends, band members you get several other dimensions that will have to be in part two of my thoughts.

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