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'American Idol' star Adam Lambert headlines Sunday evening at Miami Beach Gay Pride festival

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Grammy-nominated singer Adam Lambert just returned from a tour of Russia, where lawmakers have recently cracked down on gay-rights activists.

“In St. Petersburg, we had a little bit of a threat. There was some group or person who said they were going to hurt someone. It had to do with being out or gay. It was a little bit tense, but the audience was amazing,” said Lambert, perhaps the first pop musician to reach superstardom after he came out of the closet.

“It really makes you appreciate our freedoms and liberties in the USA,” said Lambert, who on Sunday is set to headline closing night of the fifth annual Miami Beach Gay Pride festival.

Lambert, who became world famous in 2009 as runner-up to Kris Allen on American Idol, promises to sing live in a free performance 8 p.m. at Ocean Drive and 12th Street.

“A handful of songs that are really fun, upbeat. Songs the LGBT community can relate to,” he says. “I have all kinds of fans and it will be cool to bring everyone together under this pride umbrella.”

The singer is coming to South Florida with an entourage of 17, including four band members, two backup singers and two dancers. He won’t be with Sauli Koskinen, his Finnish boyfriend of three years.

The couple — who were once detained after a brawl in a Helsinki bar — broke up this month, blaming their conflicting work schedules.

“It sounds very cliché, but we really are very close friends,” Lambert says.

Lambert grew up in San Diego, first performing in musical theater, then with a band and writing his own music.

“I fell in love with the idea of being an artist. That’s when I decided to audition for Idol,” he says.

Being on Idol also brings baggage. Some call it a “big karaoke show,” Lambert acknowledges.

“I have an international career because of this,” he says, “but in the music industry there’s a little bit of a stigma.”

Lambert, who recorded several songs from his most recent album, Trespassing, at Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s Miami studio, says he’s looking forward to headlining Miami Beach Gay Pride.

“I’m 150 percent proud of being gay. That’s who I’ve been since I’m 18,” said Lambert, 31, who describes himself as “an open book.”

The “Glam Nation” star says he couldn’t live in the closet.

“It’s a sacrifice of your own happiness. I don’t think anything is worth that,” Lambert says, adding that he is used to getting advice about his public persona.

“I have people around me who really love me and say ‘Hey, that’s too gay,’” he says. “And I have others who say ‘It’s not gay enough.’”

Lambert says it’s often a balancing act being a mainstream performer and also a gay activist.

“I try not to harp on it or get too preachy. I like to bring things up. I like to make people think or try to understand,” he says. “I have some songs in my repertoire that are geared to gay equality issues, but they’re also human issues. Somebody asked me whether it was appropriate for me to bring up ‘the gay lifestyle’ in a family show. And I said I’m not necessarily just promoting ‘the gay lifestyle.’ It’s a lifestyle of love, connection and freedom — and fashion. A lifestyle of being who you want to be. It’s everybody. Gay, straight and everything in between.”

Miami Beach Gay Pride info

For details about Miami Beach Gay Pride and a full schedule of events, visit www.MiamiBeachGayPride.com

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He didn't get arrested in Finland, he (and Sauli) were put in a drunk tank to sober up. Big difference.

How could anyone not fall in love with
Adam Lambert? Seriously.......
He is beautiful,sweet,loving,humble,articulate,passionate,funny,dorky,adorable,charismatic and the most AMAZING Singer/Artist in the World.
And to top it all off. He has a heart of gold.
I could go on and on and on and on :)

I love Adam's message of just living as you want, it inspires so many. You cant please everyone so just please yourself and at least one person will be happy.

Its too bad whats going on in Russia right now but I think having thousands of people show up to cheer at Adams shows says much about where younger people in the country stand on the gay rights even as the govt is being repressive. Change will come there just as its coming here in the US.

Its certainly an interesting phenomenon to consider that he gets more commercial support from radio stations and sponsors there than here in "progressive" USA. I doubt he could fill an arena anywhere in the US like he did in Russia, so maybe despite the government position, the actual people of Russia dont actually care he's gay as much as Americans do.

Such a cool guy

Yeah, you're right Steve. TMZ NEVER gets anything wrong! LOL I'll listen to Adam on this one!

There aren't enough positive words to describe Adam Lambert. He is loved by so many people those that have actually met him, know him personally and those that have never even met him in person. I'm one of those that hasn't met him yet. I've been to 3 US concerts and 2 in London with Queen. I have seen hundreds of singers live and Adam is by far the most exciting, talented, and charismatic performer I've ever seen. Videos and records don't capture his vocal talent and charisma. You can't imagine how he affects you when you see him live. I"m still hoping Adam performs w Queen in the US so I can see him again.

Listening to Adam speak, even on paper, haha, is almost as much fun as listening to him sing. He stands up for himself, tells the truth, yet, as in St. Petersburg, Russia, knows when to compromise a little for the sake of his fans. It's all well and good to say you won't perform here or there, but it's the fans who lose out and the gov't that wins. Adam is wise enough to recognize that. Even with his recent breakup, he and Sauli are acting like adults, like 2 people who love(d) one another and don't want it to be ruined by pettiness.
Can you tell that I think Adam Lambert is pretty terrific. Oh, and did I mention that his voice is out of this world.

Steve, please revise your article as Adam and Sauli were NOT arrested just detained so that they could sleep it off. No blows were thrown and no one was hurt. There's a difference between an arrest which is where a person is fingerprinted and booked and another where they are detained to find out what happened then released. The latter happened. Please change your article. Thanks

Steve - your source for your claim they were arrested is TMZ who claim they "were arrested for multiple assaults" which is blatantly untrue!!! Why would they have been released with no fine, no fingerprinting, no charges, nothing at all if they had been arrested for ANY assault let alone several. That makes no sense. No-one was hurt, there was no physical altercation - the police clearly stated that to the press. It was simply a matter of being drunk & loud and no charges were ever laid. The Police also stated that to the press. TMZ chose to ignore the police statement and go with a local Finnish gossip mags words instead. I would have expected YOU to use a more reliable source for your information than this!! *sigh*

OK, folks. Now reads "detained," not arrested.

Love Adam Lambert flying down tho Miami to catch his show.. it will be our fourth Adam concert.. If I could afford it ,I would be a groupie and follow Adam all over the world,He's just that GREAT.

Boo hoo ... I am a shut-in & can never see ADAM 'LIVE'. So I have to rely on all the Glamberts that go to these concerts & unselfishly share them via videos on Ytube & other sites. Thank You to all who do ... not the same as being there but the next best thing. Thanx for the revision from 'arrested' to 'detained' ... Steve ... and for this great article. LOVE ADAM UNconditionally ...

tess4ADAM(LAMBERT Outlaw)

Yay! Thanks for the correction :) . Yeah, it was freezing cold in Finland, they keep people safe till they sober up. Our cops do that too in Canada, it's social service.

Forgot to mention, LOVE your article. Thank you :)

I'm not sure why he'd need to 'promise to sing live' either, he always sings live, he's never done any different and there's never been any question of doing anything else.
Thanks for the article anyway. I'm really looking forward to album No 3.

Thanks for the correction Steve!! Good to see there's still integrity left somewhere in the world of the media! :D BTW That's the first time I've seen/heard anything from Adam about the bomb scare at the St Petersburg venue. It's good to hear at least a little bit of what it was like for him tho I suspect he's leaving out a lot of important details there....

I cannot describe how I feel about Adam Lambert. He literally overwhelms me. His beauty is beyond belief. Inside and out!!!!!!!!!!! I have seen him live 3 times and that leaves you wanting more. Go see him and judge for yourself. Meeting Adam Lambert is the only thing I have on my bucket list. I wish him and his ex boyfriend the very best.

I wish writers would stop referring to Adam Lambert as the "runner up on American Idol". What ever happened to creativity? I can think of a hundred other adjectives to describe him. Besides,Adam Lambert would have won except for Arkansas cheating. Everyone knows buy now that Allen did not win because of his singing. Allen is a dud in the music world, he just had 3,000 AT&T assisted power texters.

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