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Lambert, Iraheta Get Pumped for American Idols Live's First Gig

July 6, 2009 10:07 AM ET

Kris Allen looked visibly uncomfortable in the hours leading up to the American Idol tour's kick-off show in Portland, Oregon. But it wasn't because of nerves. "I just really have to pee," he said, hoping for a well-deserved break in the midst of a series of interviews. (Read our report from the Idols tour's first show here.)

The Idol winner and his nine companions were feeling more pumped than apprehensive about the show. After all, they're playing for fans now. "You don't have the whole judge thing, the cameras aren't in your face," Allen said. "You're just playing for the crowd and you can feed off that energy." "You're nervous on the show because you have these four guys who are going to tell me how much I suck in front of so many friggin' people," added Allison Iraheta, the season's youngest Idol. "With the tour, I know there are a lot of people out there who voted for me."

But the idea of playing for such a large live audience does seem impressive to the Idols. "This is definitely the biggest crowd I've performed in front of," said Adam Lambert, whose pre-show preparation includes some push-ups and sit-ups to get his blood pumping. There should be plenty of blood pumping in the audience, too, considering that Lambert is opening his set this summer with the awesomely over-the-top "Whole Lotta Love," the Led Zeppelin cover that blew away the Idol judges (and fans). "It's fun, it's sexy," he said.

Despite his rock god status, Lambert again confirmed he'll be exploring a variety of genres — pop, dance, electronica, funk — on his upcoming album, which includes collaborations with producers Linda Perry, Sam Sparro, RedOne and Greg Wells. Iraheta, on the other hand, is happy to be nixing disco night and doing what she does best — rocking out. The raspy-voiced teenager is working on an alternative rock album with David Hodges and Kevin Rudolf.

Meanwhile, fifth-place finisher Matt Giraud is getting a taste of the other side of Idol. "I'm Seacrest and Simon," he told us, explaining that he'll be serving as a host and a judge for Yobi.tv, an online singing competition that's attracting contestants from all over the world.

Speaking of Idol personnel — any chance that they might show up at one of the shows? "If anyone would, it would be Paula," said spectacled soul singer Danny Gokey. "She hung out with us just recently. She genuinely cares about us — [Idol] is more than just a paycheck to her. She's got a lot of heart."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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