Before becoming a front-runner in the eighth season of American Idol, vocalist Adam Lambert made his name in the theater world, where he performed alongside Val Kilmer in the debut production of Ten Commandments: The Musical and landed an understudy role in a touring production of Wicked. The California native subsequently parlayed that theater background into a successful multi-month run on American Idol in 2009. Lambert's flair for neo-goth attire and eclectic arrangements made him a critical favorite, as did his dramatic tenor vocals. Following performances of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," Tears for Fears' "Mad World," and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," Lambert found himself pitted against contender Kris Allen in the grand finale, which he ultimately lost by a slim margin. Lambert was unanimously praised by the American Idol judges, however, who all but guaranteed him a successful recording career following the show's conclusion.
Although Lambert didn't win the Idol competition, he received far more attention than his castmates during the subsequent months, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone in June ("I don't think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I'm gay," he stated in the accompanying article, thus putting an end to the public's speculation) and eliciting standing ovations during the summer-long American Idol tour. He also signed with RCA and began recording his debut album, working alongside producer Rob Cavallo while soliciting material from the likes of Lady Gaga, Linda Perry, Justin Hawkins, and RedOne. One month before For Your Entertainment's release, Lambert unveiled his first single, a track from the 2012 soundtrack titled "Time for Miracles." His debut album followed in late November (arriving one week after the release of Kris Allen's own debut) and sold close to 200,000 copies during its first week, outdoing new releases by Rihanna and Lady Gaga in the process. Meanwhile, a risqué performance at the American Music Awards -- during which Lambert kissed his male keyboardist and danced suggestively with both sexes -- helped gather additional headlines, not to mention a fair amount of controversy. ~ Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide