For some contestants American Idol is the high point of their career. But for Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert, it was only just the beginning. The 30-year-old singer is making music history this week by becoming the first openly gay male artist to garner the No. 1 spot atop the Billboard 200 album chart, with his sophomore album Trespassing. (Interestingly enough, Idol alum Clay Aiken accomplished a similar feat with his 2003 album Measure of a Man, but he didn’t officially come out until 2008. The same can be said for Elton John and George Michael.)
On top of all that, Lambert also managed to dethrone Idol champ Carrie Underwood in the process, making her album Blown Away drop down to No. 3. The pop star’s latest album has already sold 77,000 copies in its first week, according to Billboard.com, which is especially impressive considering the fact that Idol winners tend to become less and less popular as time goes on, with the exception of say, Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Typically, if you’re going to come out with a chart-topping album, it would be piggybacked off the success of your recent Idol fame, yet here Lambert is achieving it three years after the fact. (His debut album For Your Entertainment only reached No. 3).
But this current success didn’t come easily. Trespassing’s first single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” stalled at No. 76 on the Billboard singles chart after its December 2011 release, making the album’s overall success all the more shocking. But if there’s one Idol star who’s been known to surprise us in one way or another, it’s Adam.
Lambert is the seventh Idol finalist to reach No. 1, following in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and Scotty McCreery. Tonight we’ll find out if Phillip Phillips or Jessica Sanchez have what it takes to join that elite group.