It’s one thing to just watch, admire, and enjoy the performance of an American Idol. It’s quite another to want to be like one. Although he had not really paid attention during AI’s Season 8, the Boy has started over the past few months to take note of runner-up Adam Lambert. It started when we caught one of Lambert’s mesmerizing performances of “Whataya Want from Me?” on an awards show, and it built from there. Soon, the Boy was keeping his ears alert for any Lambert tunes, and had got to the point where he could lip-synch quite well his favourite song.
A couple of weeks ago, we finally bought the CD for the Boy, and his interest was cranked up a notch. We found it amusing that now, his attempts at auto-facepainting no longer consisted of superheros, spiders, and dogs, but instead, dark eyeliner à la Lambert. I asked the Boy why he was so interested in Lambert so much, and he replied, “Because he’s a good singer, and I like the way he dresses.”
While it’s amusing that this is the first idol for the Boy, what’s reassuring is that he hasn’t gone overboard in his idolisation. He likes the theatricality of the singer, though he doesn’t understand yet the subtext of Lambert’s performances, looks, and social and political commentary. He enjoys busting a move to the music, even if he doesn’t understand all the lyrics. He waited patiently for months for us to remember to buy the CD, but hasn’t made a big deal about asking for all the other merchandise that’s usually associated with rock stars.
Most of all, I like that as a four-year-old, the Boy still has a lighthearted, playful approach to emulating his idol. On a recent night, when the Boy and his sister were both supposed to be sleeping, we could hear their voices drifting into our bedroom, discussing the mini-concert that they were putting on in bed:
G: Okay, which songs do you want to lip-synch to?
B: Let’s start with “Whataya Want from Me?”, and then “If I Had You” . . .
G: Do you want Mama and Papa to see our concert now?
B: No, I’m shy.
G: Okay, are you going to dress up?
B: Yes. And this is going to sound funny, but since I don’t have spiky shoulders like Adam Lambert, I’m going to use your penguins as shoulder pads.
The idea of a kid who wants to dress like an over-the-top performer, but who can still maintain his childish outlook by using plush animals as part of his rock-and-roll outfit, is very amusing. I love that my Boy has grown up just enough to get a sense of what he likes in entertainment, but has still retained a level of childlike innocence and playfulness.