In 2009 Adam Lambert stands with his arms draped over the shoulders of fellow American Idol finalist Kris Allen. Next to them, host Ryan Seacrest prepares to reveal the winner of season eight of the incredibly popular show. Nearly 100 million U.S. viewers have voted to decide this season’s winner, in fact, and the tension in the studio is palpable. Then Seacrest reveals the result, announcing, “The winner of American Idol 2009 is… Kris Allen.” The crowd goes wild, and… Wait, what? Yes, that’s right: Adam Lambert didn’t actually take home the Idol crown that year. And we now know that Lambert has had to work hard for his success every day since – and that all that graft has come at a cost.
So on that day in 2009, the crowd did indeed go wild – but not for Lambert. And the soon-to-be Queen frontman had to humbly congratulate the victor and leave the stage for Allen to receive the adulation of the crowd. Yet, as is seemingly so often the case on these TV talent shows, the winner did not necessarily become a household name.