The Highs and Lows of Being an 'American Idol'

In the music business, the road to success is typically long and grueling. Not so for Kris Allen, David Cook and Adam Lambert, who have been catapulted to instant fame by their performances in the hit TV show "American Idol."

It is a coveted stepping stone, and this diverse group of "Idols" is making the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As they all grapple with the scrutiny, the rapport that the three have established with their various fan bases who have dialed and texted them into stardom continues to fuel their success.

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Watch David Cook, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen perform live this Friday, from New York City's Central Park on "Good Morning America's," Summer Concert Series.

Allen, 24, and Lambert, 27, along with the eight other finalists of the last season are part of the 50-city "American Idol Summer 2009 Tour," which ends in mid-September. Cook, who was crowned "American Idol" in 2008, will join the two this Friday for a performance in New York's Central Park as part of "Good Morning America's" Summer Concert Series.

Cook, 26, took to the road earlier this year to promote the self-titled album he released in 2008, and co-wrote nine of the album's songs. In May, Allen, who hails from Conway, Ark., was the fans' No. 1 choice, edging out Adam Lambert, who had previously performed in "Wicked" and "The Ten Commandments: The Musical."

The latest "Idol" winner taught himself to play guitar at 13 and had encouragement from his father, who was a musician. It only took writing one song for the nascent talent to know he was hooked on music, he said. "It wasn't that good but I felt like it was the one thing that I could do forever."

Now, making music full-time is a thrill. But he's not stopping there, as he uses the "American Idol" tour to propel himself further as a musician. Allen recently dropped from the tour his signature track, "No Boundaries," which won him the "Idol" title in favor of a cover of a song by the Killers, "All These Things That I've Done."

"The tour director came up to me and asked if would be willing to change it, so we put in a song that has a little more energy and I really feel like the crowd has responded well," Allen explained. He is slated to release his first album this fall.

His former rival, Lambert, is also very much in his element on stage. "I like getting an emotional reaction out of people. There is an energy exchange that takes place between artist and audience that gives me a huge rush," Lambert exclaimed.

Lambert keeps focused on the positive aspects of entertainment fame, hoping that it will provide him with financial security, he said.

But the dark side does rear its ugly head sometimes. "A drawback is that the negative opinions people have toward the famous, successful, and alternative is now aimed at me," he said.

Photos of Lambert making out with another man came to light during the "American Idol" season. Lambert, who never denied being gay, came out officially on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine shortly after the show wrapped up. Foremost, he wanted to quell the speculation surrounding his sexuality, he said. "Rolling Stone is one of my favorite music publications and I felt like it was a more credible way of sharing more about my personal life."

Even after his attempt to tamp down the gossip, he said, "I have to deal with more ignorance than I did before."

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