The Highs and Lows of Being an 'American Idol'

When it comes to vocals, Lambert has been compared with Cook. Although Lambert said he is flattered, he maintains his sense of individuality. "I feel like we're very different artists, but I still take it as a compliment," he said.

The Tracks To 'American Idol'

Their paths to the "American Idol" try outs were nothing alike.

Adam Lambert was living in Los Angeles, yearning to stretch his talents beyond theater. "I was looking for an opportunity to promote myself as a solo artist," said Lambert. "Although I'm not in any way turning my back on my experience in the theater world, I am looking forward to performing as an extension of myself as opposed to an already written and directed character."

Cook of Blue Springs, Mo., never intended to audition at all. "I went to Omaha [Nebraska] with my Mom and little brother, Andrew, and was planning on being moral support for Andrew, who had wanted to audition for years. While standing in line for registration, I got talked into it," he said.

Cook, who has had a year to find his footing in the spotlight, said he hasn't become caught up in trappings of fame. "In one sense, everything has changed. But in truth, it's all the peripherals. You get recognized more, for sure, but I don't really feel any different."

Just ask Lambert, who said, "David is very talented, intelligent and down to earth."

Beyond embarking on another record and continuing to perform live, Cook takes a live and let live attitude toward his next steps. "The five year plan I've implemented involves being happy, making good records and playing good shows," he said. I figure whatever is supposed to happen will inevitably happen, regardless of what I do."

Today, Cook's satisfaction stems from being able to identify himself as a musician. "Any time some sort of application for something comes in front of me, and it asks what my occupation is, I can write in 'musician,' and not 'bartender' or 'painter' or 'mascot for a restaurant. '" The worst part of his new line of work? "The mascot job paid pretty well," he said jokingly.

But he is serious about his music and believes it's never too late to improve his sound. He would welcome the chance to perform with "Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen ... any of the greats. There are always things to learn," he said.

Allen, Lambert and Cook are blessed with hard core fans of their own that not only want to hear them sing but also keep up with their lives. When Cook lost his 37-year-old brother, Adam, to brain cancer in May, he received an outpouring of support from fans.

What It Takes to Succeed

Allen said he's been adjusting to the lack of privacy he has now, but the worst thing is being away from family and friends, especially his wife, Katy, he said.

In his time away, Allen has become very friendly with Lambert. Earlier this year, they roomed together on "American Idol." While on tour, they've become more familiar with each other's hidden talents. While Allen said he has maintained the "weird talent of blowing bubbles out of my mouth," he's also discovered his former rival's quintessential quirk. "It takes [Lambert] longer to do his tour makeup than the show," Allen joked.

Doing his own makeup, Lambert said, gets him in the mood to perform. "We're bringin' glam back, baby," he said excitedly.

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