American Idol fans may know him as the guy who (just barely) lost to Kris Allen in the talent contest's eighth season, but Adam Lambert already had a solid performing career behind him by the time he auditioned for Idol. And no one should be surprised to learn that the dramatic tenor's earlier career was almost entirely in musical theatre. A stage actor since childhood, Lambert starred alongside Val Kilmer in The Ten Commandments: The Musical and got an understudy gig in the Wicked touring company. At his coworkers' prompting, he auditioned for Idol in San Francisco and quickly began winning the judges' praise for his strong and often dramatic renditions of tunes like Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." His defeat by the clean-cut Allen for the top slot was bitterly disappointing to some judges and fans, but not so surprising to others, who recognized that Adam "Glambert's" glammy, goth-esque and often flamboyant style is not exactly in line with today's pop charts. But his devoted fan base suggests that his 2009 debut album will be a huge success.