Before becoming a front-runner in the eighth season of American Idol, Adam Lambert made his name in the theater world, where he performed alongside Val Kilmer in the debut production of Ten Commandments: The Musical and landed an understudy role in a touring production of Wicked. The California native then parlayed his theater background into a multi-month run on American Idol in 2009. Lambert's flair for neo-goth clothing and eclectic arrangements made him a critical favorite, as did his dramatic tenor vocals. Following performances of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," Tears for Fears' "Mad World," and Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," Lambert found himself pitted against Kris Allen in the grand finale, which he ultimately lost by a slim margin. Lambert was unanimously praised by the American Idol judges, however, who all but guaranteed him a successful recording career following the show's conclusion.