We have seen generations of adoring fans swoon, cry, and scream at the mere sighting of their favorite celebrity. Broadly speaking, this phenomenon is known to us an “adrenaline rush.” Many individuals experience palpitations, the sweats, or the shakes if they come within shouting distance of a star. (For those fans that can’t breathe or faint in the presence of a celebrity, they should probably seek medical attention to ward off any further dangers to their health.) Just a simple grin from our favorite star is enough to make some of us feel exceedingly elated and justifies why we exhibit such silliness at these moments. Granted, there are others that are more reserved and wouldn’t subject themselves to public or private displays of exuberance yet are still proud to be identified as a fan. Has there ever been anyone ‘guilty’ of celebrity gossip over lunch, via the water cooler, text, IM, web chats, and so on? Come on, you must admit, it’s amusing, and sometimes perks up an otherwise dull day. We wouldn’t have fan mail, magazine coverage, interviews, etc. if there weren’t interested fans. Honestly, who could call themselves a celebrity without a fan base?
If we take a quick look back in our current music history (40 years or so), we see the profound idolization of such famed musicians as: The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson. There was the infamous time of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and so many more. They influenced generations of fans with their provocative styles and skillfully established within us a wondrous and blind devotion. They took the world by storm, and created benevolent hysteria amongst the masses. Whether we admit this to ourselves or not, the memories that were created by celebrated stars have become a cherished part of our lives. These celebrities savored the admiration, and the fans simply had fun.
Today, we have a much more advanced form of electronic media, numerous social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter that we may see the rise of stars moments after appearing in front of the public. The expression, “becoming an overnight sensation” has been rendered irrelevant by technology since a climb to fame can literally be accomplished in a day. This is no way nullifies the effectiveness and power of those whom attained stardom via more ‘old fashioned’ venues. To prove the commotion that electronic media stirs, take the example of Cassidy Haley, part owner of Skingraft, a design house based in LA, a powerful and dynamic new performer and close friend to Adam Lambert, a contestant on the U.S. reality TV show American Idol, also one of this year’s hottest new celebrities. Within mere minutes of a Twitter post last week, Cassidy’s video was viewed by thousands, resulting in the number three spot of iTunes within hours. (Do you think Twitter fans can do it again? It would be fun to try). The public’s fascination with reality TV has developed in to an amazing platform for the extraordinary talents of ordinary people. These people have enormous drive and aspiration to reach for that illusive title of star, and possibly the most unattainable prize that is superstardom. For those lucky enough, this means a life altering style complete with publicity, paparazzi, and you guessed it, fans. American Idol has been the starting arena (with or without the title) to the artistic accomplishments of musicians such as: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry (one of my favorites), Clay Aiken, David Cook (another favorite of mine), and Jordin Sparks, just to name a few. In their 8th season, American Idol gave rise to an enormous amount of talent, with the most dramatic of their top 10, Adam Lambert, creating a new frenzy amongst the populace. This does not diminish the success of the other idols, including this year’s title winner Kris Allen (his new album is set for release on Nov. 17th according to Amazon). Each of the 10 finalists benefits from a solid fan base. It can be perceived at this moment though that Adam Lambert is on an express train that will propel him to superstardom. Before the release of his new record, due out November 24th, Adam made his mark on the entertainment industry and in the minds and hearts of fans worldwide. He recently teamed with a charity to raise funds for school children and has encouraged his fans to learn more about DonorsChoose.org. By raising awareness, Adam’s fans have pledged more than $95,000, maybe more (I don’t have the exact figures) Go Adam! He has single handedly reinvented the mass hysteria felt by the established stars of past times. Adam Lambert is just beginning the wildest ride of his life, and his fans are only too happy to be carried along on the road to his success.
Famous people are not impervious to the reactions of their fans, both the endearing, and the crazed. At what point does a fan’s idolatry become a full blown obsession? From time to time, there are incidents reported in the news of celebrity fans that have crossed that invisible line, and have manifested in what is now commonly referred to as celebrity stalkers. Of course we know these are extreme cases brought on by the delusions of the mentally ill. Most fans do not harbor ill intent toward entertainers regardless of their degree of popularity. After all, reasonable people are aware that stars are not much different than the rest of the population, and are subject to the same emotions we have. Celebrities enhance our lives through their art and fans display their pleasure of this by hooting, howling, screaming, and chanting with uninhibited euphoria. At the end of the day the relationship between stars and their celebrity fans, although distant and complex, and at the same time, essential and comforting, is a mutual acceptance of respect and admiration for each other.
I wish you all success!
I have thoroughly researched the subject of celebrity fans turned celebrity stalker. You may find more news regarding this anomaly at abc news.