Adam Lambert auditioned for the eighth season of American Idol in San Francisco, California. "During his initial audition, he sang "Rock With You" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." Lambert had cited several musical influences, including Madonna, Queen, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin. In the semifinals, Lambert was voted into the Top 13, joining fellow Group 2 performers Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen. Lambert and Allen became roommates in the Idol mansion, with Allen stating it was due to their neatness.
In May 2009 Billboard magazine confirmed his solo album was expected to be released in November 2009. Lambert stated that he would love to work with Slash, stating "When I was working with Slash I felt at home." He also stated that his solo album would be eclectic, having a variety of sounds. Rock group Queen, with whom Lambert performed on the season finale, were at one point said to be considering asking Lambert to be their new frontman. However, with the release and success of Lambert's debut solo album For Your Entertainment, it is unlikely he would accept such an offer. Lambert was a guest on Larry King Live (guest-hosted by Ryan Seacrest) along with Kris Allen, judge Paula Abdul, and the rest of the top ten finalists. In that appearance he stated that he planned to create a multi genre album, calling it a "rock-pop-electronic-dance thing". Lambert stuck to those intentions; the album he subsequently released conformed highly to his description of the album he planned to make. Adam worked with producers Greg Wells, Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, Sam Sparro, RedOne Dr. Luke, and Linda Perry, among others, in the run up to the release of his debut album, "For Your Entertainment". Aimee Mayo stated on Twitter that she wrote at least two songs for Lambert, one co-written with Ryan Tedder and Chris Lindsey and, another with Ferras, the latter of which was not included for selection. Lady Gaga also reportedly wrote a song that they spent some time recording. On October 28, 2009, Lambert announced via Twitter that his lead single from his debut album would be "For Your Entertainment", a song that was produced by Dr. Luke. Lambert was recruited to record the sound-track "Time for Miracles" for the disaster movie 2012 that was released on October 20, 2009 as a side project single. The song was lauded ahead of its release by Queen's guitarist, Brian May, who described himself as being "completely blown away" upon hearing the track. The track "Time for Miracles" also appears on "For Your Entertainment". Lambert released his debut album, For Your Entertainment, in November 2009, via RCA Records/19 Recordings. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 in December 2009 selling 198,000 copies in the United States in the first week.
Lambert later issued a statement through 19 Entertainment stating, "Back in 2005 when I was a struggling artist, I was hired as a studio singer to lend my vocals to tracks written by someone else. I was broke at the time and this was my chance to make a few bucks, so I jumped at the opportunity to record for my first time in a professional studio. The work I did back then in no way reflects the music I am currently in the studio the studio working on." On November 17, Adam's album was released with a new name: "Take One." Since Idol, Lambert has so far won two awards: the Young Hollywood Award for Artist of the Year and the Teen Choice Award for Reality/Variety Star. Lambert participated in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2009 with his fellow Top 10 contestants; the tour visited 50 cities in the United States and Canada from July 5 to September 15, 2009. In November, Lambert performed "For Your Entertainment" at the American Music Awards of 2009. On February 27th, 2010 Adam performed his first official solo concert, held at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, CA to a sellout crowd of 3,500 fans from around the world, including Thailand, Australia, Canada and Mexico.