'American Idol' has been accused of both saving and destroying the music industry ever since it took over pop culture. Now, as a fresh influx of amateur singers attempt to become the next, well, Adam Lambert, last year's surprise non-winner steps up to defend the show that made him a phenomenon. Below, Lambert's thoughts on 'Idol,' pop stars and whether or not he's paid his dues (hint: He has):

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Obviously, if somebody comes from something that we all see, it allows people to get invested in that person. That's what's great about the show. You root for the person, they have a journey and they grow and they get better.

I think that's interesting, that makes the artist more three-dimensional to the audience at home. In these days, artist development is kind of a dying art, it's not something record companies really spend a lot of time doing. So in a way, what 'American Idol' does is create artist development -- but for the audience at home watching the process. I think that's great.