It took American Idol Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken five years - five years of dodging reporters' questions, tabloid rumors and innuendos - to come out of the closet as a gay American man in September 2008.

Adam Lambert, 27, on the other hand, has announced in the new issue of Rolling Stone mag that he is also a gay American man - barely five minutes after he was announced as the Season 8 runner-up.

"I don't think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear I'm gay," Adam says. "I've been living in Los Angeles for eight years as a gay man. I've been at clubs drunk making out with somebody in the corner."

Adam assures the world he won't reject adoration from female fans: "I loved it this season when the girls went crazy for me," he says. "As far as I'm concerned, it's all hot." (That's hot.) And he says he's no Clay clone: "Clay Aiken's gay, and I'm gay, and we couldn't be more different."

Cole's gratitude

Natalie Cole, who last month lost her sister, Carole, and underwent a successful kidney transplant, says she is recovering nicely and thanks her fans for their support. "In the midst of sorrow I am still able to celebrate my new lease on life," she said yesterday.

LiLo + SamRo

Are Lindsay Lohan and her DJ babe, Samantha Rosen, back together?

The New York Daily News says the on-off-on-off-off-on-on-off couple were seen Monday boarding the very same airplane home to Los Angeles. Then came this tweet from LiLo: "Leaving London but with my favorite favorite!!!" [Oh boy, that last ! is making me dizzy.]

"Great news to share!! Maybe ... ;)"

Maybe? Only maybe? :-(

Ratings bummer

CBS Evening News With Katie Couric last week lost the ratings war - badly - to NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams (No. 1) and ABC's World News With Charles Gibson. As Mediabistro.com and Matt Drudge report, Couric's newscast averaged 5.18 mil viewers, the lowest for the CBS Evening News since at least the 1991/92 season (the year Nielsen began keeping track).

Hathaway in a Judy Garland suit

The Daily News also says Anne Hathaway is having a case of nerves about having to climb two mountains at once: conquer the stage on Broadway - as one of celebdom's most colorful dames, Judy Garland.

"I think I'm either naive or insane to play her - maybe a little bit of both!" says Anne about her starring role in Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland. She says she plans to consult with Garland's equally, um, eccentric daughter Liza Minnelli.

Be very afraid

Don't miss Fear Me Not, an intense psychological drama from Denmark that debuts today on IFC On Demand. Director Kristian Levring's understated creepfest stars the incomparable Ulrich Thomsen (The International, Hitman) as Michael, a well-to-do professional who signs up for a clinical trial for a new antidepressant. Soon, he feels like a new man and decides to take control of his life. Trouble is, he also tries to run the lives of his wife and teen daughter, whom he begins to terrify. The film's deliberate pacing builds to a terrifying climax. Info: www.ifc.com/schedule/ifc-on-demand.php.

Ben can't stop making bucks

If Ben Franklin isn't a celeb, who is? A 1733 copy of his Poor Richard's Almanack sold at Sotheby's auction house in New York yesterday for $556,500 - second-highest price ever for a book printed in the United States. It turned up a few months ago at the Berwick (Pa.) Historical Society.

Smiling rocks!

Asked how she makes celebs share their deepest, darkest secrets with her, celeb super-journalist Nancy O'Dell tells Dear Doctor mag (the Playboy of dental health professionals): "I love to smile. And smiles are so important to set people at ease, like when you walk into a room of people you don't know. When you genuinely smile you're able to dissolve that natural wall that exists between strangers."

Unbelievable!

Some news outlets have suggested that Heidi and Spencer Pratt have quit their classy reality show, I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com. This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.