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Adam Lambert on his racy American Music Awards performance: 'There's a huge double standard'


Ryan Seacrest was there to introduce Adam Lambert on Sunday night, but his American Music Awards performance of "For Your Entertainment" was a long way removed from the family-friendly confines of "American Idol." There was groping, dragging and bondage outfits, bringing the ABC program to an end with theatrical images of sexual slavery.

"It's about to get rough," Lambert sings in the song's opening moments, and for many of Pop & Hiss'  readers, it went too far. Within minutes of the American Music Awards coming to an end, irate viewers had begun writing in. Reader Kathie Kunish declared that the telecast should have been rated "PG-14," and user "penny" noted that she had to cover the eyes of her 10-year-old daughter.

Reader Richard Bowen agreed, posting on Pop & Hiss, "I know he wants to break out and show the world his dangerous side, but why alienate an entire population of kids to do it?"

Lambert wasn't the only former "American Idol" contestant to get risqué. Earlier in the night, Carrie Underwood strutted in a pants-less outfit, but the country star was still a long way removed from Lambert's sexually suggestive performance. With a crotch rub and a make-out session with a band member, Lambert sent tongues wagging and the Twittisphere erupting in controversy, bolting to the top of the site's trending topics.

"The energy felt good. Adrenaline is a crazy thing to feel," Lambert said to Pop & Hiss after the show. "That's what I love about performing. I'm hoping people were entertained. For those who weren't, maybe I'm not their cup of tea."

When asked if he thought the most extreme moments would be edited out of the West Coast broadcast, Lambert wasn't shy about how he would react to such a move.

"If it’s gonna be edited, then in a way that's discrimination. I don't mean to get political, but Madonna, Britney and Christina weren't edited," Lambert said. "It’s a shame. Female entertainers have been risqué for years. Honestly, there's a huge double standard."

Lambert said his goal wasn't to upset anyone with his performance: "I'm just trying to have a good time onstage. It’s a sexy song. It’s 2009, it’s time to take more risks. It’s about entertainment. People want to be surprised. It’s too bad that people are so scared."

A clip of the performance, which as of Sunday night is available on YouTube, is embedded below. Vote on the performance on Ministry of Gossip.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Additional reporting by Todd Martens

Photo: Associated Press


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Comments () | Archives (69)

My 16 yr old daughter and I love Adam and believe he has amazing talent and vocal range. I was very disgusted last night by the performance (and this type of song). This is prime time TV and he made a poor choice to slam a mans face in his groin, grab at a woman's crouch and act out a sexual matrix- type performance. He has an amazing voice and did NOT need the raw, vulgar display to show his talent. I feel bad for parents who had young kids watching this crap. Adam would do better with rock . Kiss, Ozzie, and Queen put on a SHOW (concert) and were unique in their delivery of their music but did not have to be disgusting to prove they were talented. Sad, Sad, Sad!

Watching TV at 11:00 pm on a school night is not acceptable for a 10 year old. Covering their eyes and complaining is not good enough, those parents are not doing their children any favor. Now they want the media to parent their children also? It is time to accept that allowing a 10 year old child to watch late TV on a school night is not a responsible parenting practice.

sorry Adam Addict - an Adam show comes with sexy dancers so if you don't like it now I'd suggest you don't go to any of his upcoming shows.

Love me some Adam Lambert raunchy - yes yes yes all the way

I've said it before but it would be interesting to see if the same people that found Adam Lambert's AMA performance "too racy" and in "poor taste" find shows like "The O.C." and other 'teen' shows racy and in poor taste. This man is a showman and from performances that I've watched from before his time on American Idol his AMA performance was not a shock nor was it too racy. I've seen videos of him that were taken during the American Idol tour and some of his moves and actions with the microphone stand should have clued people into how he is going to perform. Adam is raw, sexual, and very comfortable with himself - makes him that much hotter. This man is sex on a stick and I say "Good job, kudos to him, and I can't wait for more!!".

I felt really repulsed by him and his performance. He's not an artist. He wanted to be talked about today and unfortunately, he got his way. But please notice, no one is talking about your "talent".


I don't remember Britney/Madonna/Xtina simulating Oral sex on each other...

So much for your double standard.

I love Adam Lambert he is an entertainer . I believe he used the shock factor as all the others have done in the past i.e. Madonna, Brittany, Prince,etc. He is extremely gifted and posses huge talent in acting and vocals. He was there for our entertainment and he accomplished just that. So we all need to take a chill pill. If you did not expect the AMA's to have a shock value than you need to get with the times. There is also an option on your remote control called channel change or OFF.
Adam you are amazing however I do prefer your softer side.

It was to much...but what really matters is he was off key the whole time!
He blows

The same "parents" who are "outraged" by Adam's performance are probably the same parents who let their kids play violent video games, go to R rated movies, and watch MMA boxing on TV, or even NFL football, for that matter. Spare me the crocodile tears, folks.

The group that allowed this to happen doesn't just allow it, they encourage it. Let the industry drown in their cesspool. Remember, the majority of America is not LA or NY, it'll eventually implode!

This was trash TV. Shame on you ABC. I will not be tuning in on future award shows ever. It was degrading for both male and female gender all the way down to animal forms.

While it is true that there is a double standard, it is also true that Lambert's performance was sub-par: off-key, screechy, amateurish, clumsy, very badly executed, and tried way too hard too be shocking and edgy - resulting in neither. Really embarrassing and just plain bad.

Adams is talented and has a great voice just like dozens of other young performers that have spent half of their lives performning on stage. He had the break of a lifetime but after his stint on AI he starting buying into the hype that his promoters and AIs money machine are pushing. His interviews have him believing he is the next coming and each time he opens his mouth he tries to see how far he can push the envelope. His Rolling Stones article was quite tellig. He's all about shock ad awe rather then standing on pure talent.

He can cry discrimination all he wants but does he really think that he's bringing something new to the table. I see poser--Prince, David Bowie, Kiss and many others. If Mr. Lambert is so great why does he prove that being an individual is far more sexy then pushing an agenda of sex and playing dress up.

Adam, giving the finger to your audience because some of them didn't like your antics is really classy.

Not nearly as obscene as republicans doing all they can to keep millions of Americans without healthcare and education while bolstering the profits of their friends: Health Insurance Companies.

Lori Gerage:
What the hell does get with the times mean?
If lets say in 10 yrs. the envelope has been pushed further to were 2 guys are sandwiching a female and accually double penetrating her and your child is watching and you're outraged and someone like you said things like "we all need to take a chill pill" and we "need to GET WITH THE TIMES". how do think that will Go?

Well said Ann,nick,done w/hollywood BS,seriously,stacey,molly

I have a small child, but forget that, I don't want to see this kind of crap when I'm watching ABC of all freaking channels!!!! No Lady Ga-ga crotch, no Rihanna GI Jane posing, I don't want to hear about Eminems prowessness in thug life! I wouldn't have cared if Adam kissed every guy in the room, but I didn't need a lesson on oral sex thank you very much nor did I need to know that dancers crotch was good and tight!

Unfortunately, this and many other things happening today are historical signs of a society in decline. I'm not passing judgement by any means, but past societies that have risen and fallen all exhibit similarities in their respective periods of both rise and fall. Societal decadence is indeed a common denominator in all societies in a state of decline. It's not good or bad, just a simple fact known to all who have studied this aspect of world history. We must all lead and conduct our lives in such a way as to set an example. How we choose to set that example, whether it is reflective of an individual member of a society in a period of growth or decline is totally up to each of us as individuals. We all have the power to postpone the inevitable.

You want to talk about Adam Lambert gaining fans? Well here's one fan gained right here. This is obviously an intelligent, thoughtful young man who was able to articulately defend his actions-- which shouldn't even need to be defended in the first place. It's okay that Britney Spears, a complete train wreck by the way, sings about just needing to use a man every now and then and then writhes around on stage with a snake suggestively slithering all over her...yeah, there's an example of a pious, well-behaved young woman who is clearly watered down sexually. And let's be honest, that girl can't put a sentence together to save her panty-free life.

How dare anyone crucify this young man for expressing himself in a way that we have allowed, and even salivated over, in other (read: STRAIGHTER) circumstances. What a disgusting double standard, and how brave Adam Lambert is for pointing this out, and how proud we all ought to be of this LIBERATED entertainer! Shame on you all for being so pathetically closed-minded.

Time to let Ms. Spears babysit your children now!

Yawn! I was not offended, I was bored. Adam when you light yourself on fire while getting bung banged bareback, I'll watch , maybe. And find better material to sing.

Provocation should never be a replacement for real talent. Beside the raunch factor it wasn't much of a performance. Perhaps Adam has watched too many of Madonna's lame stunts over the years. He will not have the legs to endure like John Mayer and Dave Matthews. His 15 minutes are ticking away.

People are not scared Mr. Lambert, they are disgusted that your sexually perverted, dark, gloomy, immoral and indecent performance aired. Gay or straight no one should behave in such a sick, and tasteless way on national television. I am saddened that you Mr. Lambert think this is entertainment.

Adam Lambert is a wonderful singer. His performance Sunday night, however, did nothing to promote his career. His voice was lost amidst the racy sexual slavery theme and, frankly, overall it was a disappointing showing. Just sing, Adam, and save your coming out messages for other venues. It's great that you're gay and proud of it, but don't shove our noses into an unappealing dish and expect us to like it.

This is ridiculous. Everyone is freaking out over things that women entertainers have been doing for years. This is a complete DOUBLE STANDARD... Open up your eyes people... I find it incredibly offensive that people are offended by his performance... I think he did a great thing and showed that men entertainers can perform the same way our current female entertainers are performing.

It's ok for 3 girls to kiss eachother but if a guy kisses one other guy then its a huge debate? So stupid.

This performance may prompt Congress to bring back the Television Code. And the Seal of Good Practice may be brought back too.

Finally found the video to see myself. Wow, much ado about nothing. Madonna's done the same stuff. Britney's done it too. Sexism is alive and well!

I am more offended by gangster rap. 1500 calls. wow. Americans are really screwed up. I've seen so much graphic violence on TV that disturbs me and nobody calls.

Kudos to Adam. I don't like his brand of music, the screaming is not my cup of tea. But I liked this one. The kiss was awkward, but just as awkward when Madonna did it.

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