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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)

Is that what entertainment is now? Based on Shock Value? Adam Lambert was a hero to so many, incl. an old lady like me but I take a step back now. If this is his true color to present sicko simulating sex on an evening prime channel that certainly teenagers watch on their TV, computer or iphones then he has degraded himself, forgotten himself. And a big let down was the discordant screaming that took away from his stylistic voice. Was he forced into this? Was this his idea? Will we ever know? Sorry Adam, what happened ? Can we ever trust you not to display those demoralizing antics again? Have you sunk into the lewdness of Hollywood or is this the real you? Don't think you will win another stint on Oprah. But I could be wrong . . .

This is one of my issues with American Idol. They set it up so that singers are always kept to a specific style of songs, nothing too heavy, nothing too 'out-of-bounds.' Country music, Broadway, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, general pop and rock tunes... nothing 'unsafe' for family viewing. The performers can only make it their own on a small scale, certainly aren't going to do anything that would lose them votes or get scathing reviews from the judges. They are forced into a box of sanitized 'style' rather than allowed to explore music and find their own true voices. So when they're done with their season of Idol and they break out of the box and start doing their own thing, the AI audience gets all worked up like they're somehow not being authentic, when really the inauthentic performances were *on the show*. This is them finally being themselves and trying things and figuring out what type of music and performance they *really* want to do, as that is what artists DO. Madonna has gone through so many evolutions of daring and risque style and performance; Prince has, as well. Why can't Adam Lambert?

I didn't see the show, but if Adam wanted to do something sexy and provocative, and if the performance was shown at an hour of television viewing that was after most kids' bedtimes, then I see no reason why he shouldn't have the right to take chances and push the envelope. A safe performance is often a boring performance. On award shows, those who get attention and get remembered are those who throw everything out the window and just go for it. Not everyone will love it, but some will, and it will certainly be a memorable moment in his career.

I felt sorry for Lambert's dancers. It is one thing to have a rehearsed dance where you have consented to be explicit. It is another thing to have the lead singer sexually force himself on his dancers. He says everything was spontaneous. In that regard, what choice did his dancers have to consent to his sexually explicit and possibly degrading moves ? There is no way they could have freely agreed. I would not be surprised if one of them did not file charges of sexual assault. If a female dancer were involved in his unplanned "aderenaline rush" of sexually explicit groping, he would be arrested. The dancers are on national television and they need this gig. They are the perfect victims now aren't they ? Lambert is nothing more than a sexual predator.

So Adam effectively says "FU" to many of those very fans who brought him to that stage on Sunday night? Fine, back at you, Adam.

But let's be real, Adam -- which is what you say you want. Most performers these days (male and female) are backing away from the type of display you put on last Sunday. Ironicly, you are behind-the-times on that score, and many others.

Double-standard? Sadly, there are a few women who have emulated those few male performers who resort to crotch-grabbing and peep-show behavior... But that doesn't constitute a double-standard.

It does remain to be seen if there is a large audience for men-kissing-men. But you, of all people, surely agree it's the audience's perogative, right?

Am I going to buy a ticket to see you do what you did on Sunday night? Heck, no! I have no interest in spending my money on a show that's a cross between a boring, by-the-numbers peep show -- not even a bit sexy -- and Liberace.

And you are so focused on getting your un-sexy moves down, your focal performance is pathetic.

Wrote this yesterday, but type-pad key didn't work. Adam out ga-ga'd Ga Ga. Lady G's slightly watered down (except for the burning piano and a couple of other details), but still very strong performance of "Bad Romance" to START the AMA's was washed away by AL's cross-gender BDSM extravaganza at the end of the show. ABC obviously had no problem with the Lambert production number, since every time they went to commercial, there was a reminder to "stay tuned for Adam Lambert's sensational performance". I agree with the "Ministry of Gossip" that it's good to shake up these often very boring awards shows, especially for the music industry, which has gotten a little too safe lately (read - Taylor and Miley). Maybe some parents suddenly found their kids asking what there favorite AI singer was doing up there, but I doubt it. Most kids already are more savvy than their parents thanks to the Internet. BTW, Lady GaGa's "Bad Romance" video is terrific, but it loses a lot when it gets moved to a live performance due to technical issues and editing, but the burning piano effect was sensational! GaGa probably straddled the piano bench more for a quick escape route rather than a sexy TV shot. Talk about HOT! She would have caused most of the talk if is wasn't for Adam. Who knew he was into kink? The AMA viewers, however, seem to lean toward Country, since there is no other way Lady GaGa wouldn't get the "break-through artist" award which went to a country group that I think I have heard all of once. The AMA's could be scrapped in future as meaningless - or maybe the awards could be categorized like the Grammy's. Meanwhile, Lady GaGa should get some kind of award, if for nothing else, the guts and talent to pursue her offbeat persona until it has clearly become a mainstream phenomena.

Adam has gone too far. The performance was sleazy, cheap porn. His singing was sub-par and the song itself is a reeker. Just because the slutty pop princesses perform this way is no excuse for a major talent like Adam to stoop this low. You only have to perform that way when you're a talentless twit.

As much as I love Adam, I really don't want to see him kissing another man, shoving people's faces in his crotch, simulating a big dick with a cane, or singing about hurting people. It's just not necessary. Also, the over-produced synth music he's doing now is just horrendous. This is a rock god. That's his genre, not puke pop. What happened to Adam?

Up until his recently, Adam appeared to be a clean cut, humble, congenial, super-talented, nice Jewish boy. But now, he's acting like a desperate no-talent with an out-of-control ego. Adam's even quoted as saying that he can "sing his face off." Well, that's fine if someone else says it, but saying it about yourself? Yech!

Unfortunately, I won't be purchasing this new album filled with drek.

I too really enjoyed Adam Lambert on American Idol and could not wait to see how he spread his wings and made his mark on the entertainment industry. I am disappointed. In an effort to make a statement I believe he went too far. At least for a prime time network show. I guess it all depends on the audience he wants to target and the image he wants to present but come on, really, is this appropriate for young people and mainstream audiences. There is a place for this type of entertainment but this was not the venue. Poor choice by Adam and by ABC.

I thought that Adam's performance was over the top. Now that being said, I was a fan of his on American Idol. I loved how he could take any song and do it well and yet add who he is to the song. As to others having done the same moves, it wasn't early in their career. They had the majority of the population all ready appreciating their talent. I felt that Madonna and others have gone too far too at times but for Adam to do it so early in his career may have been a mistake. It was also reported that the kiss with the musican was not planned but that Adam just got caught up in the moment. I also heard that the other man was straight. Now if that would happen in a work place, that would have been sexual harrassment. Adam needs to keep to the script or plan ahead or ask where the comfort zone is for others on stage. That was not a smart move. He may not feel that he needs to apologize to anyone but this is not about him. He is an entertainer who needs to keep his audience in mind. That means where and when to add his flavor to the mix. The other night was not it. Sorry Adam, I was disappointed in your choices. You will need to "ride" this one out and see how your career fares.

no double standard at all. He has now joined the bottom feeders on the bottom of barrel. He is now a joke, not a serious singer. He lives for the award show, not for the musical ability he claims to have. He is a pawn of the tabloids and lives for his name in scandal rags, not on the marqui of fame, but of infamy. spears and madonnut are not a standard to adher to. rhianna and the other shock dweebs are pandering to the likes of TMZ.com and no one else. they ALL lost my respect ... is Whitney going to be joining them as soon as she is totally back in health and off the drugs and sauce? Probably.

america is so close minded get over if staiat can do it y cant the gays get used to gays are the new rich pepole know days and we are taking over and by the way abc and nbc is mostly ran by them

im sure your kids see worse things at home get over it

If i wanted to watch porn, I would have rented a movie and played it after hours when the kids were asleep
Sorry Adam, you have a good voice, and you are not bad looking, and you seem like you are not an axe murderer,
But I am going to have to BLOCK you !!
Matter of fact I am thinking of blocking all music award shows as well as ABC-TV
You can think I am a prude, but that is so far from the truth. However there is a line you have crossed tonight.
And my family and I will be staying on the other side of it.
Wish you well though ~

There he goes again, "discrimination", "females" trying to shove sexuality into the discussion when it is about music. What awards does he have compared to Britney, Christina, Madonna - ZERO. Why is he trying to bring them into conversation --lets hope your 15minutes are not over, because many people saw you with talent. So sad....

This is so wrong on so many levels. I dont care if anyone is gay, i just ask dont impose it on me. Now if you want to act gay in front of me, im upset....do it in front of my children? be advised, you have taken it to a whole different (wrong) level.
FCC Are you still around? I dont care if its late night tv, NO WAY. NOT EVEN CLOSE. NOT FOR A SECOND.

Be gay, i dont care. Be super ultra gay! be the biggest biggy gayest gay in the world. Just keep it AWAY FROM ME. You DO NOT have to IMPOSE it upon other people, it is beyond offensive.

Moderator please post everyones post please? This performace was nothing short of sick.

FCC where are you? Im not kidding. On TV where kids can see? Nobody cares that your gay, adam. Thats fine....but when you force that stuff on other viewers...children...

It does not matter what anyone says, its NOT OK.

Wrong on every level.

Get a grip FOLKS...... its 'Shock Rock'

I am old enough to remember ELVIS"S hips being blacked out on TV, old enough to remember OZZIE biting the head off an bird (or bat) on live stage. I recall the Rolling Stones have an album called "Sticky Fingers", with the cover having a close-up picture of a man's crotch with a HO. I think that was the late 70's, and that album cover got banned !!

Madonna singing in a bed on stage, Like a Virgin...
Bare buttocks for Prince's outfit....
Woodstock....Drugs, Sex, and Rock and Roll
Britteny, Madonna kiss....
..or what about Howard Stein - the Shock Jock ??
....Miley Cryus working the Pole on the Teen Awards..
...and Brooke Hogan (Hulks daughter) doing the pole on stage, broadcasted on their TV (daytime) show..
CHER with fish net stocking, garters belts, showing her cheeks off on a Navy Ship...everyone remembers that.
Two women kissing on stage, or women ads for perfume being seductive in a magizene like COSMO

If it is a women doing sexist things - it is OK, but soon as it is a man doing something (Elvis, Rolling Stones, or Adam...) it is BAD

Get a GRIP FOLKS......

at says: "america is so close minded get over if staiat can do it y cant the gays get used to gays are the new rich pepole know days and we are taking over and by the way abc and nbc is mostly ran by them".

Posted by: at | November 24, 2009 at 04:53 PM

First of all at needs to proof read for type-o's or learn to spell, its embarrassing.

Gays are the new rich? they're taking over? ABC and NBC is mostly run by them? where's the equality that they fight so hard for, for this? to steam roll over the people?

If I were to say ABC is Disney owned which needs to stay family oriented which means Fathers, Mothers and children and needs to get back to American family values and not inappropriate gay behavior I'd be considered a right-winged Christian nut, bigot, "spewing hate" and a homophobe, but the heterophobia that I've seen, heard and now read is apauling. Can you imagine if Miss California were Gay who opposed prop 8 and a staight judge called her a B..ch amoung other things? groups like g.l.a.d would've wanted his head, however, Perez Hilton can say the nastiest things to the straight girl with impunity, whose holding him accountable? no one. Look, lets have equality for all, practice what you preach, show some respect to straights just like gays want consideration. And this "change the channel if you like it" line as others put it,please, I'm sure ABC would't want about 70% of America changing the channel, the last time I saw, the Nielsen ratings are based on who tunes in, not who changes the channel.

Enough already!!! For crying out loud, can someone please talk to Adam about VENUE??? The Early Show tried to touch on this but Adam seemed oblivious. Shame on his PR people, and even his family, for not stepping in with some guidance. I'm a lesbian and I adore this man, yet I felt offended and disrespected. This was not the time or place for the FYE performance. Like Adam said on Ellen, it was a second chance to make a first impression. It was a sweet opportunity and he blew it. I was embarrassed and disappointed. We (his major fans) were expecting a class act and astounding vocals; a showcasing of his unparalleled talent. I do not blame ABC one bit, nor do I think they are discriminatory. This was not an issue of "double standards" and I resent the insinuation. Oh please . . . ABC is one of the most liberal networks out there. They took a huge leap of faith with Adam on the AMA's. He had a primo spot and the world was watching. Now he has an amazing CD out there, truly stunning, and I'm not hearing any of it on public radio. I wonder why not? People, get over yourselves and see this for what it really was: Poor taste. He'll survive it because he's amazingly talented. Let's move on, shall we?

Look. The fact that people are over-reacting about this performance is rediculous. He is EXTREMELY theatrical and he decided to go all out on this performance. And the women who covered their ten year old daughter's eyes, that's rediculous. Do you not realize that they too will one day be grinding and what not? Seriously.

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