I should preface this by stating that I never, ever watch the American Music Awards because I think they’re a joke. Basically, it’s an opportunity for pop artists to pat themselves on the back for selling the most product. It’s the one awards show where Nickelback has an actual chance of winning, and Janet Jackson suddenly seems relevant. But I did tape the show for one reason only: to watch the performance by Adam Lambert, which Kaiser covered briefly. I was mightily disappointed, because the song was rather crappy, and although Adam was one of the few artists who actually sang live, he didn’t sound good at all. Not as bad as Rihanna, but definitely not up to his usual standards. Little did I know that Adam’s racy performance was about to set off a firestorm.
He’s not on “Idol” anymore!
Adam Lambert, last season’s runner up, performed a raunchy performance at the American Music Awards Sunday night, interrupted by a quick tumble on stage.
Lambert alternately had a dancer on a leash, had a dancer’s head grinding against his crotch simulating oral sex, and had a hand on his own crotch. He also made out with a male band member and flipped his middle finger.
And it was on ABC prime time.
So, was Adam trying too hard to stir up controversy in order to get people talking about him? It’s certainly not a bad strategy with his album’s release date coming up. Look at Lady Gaga’s performance on the same show: she was in a glass box in a nude body stocking, smashing glass bottles on a flame-engulfed piano. People aren’t going to remember the song she performed but they sure as hell will remember her get-up. But I suppose simulating being naked is less offensive than simulating gay sex, at least on ABC prime time.
For his first televised performance since the Season Eight finale of American Idol, Adam Lambert aimed for the kind of controversy Britney Spears and Madonna are known for generating, completely stunning the audience at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre and the millions watching the American Music Awards live on ABC with a risqué rendition of “For Your Entertainment.” Rolling Stone didn’t label Lambert the Wild Idol for nothing, and Glambert definitely delivered on his promise of a “sexy” performance as he closed the live show with simulated oral sex from a male backup dancer, a brief make-out session with his male keyboardist and a giant mirrored prop so the audience could see the looks on their own shocked faces. Rolling Stone has learned that producers weren’t informed about the guy-on-guy kiss in advance, and after the show, Lambert told RS the musician he kissed is a straight man.
Lambert also told RS that if ABC decides to cut any parts of his performance for the West Coast rebroadcast, it would amount to “discrimination.” Read the full story here.
The ‘09 American Music Awards featured performances from blockbuster stars like Whitney Houston, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, Green Day, Eminem and Rihanna, but newcomer Lambert was selected to close out the show, and his performance was advertised as “eye-popping” and something you’d be talking about tomorrow.
With an army of dancers clad in gear that looked like it was inspired by the Haus of Gaga, Lambert strutted across the Nokia Theatre stage, dragging some of his dancers outfitted in S&M gear by harnesses and stopping to caress the legs of others — both men and women. As his band turned out the techno-crunch of his debut single from For Your Entertainment (out tomorrow), Lambert bounced around the stage in black leather, hitting his signature high notes. During the bridge, he sat on a chair below a female stripper on a pole, then made his way back across the stage, singing, “Do you like what you see? Let me entertain you until you scream” as the lyrics to his song (”Can you handle what I’m about to do?”) came off like a direct challenge to the audience.
Awards show stages have been the site of some of the most memorable — and controversial — performances in recent years. Britney Spears and Madonna stole headlines for their lip-lock at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, which was also where Madonna turned heads for humping the floor during her rendition of “Like a Virgin.”
If I could give Adam some advice, here’s what it would be: we already have one Lady Gaga. You’re better than that. This could have been an opportunity for Lambert to prove, once and for all, that he’s a true talent regardless of who he sleeps with, but instead, he chose to emphasize theatrics and sex over his vocal prowess. To me, the performance was a fail, but since so many people are talking about it today, perhaps it’s more of a mission accomplished.
Photo credit: WENN.com