I was looking forward to Adam Lambert’s performance on the American Music Awards last night because I was impressed with his ability and stage presence on “American Idol.” The show included some of the industry’s biggest stars, but they saved him for the last song of the night and really built it up as something special. Knowing that his first album has been released to such glowing reviews heightened the anticipation.
So it was a terrible disappointment to see the almost desperate gyrations that were not just awkward and vulgar but a distraction from the song he was trying to deliver. Wearing some sort of outfit that looked like a spacesuit from a cheesy 1950’s sci-fi movie, Lambert made the number into a quick trip through a manual of sex acts. According to a slightly stunned Entertainment Weekly column by a committed Idol fan, the song featured:
Adam dragging a female backup dancer across the stage by her leg, as if she were a lace-covered sack of potatoes; Adam grasping the head of a submissive-styled male backup dancer and pulling him into an uncomfortable round of simulated oral sex (while ABC muted the audio to protect us from who only knows what); a tutu-clad woman cupping Adam’s nether-regions; Adam grasping and snapping the leather “bikini area” (for lack of a better term) of a female dancer’s costume; and Adam taking a break from his singing duties for an impromptu game of tongue twister with a keyboardist of indeterminate gender.
Was Lambert trying to get Britney-kisses-Madonna headlines? Was the Idol contestant making up for lost time playing coy about his sexual orientation until after the Idol votes were in and he came in second? Is there any chance it was a genuine expression of some artistic statement by this very commercially-oriented performer?
EW says it was more likely to be the former:
But the bottom line is that Adam’s AMA performance felt less like a genuine expression of his high-octane sexuality (so playfully erotic when he fondled the mic stand during “Whole Lotta Love” this summer), and more like a carefully planned stab at dominating the post-AMA blogosphere/water-cooler discussion. I’m certainly no prude…the idea of saucy boy-on-boy/boy-on-girl/boy-on-not-quite-sure action does not rattle my cage — certainly not at 10:55 p.m. on a school night. And yet, what’s sad is that unlike, say, a J.Lo or even a Rihanna, Adam could’ve had tongues wagging just from his vocals alone. Instead, that golden voice took a backseat tonight at the AMAs, and I’m not sure exactly who was occupying the driver’s seat.
The Parents Television Council has issued a statement objecting to the performance and called on its members to express their concern to the network, Dick Clark Productions and the show’s advertisers.
“American teenagers – and especially teenaged girls – are literally under siege by the entertainment media. It is outrageous that children today cannot watch a televised awards program for an industry that is built squarely on their backs. Teens comprise a huge portion of music sales, yet this is how they are treated? It is beyond contemptible,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
ABC has already received thousands of complaints, which it described as a “moderate” response, according to the Huffington Post. Lambert “told CNN that his kiss was ‘in the moment’ and that if people were upset about it, ‘That’s a form of discrimination and it’s too bad.'”
The kiss was not the problem. And the objections are not discrimination. The star of a top-rated show that is often watched by families chose to pay less attention to staying on pitch and delivering a top-quality musical performance than to a desperate, clumsy, and crude effort to be shocking.
To send your objections to ABC, use this form. You can reach Dick Clark Productions at 2900 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.