Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Wild child Adam Lambert sheds his family friendly “Idol” glow

November 24, 2009

adam-lambert“American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert built a broad base of support during his run on the show this year. After all, “Idol” got to be the top-rated program on U.S. television by appealing to moms, dads, teens, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs and everyone in between.

So when he took the stage on Sunday night at the American Music Awards and simulated oral sex with a back-up dancer, kissed a male keybordist on the mouth and gestured to the audience with his middle finger, he was bound to lose some of that broad “Idol” audience. Lambert all but said as much when he told Rolling Stone magazine that if his performance “offends (people), then maybe I’m not for them.”

But was it right for Lambert to put on such a sexually charged performance at the AMAs on network television, shortly before 11 p.m. on the East and West Coast and before 10 p.m. Central Time, when some teens and younger viewers might still have been watching the show? Does Lambert bear a special responsibility to reign in his sexual provocation, since he presumably has many young fans from his “Idol” days?

ABC on Tuesday canceled Lambert’s scheduled appearance on its “Good Morning America” as a result of his performance at the AMAs, after it received more than 1,500 complaints about his stage antics, but the singer has other TV appearances lined up.

Of course, the fact that Lambert is openly gay plays a significant role in the controversy. Last week, Aaron Hicklin, the editor-in-chief of gay magazine “Out” posted an open letter to Lambert after the singer posed for a cover shot. In the letter, Hicklin said that Lambert’s record label and management insisted that the magazine “must avoid making (Lambert) look ‘too gay’” and that they insisted he only appear on the cover in a group shot, not by himself.

Hicklin also criticized Lambert’s appearance in the magazine Details, in which he was photographed cupping the breast of a statuesque, nude female model. Hicklin suggested it would have been more radical to pose with a guy.

Lambert responded to Hicklin’s criticism by telling Entertainment Weekly magazine that Hicklin “has his agenda and has his opinions, which I respect, but they’re not necessarily my opinions” and that the editor “really crossed a line” with his criticism.

lambertamaWas Lambert’s AMA performance a bid to reclaim some street cred by putting his sexuality front and center?  Lambert defended it by telling Rolling Stone “there’s a double standard” in the entertainment world. “Female performers have been doing this for years — pushing the envelope about sexuality — and the minute a man does it, everyone freaks out,” he told the magazine.

Either way, the “Idol” singer has put the lie to one early criticism of his performance style. When Lambert lost to Kris Allen in the “Idol” finale in May, New York Times critic Jon Caramanica wrote that Lambert, a former musical theater performer, showed himself to be just “an old-fashioned song-and-dance man” and that “if he was hiding something, it wasn’t his sexual preference, it was his conservatism.”

No one is saying that about Lambert now. But did he go too far?


The fact that he is gay and is in entertainment is neither here nor there. He is so talented and I love his voice! I was so excited to see his performance but so disappointed! We all squirmed watching his performance since one of my young children were present, but the song was not good and the whole thing was a freak show. Why couldn’t he do his 2010 song to promote the movie since it just came out? He said he wanted to be a positive role model, but I didn’t see that here. What a waste of talent..I will not be buying his CD now. And its not because he is gay because that didn’t matter to me. But the obvious perversion and his non caring attitude about it is sad.

Posted by Kathy | Report as abusive

I am sorry, 2012 song!

Posted by Kath | Report as abusive

Adam Lambert did go too far to exhibit his sexuality and sexual orientation to the public where small kids that may adore him had seen the pervert act.Adam Lambert is loved in the American Idol where he showcase his talents and his persona. There was no questions about his sexual orientation. But the minute Adam Lambert exhibit inappropriate behavior in public, then the people has something to think about. Do we want Adam Lambert out there creating too much controversy about being gay.

Posted by Elizabeth | Report as abusive

Ok america what happened to what our veterans fought for…lets see what was it called? OH YEAH! F-R-E-E-D-O-M!!! Since when is it alright for sex scenes to be on soap operas, desperate housewives, and sex in the city but it not right for him to do anything “suggestive” There is such a double standard in this country that frankly i find it disgusting! I’m a married wife and mother of two kids and i hate to have to explain to my kids that this is what America is like now!! That the freedoms their grandfather fought for were just a waste of time! Americans grow up and get over yourselves! Its ok for women to kiss on TV but not men?? How is that fair? Thats right, It’s NOT!! Everyone in the country should be created equally and have the same freedoms, the only being that should be judging is God, not all of you! He who is without sin, cast the first stone!


Adam made one overwhelming mistake and it’s costing him needed exposure right now. He jumped the gun with his AMA performance as he is not a fully accomplished performer. He’s just beginning his career and while impact is important it’s not everything.He has the skills and appeal but not the chops. A year from now with TV exposure up the wazoo it won’t matter as much. People will say oh that’s Adam, but for now with some website surveys reaching 87% negative on his AMA stint, twas not such a good idea to go for the gusto so soon.Take it easy Adam, you’re still a kid with years to go ahead of you and a super voice and look to back them up.


I enjoyed ADAM’s performance alot. They weren’t naked so what’s the problem. The singing was excellent.At least he was dressed which is more you can say about some of the other artists,who’s singing was also excellent. Let’s get with the times!

Posted by judy haywood | Report as abusive

It amazes me that many have complained about Adam’s performance, but they said nothing when Eminem & 50 Cent sang about murder, guns, etc. and Janet Jackson squeezed someone’s crotch early on in the show! What hypocrits! Madonna and Britney have pushed the envelope way over the edge for years and no one ever complained about that! Adam is immensely talented and has a lot in store for us. I would hate to think we would miss all that just because people want to mute him due to their prudishness. My 12 year old son saw it and it didn’t faze him in the lease (kids these days know more than you think!) but he was more concerned about Adam falling and recovering! Everyone is making too much of a hoopla and punishing Adam, when they should be applauding him for being groundbreaking. Ed Sullivan didn’t show Elvis’ hip shaking way back when, because everyone thought it was terribly lude. Are we still so arcane??

Posted by Adam Addict | Report as abusive

I love Adam but he looked possessed during his act. The music & singing didn’t sound good either and I love that song. I wasn’t impressed.

Posted by Andrea | Report as abusive

So sad! I have been an adam fan since he auditioned for idol and was eagerly awaiting his new CD. BAD choice on the AMA’s … waaaaayy to nasty for the target audience.It would be OK in the club scene or on tour but what a mistake. I’m afraid he’s lost my vote.

Posted by S. Gregory | Report as abusive

Kudos to CBS and the Early Show for picking up Adam Lambert after ABC canceled his appearance on Good Morning America. Hopefully, Barbara Walters won’t be forced by ABC to drop Mr. Lambert from her Ten Most Fascinating People TV special which she mentioned on The View yesterday.

Posted by Smarty | Report as abusive

He went way too far. He did a disservice to the gay community and to his fans. He lost this one.

Posted by Jude | Report as abusive

Every one knew he was gay. Get over it. What did you think would happen. He sure wasn’t going to make out with a girl, now was he.

Posted by marie | Report as abusive

I don’t think eh did anything wrong. It is these uptight conservatives that fear change that have a problem with it. And truth be told too, he’s right when he says when a woman does it nobody seems to have a huge problem with it. Double standards of the highly paranoid medium known as broadcasting.I never for once doubted his loss on idol was due to the majority of the American audience watching it to be of heavily religious values and very “play it safe”. Kris is not a bad singer, but you can’t disagree when I say he falls into the general public’s view of a “normal” person. The day the music industry is filled with “normal” people is the day it dies.Rock on Adam Lambert!

Posted by Akarn | Report as abusive

Adam’s performance was definitely the most sexually charged performance of the night, but most of the performances including Black Eyed Peas, J. Lopez, Shakira, even Carrie Underwoods were to some extent. Adam is indredibly talented, does not need this type of performance for those that will be attracted to his type of artistry to know that, but is pushing the envelope, and is not afraid to do that. As for children watching, I would not have let my grandchildren watch 90% of the performances on the AMA show, that’s what adults are supposed to do, control what their children watch, assuring that it is not beyond what they should take in. Whether he went too far or not will be measured by how it effects his career, long or short term, and his cd sales. As for me, I still love him as a artist, have purchased his cd which I also love, and will keep tuning into what he is doing.

Posted by Deb | Report as abusive

The AMA producers watched Adam Lambert’s rehearsals in perosn and on tape (videos and pictures were all over the internet days before the show) and still they gave Adam Lambert green light to do it.They knew EXACTLY what they were going to get. All of it!And now that they fear the good Christian Bible-thumping hicks might start a holy war they cruzify Adam Lambert to save face.Did any show cancel on Madonna, Britney or Christina Aguilera after their make-out session on stage of an award show?Nah, three women going at it on stage is “edgy” and “hot”.Did anyone complain about Eminem singing about raping women? Any outrage about Rhianna and Shakira grating their barely-clothed cooches into the cammeras?Nah, that’s just entertainment for you.But two guys kissing? Oh, the shock! The horror!Double standard, anyone?Welcome to the Middle Ages.

Posted by NJ | Report as abusive

I was terribly disappointed in Adam’s AMA performance. I could not even wring out “good singing” from what I saw and heard. It was frenetic and overproduced. He doesn’t need all that hype to sell records. He’s got the best instrument in the world and tons of charisma. I thought he was an entertainer and not a poster boy for social agendas. Just because Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timerlake, Miley Cyrus, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson choose to perform tasteless stage acts doesn’t clear the path. “But Mom, everyone else is doing it!” I thought he made sound arguments and common sense statements over the last few months since his American Idol experience, but I guess he’s still just a kid making mistakes. I preordered his album and like most of the songs. I so was looking forward to his tour, but I’m afraid it’ll be too out there for me. I’ll watch The Early Show and David Letterman closely – that’ll pretty much tell it all for me.

Posted by Virginia | Report as abusive

How desperate for attention Adam must be to perform in such a decadent manner on the AMA’s….it was entirely unnecessary as he had previously gained huge support from a large base of non-gay fans.Sadly..these same people, who have never had any exposure to the kind of gay life Adam enjoys are, are now completely turned off.You coulda been a champion, Adam. You blew it!

Posted by belle | Report as abusive

Kuddos to Adam for being his own person! I would much rather have him be himself and if that is not for everyone then so be it than to sell out because of what others believe should be the “norm”. He is an artist and believe me we have all seen much worse than his performance on Sunday in terms of sexual content. Go Adam!

Posted by Tiffiny Pandazedes | Report as abusive

I agree with the editor at who wrote that he has hurt everything that gay America has been working towards.Enough of using gay America as an excuse to perform public sex acts to get attention and follow a selfish agenda.Gays have families and those include teens. The real gay America, families that work, pay bills, and worry about their kids being over exposed to sex, are just as upset over his behavior as the rest of the parents are whose kids were watching the show.

Posted by Vanessa | Report as abusive

I only watched AI because I was so thrilled with Adam Lambert. I am from Utah, and I know that his fans here loved him for his music and creativity and weren’t really concerned with his sexual preferences. I couldn’t wait to see him perform on the AMA’s.I think that his performance on there possibly showed his true colors which appear to me to be that he couldn’t care less about the more conservative fans who loved him for his music and were looking forward to an amazing performance. I personally feel that if he is as intelligent as I thought he was that he would have established his career first and put his soap box away until later. I think he will lose a huge amount of sales of his cd over this, but maybe I’m wrong. To each his own-I just feel like he didn’t make the smartest decision.

Posted by Judy | Report as abusive

I love Adam Lambert and was so excited to seem him perform at the Idol concert. I voted for him for four solid hours on the night of the American Idol final. I see him as a tremendous talent that oozes charm and charisma. However, I am very upset by his performance at the AMA. It was tasteless and vulgar and not sensitive to young family members who were watching the show. The S $ M theme – whether it was symbolic of something or not – was wrong as it promotes violence and sex. I am a social worker who has a history of advocating for gay and lesbian rights and I think that the controversy has nothing to do with the fact that Adam had sexually charged actions with other men – if it was a woman at his crotch it would have been as vulgar. I really hope that the display at AMA was one initial attempt at shock and now that he has everyone’s attention that he allows his talent to show case him rather than raunchy sensationalism.

Posted by Suzanne Seeman | Report as abusive

I dont feel that Adam Lambert’s sexuality is the issue at all. Who really cares that he’s gay besides him? However, when he references that women have been doing this for years, he fails to recognize that most people dont want to watch women do that either.I was not offended by anything “gay” in his performance, I was offended by what appeared to be blatant sexual violence. Man or woman, I dont think that is something we should promote. I think there were too many sex charged performances in the prime time non-cable channel AMAs altogether. If I had young children I would not have been happy with the outfits/dancing that went on…but I think Adam Lambert took it too far. There is a stage for those kinds of antics & your first performance post Idol is just not the venue.

Posted by JKate | Report as abusive

Hey I am 52 years old and my wife is 55 ..we go to church and we help others…..Entertainment is another thing…and I applaud Adam for being himself…He is the most talented singer I have heard since the beattles..Give this young man a break and he will someday sing you to sleep with a smile on your face….We Love you Adam.

Posted by fred hanna | Report as abusive

Adam used his ‘coming out’ as a career move. It got him the cover of Rolling Stone. Exactly what did you expect? Both whiny conservatives and hypocritical liberals have become tiresome bores.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Personally, I never really cared for Adam and his screeching, but I can appreciate his musical talents. I was not offended by his performance, but was definitely surprised! I can’t imagine his music label being too happy about it. I really think he ruined his career. Think about it…how many thousands of fans that liked him on Idol will now not go buy his album. I can’t imagine many people that didn’t already like him will now go buy the album because of the performance. He definitely hurt his album sales.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

They should have at least gave a warning gay or not. They should have gave parents with children a warning. That turned me of from him for good. I will not buy his music. He lost a few fans with that. I am also upset that the network would let that go. Gay or not gay someone acting like they are get a blow job on live tv is wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by Kim | Report as abusive

I think Adam is so talented and don’t think it is necessary for all the sexual antics. Who cares what everyone else is doing show us your talent. I don’t care if you are gay, in fact many of my gay friends found what you did was harmful to thier image. Let’s hear the music and leave the antics to the less talented that need to use them to distract from thier music.I was disapointed by your performance and now am not sure I would go to one of your shows.

Posted by Kacy | Report as abusive

Both my wife and I were huge supporters of Adams when he was on American Idol. We have been looking forward to him releasing his first CD. After his AMA performance neither of us will spend a dime for his music.I couldn’t believe what I saw.They say it was censored out west but here in Alberta Canada we saw the whole thing.So did our kids who were watching.My young daughter had to go to bed an hour before it ended so we recorded it for her on the DVR.Needless to say I have deleted that recording before she can see it.All I can say to you bleeding hearts who are saying that it is hypocritical to be in awe about his performance is that you don’t have a clue what hypocracy is.What he did at that time slot was inexcusable and I hope that his CD sales suffer because of it.What an ass to take another guys face and grind it into his crotch like that.It wouldn’t have mattered if it had been a girl it was just too much! As far as kissing his keyboardist that was neither here nor there.It was tame compared to the rest of his antics.I’m sure Adam that you have disappointed many of your fans with that act.I’m also sure that you gained just as many.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

Who did you think he would kiss? A girl? He’s a gay man. An openly out gay man. What’s the big deal if he kissed a man. Brittney Spears kissed Madonna on TV and they are both straight. No one said anything then! Why? Because two girls together is every straight man’s fantasy? It wasn’t a big deal then so it shouldn’t be a big deal now. I’ll continue to love Adam Lambert and support him and his music.

Posted by D | Report as abusive

Unfortunate that it’s not about his music now and he is talented, why make it about sex.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive

I am really torn. I think that Adam is amazing. My problem with the whole AMA thing is that he can sing better than that. He can perform better than that. This is why I was so upset. He just looked frantic on stage and the audio was terrible. The song is really quite good but I don’t think as many people will listen to it now. Show biz is all about timing and this was not the time to give a weak performance. If you want to stretch peoples realities you have to really put on a quality show…it did not happen. I will continue to support Adam. He does have amazing talent and his live shows this past summer were fantastic. I know that Adam will continue to surprise us and he will be always stretching our reality…stay tuned.

Posted by Ma Berry | Report as abusive

He is so talented, he does not need use shock value in his performance. I was disappointed in his choice of song – it was boring. His voice is great. I hope he chooses better materials, or writes better songs in the future. Let his talent get him the attention he deserves, not sexual behaviors for the sake of shock value and attention. He missed his opportunity. People are more focused on the sexual content of his performance rather than the song and his voice. Singing is what you do best Adam!

Posted by zoe | Report as abusive

I love Adam lambert! He is the best singer I have ever heard. I am waiting for my preordered CD of his new CD. I could not care less about his sexuality or his behavior. I think he is wonderfully talented and I was absolutely SHOCKED when he didn’t win American Idol. He is the best. He is sexy-to a man or a woman and it really does not matter.

Posted by carolwelden | Report as abusive

I enjoy Adam Lambert and I don’t care that he is gay. This performance was not his best but I think that was because he was moving around the stage to much and he got tired. Also some of his vocals did nothing for the song. He needs to rethink his signature high vocals on that performance. I also thinks its hypocritical that Madonna and Brittney kissed at a different award ceremony and that was fine. Girl singers have been spreading there thighs for all to see with only a bit of fabric to hide their crotch and no one complains. It gets everyones attention doesn’t it? Grow up people!! For some gay is the new straight!

Posted by Sena | Report as abusive

I loved him since I first saw him. I told everyone I worked with that he’s the next big thing. He has the “it” factor and I don’t know exactly what that is, but when someone has it…you just know it. I was heartbroken by the AMA performance. I don’t care who you are, what you believe, what your sexual preference is, what you’re trying to prove….there ain’t no good reason to rub your genitals in someone’s face on national television or in any public arena. I wonder what his parents thought when they watched the performance. I’d never forgive my child. Ugh.

Posted by Carrie | Report as abusive

I don’t care about what he did. Let him be himself. I do care though that you used “Indian Cheifs” in this blog. You know we take offense to the word Indian.

Posted by Moxie | Report as abusive

I love, love, love Adam Lambert; but I think he went overboard on the AMA show. I hope the damage can be repaired and he has an amazing career. I bought 2 of his CD’s and will continue to support him as he is amazing and talented beyond belief.


Arrrg!! Im so angry at him for doing this! Not that I thought it was wrong or anything, in fact, I really liked it. But that he did it so close to his CD release, that isnt good promotion for some people. Not very smart…

Posted by Finy | Report as abusive

Adam will be just fine. I listened to a post-show radio interview with him and even he said “I’m still learning.” This one song has high sexual energy, but others on his album are so different and future performances will more than likely be toned down. I think he’s smart enough now not to alienate his fan base by taking the chance of having appearances canceled. He’s so talented and it would be a shame for him to continue to receive negative press. As far as his solo tour…GO FOR IT ADAM! Parents….just do your parent thing and hire a sitter if you plan on attending an Adam concert. He himself has said “I’m not a babysitter.” Sheesh…if we were in Europe…would this all even be an issue?

Posted by KSE | Report as abusive

Um hello Katy Perry has little girls everywhere singing I kissed a girl and I liked it. So Adam Kissed a boy and liked it. Big Deal. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last.

Posted by Erin | Report as abusive

Bought the CD today. Listening to it now.What a voice.The wonderful thing about freedom is that people can choose to listen, or watch, or not.I choose to listen to a singer that moves me and choose to watch a performer that stirs me.It’s all about heart.

Posted by Qwerty | Report as abusive

it is called entertainment, showbiz, there isn’t such thing as right or wrong, it should be about freedom of artistic expression, why are we making such a big deal of his performance and giving Eminem a free pass on saying “17 rapes” like if it was “17 medals”, is only because Adam is gay and America is hypocrite.

Posted by momshell | Report as abusive

Bought Adam’s “For Your Entertainment” CD today. Listening to it now.What a voice.The wonderful thing about freedom is that people can choose to listen, or watch, or not.I choose to listen to a singer that moves me and choose to watch a performer that stirs me.It’s all about heart.

Posted by QwertyPDX | Report as abusive

The issue is not the perversion, or the orientation. The issue is that the song is bad, his performance was bad, his vocals were TERRIBLE, and the whole thing was just a mess. I am an avid Idol watcher, am a live music professional, and someone who has seen in the neighborhood of 1 – 2 thousand live shows of various performers from Liberace and Arlo Guthrie to the Dead, Phish, Rush and Pink Floyd. The issue here is his terrible warbling vocals- and as soon as he started to get uncomfortable with the performance he reverted to that terrible howling as a crutch. It’s not about orientation, it’s about talent- and as much as people like him, unless he can rein in his overzealous vocals, he’ll never go anywhere. And that is coming from someone who has already watched him countless times.


The only kiss I was interested with Adam Lambert was him singing WITH KISS….that performance held no interest for me whatsoever. I won’t buy his music if it is all that quality and genre’.. if he wants to be famous.. it won’t be from schmoes like me. If he wants to break thru the business and be famous hes going to have to produce music that people buy. He may have an audience but it won’t be a majority and it won’t be enough to get him to sell out concerts. He needs to decide who he wants his fan base to be and be willing to accept the mainstream fans do not care for his antics in his performance the other night. His song wasn’t even catchy. I don’t care if he is gay or not.. it’s all about music. “I kissed a girl and I liked it” was at least a catchy tune that almost everyone liked..regardless of their sexual preference. Take a lesson Adam.

Posted by christina | Report as abusive

I know of no serviceman that protected our freedoms so that any one who is acting on TV can do what Adam L did or any type of clothing malfunction. It is saddening that we have people feel like a serviceman/woman is putting their life on the line in some ditch so that acts like this are free to do things w/out any responsibility. Adam, go be gay, you were gay on American Idol…no one, but no one can take your individual freedom away, but when you are doing some type of media display…keep your tongue to yourself, and keep your zipper out of the limelight.


I was a huge fan of Adam’s during the last Idol season, and I was disappointed when he lost.But then I heard that he got a chance to sing for 2012, and I was very pleased to see that he would be getting major attention from this. However, when I watched his performance at the award show, I was more than disappointed. I was angry that he not only went that far so quickly in his career, but that his voice was lost in that rubbish he called music. I’m a 16 year old teen, and the way he put himself up there made even me uncomfortable. A teen! A teen who knows everything inappropriate, and yet Adam’s performance made me feel uncomfortable, because it wasn’t the extraordinary singer I loved from Idol.Adam has every right to come out about his sexuality, but he should be just as respectful to his fans as we are to him. We don’t need to see or want to see him become known as a freak. I’m so upset that he’s letting his voice go to waste.

Posted by Brandi | Report as abusive

I was so excited to see him……then he made me sick. I won’t buy any of his records either….he went to far beyond the kiss, maybe it’s just as well he didn’t win idol.

Posted by TikkoLovesMJ | Report as abusive

The problem is it was on ABC…. For him to say that women musicians do it all the time and why cant he is way out of line.. Most of the women that have kisses etc… have done it on MTV not on ABC a family chanel. Also his performance sucked!! It was awful… he sounded horrible!!!!!!!!!

Posted by r | Report as abusive

Adam is awesome! PERIOD!

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

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