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Adam Lambert upsets fans with risque American Music Awards performance

by Danielle Berrin

November 23, 2009 | 1:17 pm

Some people just don’t know their audience.

Last night, Adam Lambert angered some fans after a racy American Music Awards performance in which he simulated scenes of sexual slavery. Desperate to shed any family friendly following from American Idol, Lambert evoked Erotica-era Madonna replete with bondage, simulated oral sex and a same-sex kiss.

Dressed in a metallic suit with shoulder spikes, Lambert trotted around stage dragging his dancers by a leash while vocally riffing on his first single, the musically sedate “For Your Entertainment.” It was a spectacle that reeked of re-branding, as Lambert and his handlers deliberately craft a sexually rebellious glam-rock image.

But some of his fans were not impressed.

Weighing in on his racy finale, The L.A. Times Pop & Hiss blog writes:

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 is blaming criticism of his show on the double-standard. When asked what he would feel if ABC edited his performance for re-broadcasts, he told the Times: “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…It’s a shame. Female entertainers have been risqué for years. Honestly, there’s a huge double standard.”

To be fair, the Madonna/Britney/Christina three-way made quite a splash at the time, but mostly because fans enjoyed it. Lambert, who is making an equal spectacle of his sexual self in the media, is not garnering the same kind of adoration. There’s something forced and disingenuous about Lambert’s act, which makes it altogether less sexy. And Lambert is making no secret of the fact that his sexuality sets him apart, and that he does after all, have something to prove.

Watch this and judge for yourself:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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