It’s a Sexy Job, but Adam Lambert’s Gotta Do It!

It’s a Sexy Job, but Adam Lambert’s Gotta Do It!

Adam Lambert Matt Sayles/AP Photo

Counterpunch, Comic Con 2009 Brick

“Singularly distasteful.”

The Parents Television Council on Adam Lambert‘s American Music Awards leash demonstration? Close. The Sept. 16, 1956, New York Times on Elvis Presley‘s hip-censored Ed Sullivan performance.

If our outrage over rock stars is nothing new, then neither are our rock stars. From Elvis’ pelvis on down, they are nothing if not dedicated to sex, more sex, the next new single, which is probably about sex, and ticking off people who prefer their s-e-x to be not so explicit, thankyouverymuch

Criticizing Lambert for what he did, smooched and pawed at the AMAs is like criticizing that Paula Deen lady on the Food Network because she made something with butter: It’s what they do.

And the other night, Lambert did his job very well.

It should be left to music critics and Ellen DeGeneres to judge whether Lambert’s vocals and song selection were spot-on. But any doubt the performance was off the mark should have been erased with every angry word from the PTC, every angry phone call to ABC (1,500-plus and counting, per reports) and, above all, the network’s censored AMAs broadcast for tender West Coast audiences too young to see Jennifer Lopez fall down and go boom, much less witness “another dancer [simulate] oral sex on Lambert.” (Thanks again, PTC! You always put it just right!)  


Together, Lambert’s offenses are nothing less than the work of a rock star in his tight-pants prime. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to work the townfolk into a huff only weeks after the nation relost its innocence to the Gossip Girl threesome? 

It could be argued that Elvis, rarely painted as a social progressive, would not approve of Lambert’s act. But it could be pointed out that the King had no problem singing about the inmates’ various couplings in “Jailhouse Rock.”

It could be argued that Lambert hoodwinked his American Idol fans into thinking he was as harmless as a Danny Gokey R&B ballad. But it could be pointed out that if you didn’t know Lambert was playing nice in order to play, and possibly win, the game, then you weren’t paying attention. At all. (And also your Rolling Stone subscription lapsed.)

Lambert wasn’t straying from who he was; he was being who he is. He wasn’t dishonoring the stage; he was honoring music’s shock-and-awe tradition. (According to Lambert, he was getting more blowback for it because he was a gyrating guy, and not a writhing Madonna, but he was probably more in the crosshairs because he was a gyrating guy on free TV, and not a writhing Madonna on cable.) 

Ultimately, Lambert was doing what he was supposed to do, and if it was displeasing that a child somewhere saw him do it in prime time, then somebody’s bedtime needs to be moved up. (The show-closing number didn’t air until almost 11 p.m. ET/PT.) 

“All hail freedom of expression and artistic integrity,” Lambert tweeted Monday.

And, the certified rock star could’ve added, the satisfaction of a job done right.




  1. Good Morning American canceled Adam’s concert for tomorrow. CBS the Early show quickly booked him! I didn’t know if Adam would be hurt, but he talked to Ryan Seacrest and is taking it in stride. ABC is getting beat down all over the internet for their actions. Tons of celebrities are tweeting about the hypocrisy of it. Adam is getting tons of free publicity. Tune in tomorrow morning!

    • glamb# 442 Paula says:

      ABC did Adam a favor!! CBS hooked him up they understand the powerhouse he is and probably got them the best ratings they ever had! having adam on throughout the entire show was priceless and business savy. all us adam lovers had an awesome 2 hours this morning.thanks to the early show.

  2. His art could and should have been in a more tasteful manner. Thought he was impressed by “class” and not going to be a “spokesperson for any group”. This was nasty and I truly loved Adam’s voice but couldn’t even hear or recognize it in this performance. I thought it was supposed to be “all about the music”. Disappointed but hopeful that this will be a learning experience and not career ending. I am 60+ and been enduring such flack from my children and grandchildren or my “obcession” but I was truly embarrassed by his performance. So shocked, couldn’t believe my Adam did that when he had such a huge chance to send his album off appropriately. Whoever advised his or didn[‘t advise him better get it right next time.

    • I agree, I love Adam , but he went too far too soon, His vocals were not good with all the jumping around. He could have done much better.

      • vVcal issues were more due to the venue and the sound feed which did seem to throw him offkey, a virtual rarity for Adam! Howeverf I am 67 and have ‘been there and done that and seen that and heard that’ over the years and I loved his efforts!

  3. to the employee who wrote this article–
    {{{ “All hail freedom of expression and artistic integrity,” Lambert tweeted Monday.
    And, the certified rock star could’ve added, THE SATISFACTION OF A JOB DONE RIGHT.}}}–
    you are my new hero. i luv you TONS. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  4. Geez! I can’t believe the hypocrisy of some people! I bet these are the same people who watch all those violent and graphic shows on TV about all sorts of sordid things, and then turn around and condemn Adam for being Adam. (And by the way, who lets a young child stay up until 11:00 pm anyway? What is becoming of parenthood these day?) If you don’t like the real Adam then go be a fan of boring Danny Gokey! This is the 21st century and at some point people will have to learn to live with the fact that there are homosexuals, many homosexuals, on this planet, and they have as much right to express themselves as heterosexuals. If it were a man kissing a woman there would not have been such an uproar and as far as all the crotch clutching, I see hip hop singers clutching something down there all the time, or at least look like they’re touching or clutching. Michael Jackson did it all the time. Okay, it was his own crotch, but nevertheless, he clutched or touched. At any rate, my only complaint was that Adam was not able to sing as well as he could have because of all of the movement and distraction going on. But he was the talk of the town! GO ADAM! Adam’s true fans will stick with him through it all.

    • I may need to do a blog post entirely dedicated to “touching and clutching.”


    • Oh Gayle we must have read each other’s minds. I just posted on the Early Show thread (I think) about this very topic! Riskee lyrics and movse have been around for over 15 years.. and I do not see the difference between whether it was on ‘free tv’ ,cable, a rented video or a family’s computer or X-box..

  5. I absolutely loved this eOnline article. I couldn’t possibly have said it better myself. It always makes me laugh when people tell Adam to “get over your gayness, because we are” because the fact of the matter is that he IS over it and acting accordingly. I admire artists who don’t conform merely to please the masses. The biggest and most legendary of rock stars have the WTF factor, as Adam should rightly so. Rock on, Adam!

  6. Just saw him on Early Show and he was great. Nice in interview and even had his mom there. Just another side of Adam. They made a comment that it would be great for their show if they could have him there every day for the next 5 years. There you go GMA…you’re loss.

  7. Adam does’nt have to conform to the American Idol expectations now……..ADAM is free
    to be ADAM at last! Freedom of expression and yes, there are definately double standards!
    Surely, you did’nt expect ADAM to close the AMA’s in a bland fashion?…….HE TOOK IT OFF THE
    PLANET! ADAM IS ADAM….HE IS so ingenious!

  8. I think that ABC tv is a huge hypocrit! They cancel ADAM’s appearance on GMA, but has anyone watched the ABC soap “One Life to Live”? They have a gay male couple who have kissed many times, and the sexual tension is high between them, including the possibility of a bedroom scene or two. Amazing…that is on daytime tv (2:00pm e.s.t.) hmmmmmmm, makes me wonder why the big hoopla over ADAM by ABC.

    Kudos to CBS! They did a fantastic interview, questions from fans, and 2 songs this A.M.
    ADAM looked and sounded great! And his band was great too! Huge crowds, some with signs/posters for ADAM, and they came from all over the world! One female flew in from Japan just for this show!!!! ADAM is loved!

  9. Barbara Walters is talking about ADAM…nice things believe it or not! (the View) Oh for gawd sake, Sherri said that ADAM hasn’t earned the privilege to compare his performance to Madonna and Janet Jackson’s performances! (ie, crotch grabbing, etc) Sherri, Joy, Elizabeth won’t let this go…very negative toward ADAM.

    Excuses from them for Madonna’s actions, etc….but down on ADAM. Very opinionated women!
    Thank you to BW for being kind!

    • You mean, you CAN EARN the ‘permission’ to flaunt your sexuality all over TV just by singing for a few years and selling a few records?? They say money can buy anything, and I guess it can!

      I sw a similar thing on Showbiz Tonight this evening. I do not undestand. Adam didn’t just crawl out of a cave and jump up on the AMA stage. He worked his butt off for almost 10 years, making low wages at times but he never quit, he just kept working toward his goal. If anyone has earned the right to be himself, Adam has!

  10. I appreciate your comments. Adam so talented. Some fans and foes are confusing a stage persona with his person. He is ethical, genuine, talented, philanthropic. The AMA song was about rough sex and he interpreted it beautifully and accurately. It happens to be the only song on the album with this theme. Most are quite opposite from For Your Entertainment. Relax and enjoy this fabulous singer…. rarely will have such an opportunity.

  11. I agree wholeheartedly! It’s comforting to see some Americans still have a normal perspedtive on life, I was beginning to get really worried there…..Such outrage at something so innoccuous as Adam’s fun frolic and no response to graphic violence and wars in which thousands of people get killed???

    • Coming from a different culture and value system, this has had me pondering for decades… Talk about an affont to humanity and decency! A sexual stage act or a mowing down of the enemy, or a someone killed in a crime? Why not save your outrage for something deserving of it?

  12. I think American Idol will be VERY careful about who appears on their stage in 2010 ….. and won’t that be ………ing boring after this fabulous dude!! Thank you, AI, for whatever indiscretion led you to letting this lightening flash of a performer into our music world and ultimately and forgiveably, into our hearts. UIMA