Adam Lambert’s controversial performance–a double standard?

Adam Lambert has caught the entertainment industry off-guard. Last Sunday during the American Music Awards on ABC, this “American Idol” runner-up shocked millions around the world with a sexually charged, sexually explicit performance of his new single, “For Your Entertainment.”

During the performance, Lambert “walks” some of his male dancers on a leash, gropes another female dancer’s naughty bits, simulates oral sex with a male dancer, simulates oral sex again with a female dancer (just in case we missed it the first time), grabs his crotch and finally, at the end of his performance, makes out with his male keyboardist.


Needless to say, ABC was flooded with thousands of phone call complaints.  

Lambert holds a different defense against the controversy. He claims that the only reason it’s turned into such a big deal is because he is gay. Even Barbara Walters has called ABC’s response to Lambert’s performance “absurd,” a response that included cancelling Lambert’s performance the next day on “Good Morning America.” 

But does anybody remember that time on the MTV Video Music Awards when Madonna made out with Britney and Christina? But that wasn’t offensive–that was hot! Right?

So what do you guys think? What’s with all the controversy surrounding Lambert’s performance? Is it because he’s gay or is it just because he went too far over the top? Is there truly a double standard today with man-on-man action versus female-on-female?


10 responses to “Adam Lambert’s controversial performance–a double standard?

  1. I definitely think people think it was controversial because he’s gay. And it’s ridiculous Good Morning America canceled. When Britney and Madonna made out, it wasn’t seen as gay so it wasn’t offensive. And with Lady Gaga around nothing can be too over the top. People have to be freaking out because he’s gay. Which I agree is absurd.

  2. Mary Bess Bolling

    I think the controversy surrounding Lambert’s performance is amplified by his sexual orientation, but I think he wanted this attention. He made a splash during the performance with his choreography, but the kiss seemed impromptu and the performance was overall vulgar. I don’t like the artist or his performances in general, so my analysis may be biased since I think he lacks any talent. But I’m going to have to sympathize with ABC on this one. They’re playing it safe, considering their target audience at 7 a.m. but not aiming to act as bigots.

  3. I’d have to agree that Lambert was looking for the attention. Any publicity is good publicity right?
    While the controversial aftermath may now center around his sexual orientation, I feel like either way the performance was pretty provocative.
    There is such a thing as being racy with class (who say Cabaret as produced by our own Drake Players?) and I’m not sure Lambert did that here- it seemed a bit like he was trying too hard.

    Whatever we think though, he’s sure getting a lot of attention. An increase in album sales to follow? That’d sure be convenient…

    • I agree with Ann, I mean Lambert obviously knew what he was doing–he is a performer after all. I do agree that his sexual orientation played a part in the amount of controversy that stemmed from his show, but even the Brit/Madonna liplock went under a little fire. It was different, and therefore drew the attention and controversy that it was bound to.

      But in the end, the publicity will only serve to promote the sales of Lambert’s album, shows, ect. People pay for a performance, and with Lambert, well they definitely got one.

    • I’d have to agree with you. Although I think most of the performance was probably impromptu (the kiss, for example), it did seem like he was trying a bit too hard. And maybe that’s why people noticed. It seemed like Lambert was intentionally trying to piss people off. Which, if this was the case, he did a splendid job of doing.

  4. There were a few things that came to mind when I saw and read about this performance. First off, I think if one performance like this is going to get a performer in trouble, then all of them should. Like you said, Britney and Madonna didn’t get into trouble for their kiss, so why is Adam Lambert in trouble?

    However, I do think where the performance aired has a lot to do with it. Britney was on MTV, Adam was on ABC. MTV caters to a very different crowd than ABC. Also, people are really upset about this whole incident and the controversy surrounding it. I think everything is getting blown out of proportion, but when you really think about it, look at the uproar the Janet Jackson incident caused. I feel like that was a lot less offensive than Lambert’s performance and it was an accident, so if Janet is going to get so much heat, Lambert probably should too. There shouldn’t be a double standard.

    • Interesting, I never even considered Janet Jackson’s fiasco with the “wardrobe malfunction.” I think you make excellent points and yes, I wholeheartedly agree that MTV vs. ABC makes one heck of a difference here. Thanks for the comment, Emily!

    • I agree. ABC is family oriented. When you’re talking about an MTV awards show, you’re dealing with a much different demographic. So while their may be somewhat of a double-standard, I don’t think that is much of an issue as Lambert’s performance. I’d be surprised if this weren’t some publicity stunt; otherwise, whoever let him do this wasn’t thinking clearly.

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