Open Mic

Adam Lambert: Network Roller-Coaster Ride

Hillary Atkin Posted November 25, 2009 at 7:07 AM

Just as with Jon and Kate, and before them, Octomom, it’s hard to avoid the Adam Lambert spectacle.

After admittedly missing the entire “American Idol” season in which he took second place–and thus never having seen him perform–it was difficult to dodge all the publicity about Lambert, especially his much-hyped performance at the Sunday night’s American Music Awards on ABC to promote his freshly minted album, “For Your Entertainment.”

And that’s exactly what I was hoping for—to be entertained. Maybe, even, to fall in love with the song, as what happened when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys performed “Empire State of Mind” at the VMAs and then again, more polished this time, at the AMAs.

All roads at the AMAs, which was stacked with headlining performances from Lady Gaga, Eminem and 50 Cent, Green Day, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Whitney Houston, led to Lambert, and the capper performance of the night. But, wait. This song didn’t sing.

Forget about the S&M and fetish-y elements–it just wasn’t entertaining, especially after what came before. Lady Gaga’s burning piano, anyone? And here on the West Coast, the already infamous man-on-man kiss was cut, as well as the face in his crotch bit. Or maybe I looked away and somehow missed that. But I couldn’t help but thinking: if this was Madonna in her heyday, or even these days, none of this would be any big deal. It could have been any one of a number of female performers pushing the envelope on stage. A bit controversial, yes. But ban-worthy?

So I felt bad for Lambert when ABC suddenly decided to delete him and his act from “Good Morning America.” A spokesperson for the network said something to the effect of it was just too early in the morning for his brand of performance. And that they’d gotten 1,500 complaints about his AMA act. Five minutes later, sensing a great PR opportunity as well as a timely ratings grab, CBS picked him up for its perennially third-place morning show.

Despite the fact that I’ll be purposely skipping his performance today on “The Early Show,” I’m fully supporting Lambert -- who will be David Letterman's musical guest tonight -- against the discriminatory, hypocritical network brass that used him one night, then axed him 36 hours later. And I hope his new album is a chart-topper, even though I won’t be among the buyers.