Adam Lambert: Network Roller-Coaster Ride

Nov 25, 2009

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.

8 Comments

  1. Great point, Hillary! Why are female performers allowed to act like lewd losers on stage and not men?
    Adam made the same point as he fights his noble battle for gender equity, following in the footsteps of fellow civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Mahatmas Gandhi.
    This is a struggle that all men must fight together–be they Men of Gayness, Men of Straightliness, or Men of Not Exactly Sure Who We Beliness.
    Rock on, Adam!!

  2. Thanks for the article. I completely agree that the cancellation was uncalled for. How difficult would it have been for them to work with him? It’s ludicrous and unfair to assume that he would mimic his late night performance for a morning. ABC made a huge mistake in canceling Adam Lambert, and yes, it does point to a double-standard. I found ABC’s cancellation of his GMA performance far more distasteful than his AMA performance. The fact that there is a double-standard can’t be denied when networks are airing censored clips of the man on man kiss along with uncensored clips of the Madonna/Britney woman on woman kiss.
    Furthermore, following twitter, I am appalled at the amount of homophobia and bigotry ABC’s decision has brought on. With comments like, “who cares, he’s a f****t anyway” – “what a homo” – “he’s disgustingly too gay” – “I hate this f****t, make him go away” appearing in the trending time lines under Adam Lambert and #ShameOnYouABC, it just shows how much intolerance and ignorance still exists in our society. Whether ABC intended for this to be a platform for homophobic behavior, they can’t have been so stupid to think that it wouldn’t feed the fire. I find it extremely irresponsible of ABC to have made such a rash decision without thinking about the impact it might have in different circles or the different types of messages it might send. They were just trying to cover their asses and did so in a very irresponsible and unprofessional manner. I’m shocked that they decided to take such drastic measures for so few complaints. Reportedly, they receive more complaints about the dance numbers on DWTS each week. So, it makes me wonder if someone high up was holding a grudge over the position Adam’s performance put ABC in and this was their way to lash out. Unfortunately for them, I think the decision back fired. I sincerely hope that they will lose a number of viewers. They certainly lost this one.
    One thing I don’t understand about your article is why purposely skip Adam Lambert’s performance today? One song does not make an album, and the two songs that he sang on The Early Show today were far more to my liking than the song he sang on the AMA’s. Also he nailed them both vocally. You should really check out his performance from The Early Show. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Further to my point above … in the same way that one song cannot represent an entire album, one performance cannot not fully define a performer. The one strike and your out mentality will only lead to people missing out on a truly gifted and gratifying artist, whoever that artist might be.

  4. Loved the article, but the whole night leading up to Lambert was a mess. First, Janet Jackson grabbing her crotch, later Jennifer Lopez walking over her dancers in high heels and falling, Dr. Dre and Eminem talking being introduced with “17 rapes between them” and Lady Gaga smashing empty booze bottles on a burning piano…not to mention that the West Coast was censored on most of these antics. And besides, Lambert was on a little before 11pm…how any parents let their kids stay up that late on a school night to see this makes me wonder about the parents. Mine would have TiVo’d it for me (if we had Tivo back then) and decide whether or not if it was appropriate for us to see. For the way the song was lyrically, Adam Lambert nailed it, but the singing was too overdone.
    It was a shame that ABC decided after that performance to hang Lambert out to dry. I hung around to watch his performance on THE EARLY SHOW this morning and really liked it and he didn’t dodge any questions, which will make him more likeable.
    And one song or performance does not an album make.

  5. Loved the article, but the whole night leading up to Lambert was a mess. First, Janet Jackson grabbing her crotch, later Jennifer Lopez walking over her dancers in high heels and falling, Dr. Dre and Eminem talking being introduced with “17 rapes between them” and Lady Gaga smashing empty booze bottles on a burning piano…not to mention that the West Coast was censored on most of these antics. And besides, Lambert was on a little before 11pm…how any parents let their kids stay up that late on a school night to see this makes me wonder about the parents. Mine would have TiVo’d it for me (if we had Tivo back then) and decide whether or not if it was appropriate for us to see. For the way the song was lyrically, Adam Lambert nailed it, but the singing was too overdone.
    It was a shame that ABC decided after that performance to hang Lambert out to dry. I hung around to watch his performance on THE EARLY SHOW this morning and really liked it and he didn’t dodge any questions, which will make him more likeable.
    And one song or performance does not an album make.

  6. Thanks, Jen. You make some excellent points about ABC’s unfair treatment of Lambert and the incredibly ugly homophobia it released. Although I didn’t enjoy the AMA performance, I will check him out on Letterman tonight.

  7. Thank you for the comments about both parental stupidity and irresponsibility, as well as the double standard regarding sexually explicit act in regard to gender. I’ve never commented to articles/other’s comments, but have over the past few days because I’m shocked and frustrated in so many ways. I have to say that what bothers me the most is that anyone was shocked by Adam’s performance, or any other artists, on the AMAs. As a mother of three (14, 12, & 8yrs old) and prior viewer of the award show, I’d be a moron to allow my young children to view the AMA’s. Anyone familiar with the show knows it’s not the Children’s Choice Awards, but a consistantly adult-performance-packed-evening. Sorry, ignorant or embarrassed adults, but please don’t blame the performers for your poor choice or make this an issue at all. I watched some of the show, and as a 44yr old woman, rape survivor, and married/sexually active female…I’d say Eminem probably is the only one that I even thought a thing about. However, I’m still not shocked or outraged, and didn’t complain to ABC. It’s the AMA’s and I, as well as most reasonably bright humans, know it’s an evening of adult entertainment by artists doing their job. What should further embarrass any adults that thought it would be a family-tv-fun night, is the fact that the viewers were repeatedly warned that it promised to be a shocker and placed last on the line up after children have gone to bed. Really?
    Thanks for letting me express myself freely, in the proper venue and proper time. Commenting on an article that every reasonably bright adult should know was written by a writer expressing herself/doing her job, and doing it well.

  8. This is a free country as I remember? Is it the new sensorship that our media and government is controlling? I am old enough to be Adam’s mother and I am proud of his accomplishments. You mean he’s not a beautiful, cute blonde young lady? It’s okay for women to display themselves but not men? He was already sensored by not winning American Idol. He should of won American Idol, and some how (again) a not as talented performer did. Your article compares him to others, well it is entertainment and if people don’t like it don’t watch. Hopefully I still live in a free country.

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