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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 8

Former 'Idol' Adam Lambert sparks controversy with AMA performance

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/23/2009 

American Idol eighth-season runner-up Adam Lambert caused quite a stir with the debut performance of his first single "For Your Entertainment" during last night's live broadcast of the 2009 American Music Awards on ABC.

During the S&M-themed performance, which aired at the conclusion of the three-hour broadcast, Lambert grinded, groped and danced with half-naked men and women -- several of whom were decked out in bondage gear.

At one point in the routine, Lambert held a leash attached to a male dancer wearing bondage gear and used it to pull the dancer towards him.  Lambert then grabbed the back of the dancer's head and shoved the dancer's face in his crotch, simulating a sexual act and causing ABC to cut to an overhead shot of the studio audience during the live East Coast broadcast.

Lambert -- who formally confirmed he was gay in a June Rolling Stone cover story interview and is releasing his debut album on Tuesday -- also fondled a female dancer's crotch, made-out with a male keyboardist, and grabbed his own crotch during the performance.

The award ceremony's producers had no advance notice of Lambert's guy-on-guy kiss, Rolling Stone reported, adding the former Idol finalist stated after the show that he had kissed a straight man.

"If it's gonna be edited, then in a way that's discrimination," he told The Los Angeles Times after show when asked if he thought the most extreme moments would be edited out for the West Coast broadcast, which they subsequently were.

"I don't mean to get political, but Madonna, Britney [Spears] and Christina [Aguilera] weren't edited. It's a shame. Female entertainers have been risque for years. Honestly, there's a huge double standard."

Lambert added "the energy felt good" during the performance. 

"Adrenaline is a crazy thing to feel," Lambert told The Times. "That's what I love about performing. I'm hoping people were entertained. For those who weren't, maybe I'm not their cup of tea."

According to Lambert, he was just trying to have "a good time" with the performance.

"I'm just trying to have a good time onstage," he told The Times. "It's a sexy song. It's 2009, it's time to take more risks. It's about entertainment. People want to be surprised. It's too bad that people are so scared."

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