Adam Lambert's A Big Faker

In case you missed every other pop culture site on the internet blaring about it today, Adam Lambert was the closing performance on last night's American Music Awards and he totally stank up the joint with a big, glittery, hyper-sexual stink-cloud of a performance. And the people are polarized! Some folks loved its silly unabashedness, others found it just too much—because it wasn't family-friendly, because it was trying way too hard, because it was too gay. That last criticism? Oof, it's really annoying.

Given the frequency and intensity of hetero lovin' on TV these days, and the relative paucity of gay representation on the airwaves, the queerness of Adam's performance shouldn't, in 2009, rankle anyone. Sorry folks, but gay people kiss and have sex and do other things. Calling it "sodomy" and decrying its immorality just smacks of dying-breed Puritanism. So that argument really should be off the table.

What truly WAS the problem with the whole debacle was how forced and canned the whole outrageousness came across. It wasn't so much "We get it, Adam, you're gay" as much as it was "We get it, Adam, you think you're some sort of rebel even though you're only famous for coming up second on the least rebellious show on TV." I've often found myself complaining like some sort of Williamsburg purist about how musical success should be a much more brick-by-brick process than the immediate fame that Idol synthesizes. The problem about Adam's performance is that none of it was earned. You want to be shocking and counter-culture, Adam? Then don't play into the most obvious stereotypes that everyone's painted for you since the first time you Frankenstein-shoed your way onto the Idol stage.

Adam's often compared to showy pop-provocateurs like Madonna and Lady Gaga. The latter comparison is only slightly insulting—Gaga is still fairly new to the scene herself, but did at least have a genuinely organic trajectory to fame, rather than Adam's highly-corporate backdoor sneaking in. But the former comparison? Um, puhleeze. Madonna came flailing up from the dirty Bowery club-kid scene of the early '80s, a scene that was glitzy in its true grit. So when she came roaring onto the national stage with envelope-poking live performances like "Like a Virgin," it felt like a nascent artist, an actual thinker, genuinely expressing a lightly sociopolitical message—something about girls and sex, about patriarchy and industry. But in Adam's case, last night's romp into the sex-inferno just seemed so corporately manipulated and ripped-off. The same way the Jonas Brothers are made to look like chaste arevolutionary Beatles, Adam allowed himself to be carefully tarted up like some faux-dark Michael Buble of the Night. The whole thing felt creaky and unwarranted because it was so uncreative, so borrowed from other iconic acts. Maddy did bondage-throb way better in her "Human Nature" video over ten years ago. Plus, for a guy who won America's hearts with his souped-up pipes, his vocals were pretty rank.

The performance certainly won't ruin Adam's career. But it may put a dent in it. I'd say it was admirable that he tried to shoot the moon and missed—at least he tried!—if the whole thing didn't seem so pathetically spring-loaded to shock and awe. Thickly presenting a front of audacity with little thought or reason behind it seems so lazy, much like the whole ethos of going on American Idol to win an instant music career feels. The truly successful Idol standouts—your Kelly Clarksons and your Carrie Underwoods—have succeeded mostly because they used the show as platform to simply showcase big Voices, not some cobbled together pop-persona. I just get that sneaking suspicion that if Adam were really genuine in his baubled counter-culturalism, he wouldn't have tried to hawk his cheap wares on a cheesy reality show.

It's clear he felt he had something to prove last night, though why he felt that anyone expected so much of him, a Vegas act reality show star, is sort of a head-scratcher.

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why do u all care so much its not a gay thing its an american thing lol shock em shock em shock em
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Homosexual people only act out in crazy ways because there are large groups of religious people that also act out in crazy ways. It is just a big circle of stupidity. If we would all just calm down and let everyone live as they want, it would probably just make everything better. But as Americans we are the most nosiest people in the world, and we have to know everything about everyone else. (ex. Reality television...)
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I will not hide that I do not tolerate gay people as far as they have been behaving up to now. Not all gay people want to draw so much attention to themselves. I am heterosexual but I nor other heterosexuals do not make a parade "pride" (walk around naked) to be proud of our sexuality... what the hell is that...? You are gay fine with me you can do what ever you like and feel necessary for yourself. But why do you want to make everyone else gay why being gay is good..? being heterosexual isn't good..? Why is it necessary to lobby gay people..? That is the biggest question why such a HUGE LOBBY of being gay
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@ed3103

Being gay isn't a choice, and any unfounded fears you have to walk the streets because you're worried some guy is going to rape is absolutely ridiculous. I notice you've got rampant spelling and grammatical errors in your tirade, so I'll chalk you plain stupid and leave it at that. Although, judging by your fourth grade knowledge, I can't help but think that's about how old you are. Thus, I laugh at you and our education system. I bet you think that Obama is racist against white people. Watch some more Glenn Beck and Fox News and leave your bigotry and homophobia to your basement where you're sure to live the rest of your life.
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AND BEAN OF DOOM, IF YOU REPLACE ALL CHRISTIANS WITH QUEERS, HUMANITY WILL DIE OUT IN A 100 YEARS, AND THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE REPLACED WITH RAINBOWS FOR SKY SCRAPERS, AND PINK ROADS WHERE YOU CAN RIDE YOUR UNICORNS GO JUMP [PS. BEAN OF DOOM IS GAY
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I had no idea who this guy was until it was revealed he was gay (OMG BIG DEAL GAIZE!!!!!) and I guess I really don't care who he is now. But wow, Madonna was "organic" and "meaning?" lolwut

+ lol @ PEOPLE STOP JUDGING!!!!!!!!!!!
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beilmandulin did you not pay attention to anything I said???? I never said you should only love some people because you think they are right. I said the bible doesn't descriminate between people... If God sees all sinners the same, who are we to decide any different. read what I said.
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@ rlilya the bible also says to love your neighbor. It doesn't say love your heterosexual neighbor.



And beanofdoom, RIGHT ON!!!
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Man these kinds of arguments are sickening to me. All you people that think gay is the new future have a vital flaw in your arguments. Gay people cannot reproduce, and so if history has taught us anything... they are an evolutionary disadvantaged population. Secondly, you really need to get better arguments. Because so far all the gay activists I know that use the whole "you are wrong because you believe in the Bible and you don't believe in liberty for all/freedom expression" speech is stupid. If you believe in the freedom of expression than you will realize that your argument against those that believe in God/Bible or those that consider your choice of lifestyle amoral is not making any sense. By telling these people that their thinking is "old fashioned and doomed" you are repressing freedom of expression just like they "are" when they stand up against your lifestyle.



The biggest thing that annoys me about gay populations is their discusting need for attention. Yeah, you're gay Get over it. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to talk weird or dress weird or act weird. Seriously!!!! I know so many gay people that will consider Adam's performance offensive because he's basically making them look like oversexualized individuals that like to get it hard in any hole with any one. People like Adam give gay a bad name. And for those of you who have never read the Bible, it is one of the only religous books that gives right and justice for all. Just because people use it out of contex doesn't make it wrong. It was one of the first books to actually talk about women who had rights equal to men (they could buy land, sell merchandise, own/rule servants). The Bible also crearly states that any (and I repeat ANY) sin is the same in the eyes of God. Whether you lie, steal, or like the "amoral" path of sodomy, you are all equal in God's eyes. When Jesus died on the cross he died for everyone. We don't choose who comes to God. God chooses. And the bible states crearly that all sined and fall short. And Jesus said, those without sin cast the first stone. This doesn't mean that I'm going to all of a sudden embrace the gay way of life and start rooting for their rihts. No. I don't believe in "their" rights. But when retarded people who have not done their research start to tell me that my ways are the old ways I will stand up. Because I don't see the Bible going away. So wake up and get a better argument!!!!
More+
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@WizengamotX: I'm not gay nor am I in ole boy's social circle but I highly doubt he's gonna burn in your fairy tale hell due to the gender of who he decides to screw. Why do you care so much what he does or who he does it with? If only we could replace all the idiot, conserv-o-pub, bible thumpin', greedy, hate mongers with queers, this world would be a better place to live a thousand times over, of that I have NO doubt. People like you will end life on this planet one of these days. all religious extremists are exactly the same. some blow up Americans, some shoot abortion clinic workers, while some, without the resources for weapons, get their jollies by telling anonymous people that they're going to hell. Its all fear and stupidity, man. Why not just live your life and let others live theirs? contribute to the happiness of others or at least refrain from causing suffering and if you don't like to have sex with dudes, then do it with chicks, or sheep, or whatever.
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@WizengamotX: "I will see you in Hell." - Well, you won't see me, but I'm glad that you already know that you're going!
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@Richard_Lawson Your family says that you are normal. Your small social circle says that you are normal. What, then, about those people out side of your social circle? Why are they not in your social circle? Are they strange? No, you are strange. Homosexuality was not, is not, and will not, ever be normal. Homosexuality is an abomination.
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The attitude of the authour of this article disgusts me. "Calling it "sodomy" and decrying its immorality just smacks of dying-breed Puritanism." Anal sex is sodomy. Sodomy is called such by cause that it was practiced, supposedly, in Sodom. Sodom is bibically immoral. Anal sex is immoral. Homosexuality is immoral. Your liberal world view does not mean that any conservative is out numbered. Regardless, the masses do not run real policies. I will see you in Hell.
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I loved him on Idol ..what a voice! But that performance was just disgusting. His voice even sounded mediocre. A fan no more!~!
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I like adam gay or not. And his performance is just a performance. If they are going to get on him get on every body then. Most of the performances today are to sexy. I like to sexy and most of America like it. It is just they don't like gay people are something.
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Who the heck is this guy anyway? Am I supposed to know him? He's awful... gay or not.
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tl;dr

Why is he a faker?
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I have to agree with Richard on this one, overusing the sexual element to make a performance interesting is cliche and we've seen it bunches of times already. But reading some comments here that capitalized the words "normal", "abnormal" and "majority" really annoyed me. People's sexual preferences are their own issue, it's not your business to judge or condemn them because they clash with your system of morals, or your religious beliefs. And frankly, you need to consider the fact that your religious beliefs generate intolerance, hatred and controversy, more than they do any kind of positive effect on society. There's so much inconsistency between what Jesus was supposed to have preached and the way you people judge and condemn others, one has to wonder if christianity isn't just a large bundle of controversies thrown in together. Just my two cents on the issue...
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Hey this is nothing to do with his sexuality, performances like this are just nasty. Britney Spears does stuff like this, that's straight, and it's disgusting.
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ew that is just disgusting
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The problem isin't that Adam's gay The problem is he sucks! And don't you people complain when you're the ones who voted for him!
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That performance was unacceptable and I hate that some people are defending him based on his sexual orientation. There's nothing wrong with being gay and I don't think that was the problem in that performance. The problem was that it was hypersexualized at a very high level. I mean, there was even a simulation of oral pleasuring. And don't get me wrong, I think the same of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga when they do this sort of thing. I'm tired of the music industry. It's been reduced to hypersexualiez videos and perfomances with poor singing and boring songs. It HAS to change. Does Elton John need to do this kind of stunt to show his gay pride? NO. His talent and personality speaks for him.
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I love how he is basically whining his way into the spotlight nowadays because his song and performance couldn't do it.
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"Sorry folks, but gay people kiss and have sex and do other things." ... Other things? You mean like... HOLDING HANDS??? Oh dear God!!!
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Dick Clark won't let me see the video due to copyright infringements. Shame on you Dick.
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What's good for the Goose, not good for the straights? WTG ADAM!!!! He's my new "SWEETIE"! Think I'll go on over to the CBS tapping and show some love for the kid!!
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I've never heard this "Adam" woman sing, but all i gotta say is if you don't like what you're watching, it's not like anyone is forcing you to watch...or hear, i personally didn't watch this "performance" and i don't give a flying...coitus
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For me, it has nothing to do with gay/straight. I wouldn't tune in to watch anyone perform as badly as Adam did Sunday night. I liked a lot of hi performances on Idol, but this time he was pathetic. But the whole award show thing is nauseating. Hollywood keeps patting itself on the back. What else would you expect from that bunch? Of course CBS is going to air him. It's all about numbers. Rack em up, boys.
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Just a quick note to txgirl75. You wouldn't need to ask the question you did if you had watched and read Idol's past season. His Mom was aware-she moved them to San Diego to be closer to the business. Tanx
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For the questionable 95% of you who were disgusted with Adam's performance better re-examine themselves by looking in the mirror. What are you afraid of-did you feel a little tingle? Controversy sells. I can almost bet my Thanksgiving turkey that Adam sold more albums than Kris Allen did. How many of you remember what Kris Allen did at the AMA's? No one has mentioned him. Basically non-existent and at the end of the show Adam's name was up in lights. The Video is still available--you just need to know where to look. When the 95% of you go to church, look around. Ya just never know. Happy Thanksgiving! Lisa
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i find it amusing that the video is no longer available because of "Dick" Clark productions
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Adam is the American Idol,hes an amazing performer.He does seek attention and he is young,both clearly affect hes performance,hopfully he will reach the point,where performing will be hes only goal and then hell reach hes pick,till then we have to endure hes Adolescence process and hope he grows up fast.
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@mwhiteside: Where are you getting this 95% statistic? I was born gay and it's completely normal to me and my friends, straight or gay and to my family. And, hell, pretty much everyone in my community. Tell me, what's more 'normal'? Roughly ten percent of the population being born a certain way and open-minded people around them saying "OK, who cares" OR, people moralizing to others about something they can't control, citing a fairytale book about zombies and people who live in whales?
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I agree with most of your article regarding Lambert's attention getter antics. But, here we go again making generalizations (indirectly against those of us who still hold firm to the so called "Puritanism" values or Christian beliefs). Richard, you're a great writer who severely weakened your article by defending the public display of homosexual acts - it's not normal and it is still offensive to 95 percent of the American population . Furthermore, children do not need to see it publicly enacted. Hollywood is not, and never has been, the sovereign of morality, just the antithesis of it.
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That goddamn skinsuit is the worst.
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Agree Lawson
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He just broke out in a big way. It might've been forced and corny but who doesn't love a little corniness once in a while. Lady Gaga's glass breaking was way cornier I thought, as were her and her dancers' silly outfits, but I still enjoyed it. I applaud him for putting on a big dumb goofy performance.
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BOTTOM LINE:



This isn't about a display of sexual liberties or making a "statement" to further gay rights!



The shock and awww was scripted to be cutting edge - to be an exceptional performance ---- unfortunately its execution was cartoonish & forced.

The end result was simply a pathetic performance. I know the common industry perception; is that as long as you can create a media event -- good or bad -- the publicity will further your career.



It certainly has caused a lot of media buzz! only time will tell -- the spin doctors will have their work cut out for them!!!
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It shows how repressed America really is, this is 2009 reacting in such a homophobic way is just not cool any more, no one complained when Britney kissed Madonna this is no different, they are not lesbians so that was a completely faked moment, if this guy is gay then the sentiment is not faked at all. He seems like an idiot but the reaction to it is even more offensive than the moment itself. I don't know why people worry, he was on American Idol so his career will be very short, so therefore he felt the need to kiss a man and stir up the contreversy you are giving him.

Comparisons to Madonna and Lady Gaga are fair enough, all have had some degree of manufacture and fakeness about them.
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Wow!! What amazes me is that 10 years ago people were asking for Marilyn Manson's head because he did similar scenes during his live performances and now the networks don't have a problem with an American Idol doing it during a televised show. What a bunch of hypocrites.
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High end rock bands need singers,not this and neither do we.
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he's an attention whore. his album sucked. only his mad world cover was any good.
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Well said Richard. He was going for shock and awe when all he did was reinforce the exact stereotypes that he claims to be fighting against!
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Video gone... =(
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i just honestly don't like him i could care less about the whole being gay thing
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I haven't seen that performance, but I gotta say this is a damn well written article and now I'm gonna watch that video! xD
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I completely agree! And for people to say "Well Madonna and Britney did it too" doesn't really make a difference. If memory serves correct people were pissed off about it too. The fact is Lambert was once all about being ambigious and now he's "out" he's running with it. Exploiting his sexuality, the controversy, and rockstar image really is underwhelming. Madonna, Boy George, Marilyn Manson have made careers out of it. Sadly enough, Lambert HAS the vocal talent far better than those singers mentioned above. Lambert has true vocal talent, and instead of letting it be about the music, he just let his performance outshine...again, it's ashame. It's a gimmick as others have mentioned before.

Again, the controversy for me (and others as well) is that the performance outshined the music which is actually not that bad. He had a whole lot of distractions; it was outbalanced.

Now, Lady Gaga's music is entirely different. She knows how to add just enough punch to a performance without stealing away from the song. She knows how to balance it.
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Who?
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In case you haven't noticed, most videos, commercials, songs, and TV shows today are highly sexual in content . I don't see how anyone can claim to being "shocked" by Adam's performance; he didn't do anything we haven't seen done 1000 times before. So just because it was a gay guy doing a trashy dance, now it's shocking? That's not fair. Now about his performance...he had a lousy sound mix (not his fault), but the production was way too busy. Far too much activity was crammed into that one number. It felt like he was rushing to squeeze it all in. But, I felt the same way about Lady GaGa's tune. "Overproduced" would be an understatement: dancers, piano fire, breaking glass. The only thing missing was a tornado. I like both singers, but more is not always better.
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Yeah it was kind of like Adam Lambert pulling a Lady Gaga. It was kind of over the top, but almost everyone at the AMA's stunk anyway. When Taylor Swift is the artist of the year, you know the awards have problems.
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