Just last week, the editor-in-chief of the gay magazine Out was lamenting that [artist id="3188063"]Adam Lambert[/artist]‘s handlers were allegedly trying to ease the out-and-proud singer back into the closet a bit. While Lambert told the gay magazine to chill, he seemed intent on sending a strong message on Sunday night with his pan-sexually charged performance of the title track from his debut album, For Your Entertainment.
In addition to dragging a female dancer around by the ankles, pushing a male dancer’s head into his crotch and simulating oral sex, walking a pair of male hoofers around like dogs on a leash, and furiously thrusting his hips at every opportunity, Lambert took a moment mid-song to fervently make out with (an allegedly straight) male keyboard player. After the jaw-dropping performance, Lambert told CNN that the forceful smooch was “in the moment” and was not a planned part of his routine.
Appearing to preemptively strike back at anyone who took issue with the S&M-heavy imagery of the night-closing routine for its risqué nature, Lambert said those who object are engaging in “a form of discrimination and a double standard,” considering that for decades, “women performers have been pushing the envelope.”
Lambert repeated that double-standard line of reasoning with Rolling Stone backstage after the show, telling the mag, “Female performers have been doing this for years — pushing the envelope about sexuality — and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out. We’re in 2009 — it’s time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people’s eyes and if it offends them, then maybe I’m not for them. My goal was not to piss people off, it was to promote freedom of expression and artistic freedom.”
The singer, whose glam pop/rock debut was released on Monday (November 23), lamented that when Madonna and Britney Spears smooched at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, it was not censored, though it did take place on a cable network, not on a prime-time network television broadcast.
The West Coast broadcast of the show reportedly kept the kiss with the keyboardist in but cut out the simulated oral sex. Critical reaction to Lambert’s performance was decidedly mixed, with some applauding his audaciousness and more questioning the over-the-top nature of what Entertainment Weekly described as a bit that “emphasized shock-and-awe imagery over his standard-operating vocal excellence.”