As it turns out, two of the most controversial moments of Adam Lambert’s American Music Awards performance on Sunday night were total ad libs. That’s what Lambert told MTV News on Tuesday, when he sat down to discuss the show-closing set that turned him into a global Internet sensation all over again.
“That wasn’t in the original choreography,” Lambert explained of the bit where he took a male dancer’s head and shoved it into his crotch to mimic oral sex. “I was supposed to look at him, and I just grabbed him. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think he would have been cool with it. … It might look real forceful, but we all respect each other and were doing it in the name of the show.”
Lambert also said that he didn’t know he was going to grab keyboard player Tommy Ratliff and give him a rather full-mouth kiss near the end of the run through “For Your Entertainment,” the title track to Lambert’s just-released major-label debut.
“During rehearsal, I grab him by the hair and kind of just looked at him,” he said, adding that the keyboardist is not married, as had been rumored, but is definitely straight. “He’s straight. He just, I guess, didn’t mind getting kissed in the name of entertainment on stage.”
Though everyone was talking about Jennifer Lopez’s fall on Monday morning, Lambert walked us through his own tumble, which the musical-theater veteran almost managed to play off as part of the show. “My foot got caught on the stair, and I hit the platform and I didn’t know what was going on,” he said of the fall, after which he did a forward roll, picked up a cane and fondled a female dancer while getting back to his feet within seconds. “[I thought], ’OK, I have to get up and turn around.’ I felt like when you spray a cockroach and its legs are up in the air … At that point the adrenaline was like, ’Oh my God, I just fell … ahhhh!’ ”
Lambert noted that near the beginning of his appearance, ABC censors dropped out the audio and cut away from him when he gestured to his crotch, saying that he didn’t use any foul language, but someone with an itchy bleep finger simply jumped the gun. “They got scared,” he said. Censors also managed to cut away to avoid showing Lambert giving the finger to all the haters.
In retrospect, he also had to laugh a bit at the moment when he pushed through a mirrored doorway. “Now that I look at it, that moment there of the door, flinging the door open … it’s a good symbol,” he said.
Of all the things that went wrong or in a different direction than he planned, Lambert seemed most annoyed by what he said were the poor acoustics in the Nokia Live Theatre, which may explain why some critics complained that his vocals were a bit pitchy and off. “The Nokia Theatre has really crappy acoustics, actually,” said Lambert, who also tweeted to gossip blogger Perez Hilton about his acoustical problems. “When you hear an album or you’re even at a concert, or anywhere that you’re in an acoustic space, there’s echo from the room and that makes the sound sound cool, it gives it space. [At the Nokia] it’s just, like, dry. It’s a dry mix, so it doesn’t do anybody any favors. I heard some other performers weren’t too happy with some of their sound either.”
On the positive side, Lambert was proud to reveal that the “Phantom of the Opera”-style, gothic piano intro to the performance was written by none other than famed David Bowie collaborator Mike Garson, who has also worked with Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt and the Smashing Pumpkins.