Adam Lambert kisses a guy! Gasp!

Scandal! His AMA performance is almost as racy as the stunt Britney and Madonna pulled ages ago

Published November 23, 2009 3:24PM (EST)

"I bet you thought that I was soft and sweet," goes Adam Lambert's new song, which he debuted at the American Music Awards Sunday night. But you were wrong! "There was groping, dragging and bondage outfits," said the L.A. Times Pop & Hiss blog of the American Idol runner-up's performance. Better yet: Emo boys kissing. And of course, Lambert dancing provocatively as he sang, "I'm about to turn up the heat/I'm here for your entertainment."

If you're like me, you're thinking, "What's not to love?" But if you're like some Pop & Hiss readers, apparently, you're thinking, "What about the children?!"

Within minutes of the American Music Awards coming to an end, irate viewers had begun writing in. Reader Kathie Kunish declared that the telecast should have been rated 'PG-14,' and user 'penny' noted that she had to cover the eyes of her 10-year-old daughter.

Reader Richard Bowen agreed, posting on Pop & Hiss, 'I know he wants to break out and show the world his dangerous side, but why alienate an entire population of kids to do it?'

Um, because that's part of showing your dangerous side? Who says, "I want my image to be hotter and edgier, but still completely appropriate for a tween audience"? Not Adam Lambert, bless him. "I'm just trying to have a good time onstage," he told Pop & Hiss. "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."

And of course, what goes unspoken is what people are scared of: The gay. If it were just about a sexually suggestive performance on a prime time awards show, there would be no news; as Lambert points out, female performers like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Madonna "have been risqué for years." But when it's a man groping both men and women onstage, and throwing in a same-sex smooch, we must protect the children! "Honestly," says Lambert, "there's a huge double standard."

Compare Lambert's performance last night with Britney's rendition of "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the 2001 Video Music Awards and see if you don't agree.


By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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