Adam Lambert defended his controversial American Music Awards performance on The Early Show this morning, telling host Maggie Rodriguez the AMAs were filled with content that wasn't kid-friendly. "I think it's up to the parents to discern what their child is watching on television. Lady Gaga smashing whiskey bottles, Janet Jackson grabbing a male dancer's crotch, Eminem talking about how Slim Shady has 17 rapes under his belt — there was a lot of very adult material on the AMAs this year and I know I wasn't the only one." (Watch his interview below.)
Lambert was the only star to face a major backlash following the ceremony, which aired from 8 to 11 p.m. ET on ABC Sunday night. After ABC received 1,500 complaints over Lambert's simulated oral sex and make-out session with a male bandmate, the network nixed his appearance on Good Morning America. Lambert argued that female pop stars wouldn't have received the same scrutiny, and that being gay and a man was a "double whammy" because audiences "haven't seen that before." He concluded, "I'm not a babysitter. I'm a performer."
Lambert admitted his final performance didn't precisely mirror rehearsals, and that ABC was rightfully taken by surprise by some of his racy ad-libs. But he said he had "no clue" the performance would grab so many headlines. "I admit I did get carried away, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I do see how people got offended, and that was not my intention." Arguing he didn't consider young fans would be watching because "it was a nighttime show. I was there in the audience filled with mostly adults," Lambert said he comes from the theater world and focuses on the crowd physically before him. "Like Idol, I guess I have a tendency to divide people — you either like it or you don't," he added.
His regrets, Lambert said, were over-singing "For Your Entertainment" in the heat of the moment and perhaps giving viewers the impression he's one-dimensional. "I hope people don't put me into a box saying, oh, he's nasty, he's going to be like that all the time — that was one performance." On his debut album, "I tried to create a huge variety," he said. "The 'For Your Entertainment' you saw on the AMAs performance is about dancing and picking up on people and being sexy," but by contrast "Whataya Want From Me" is about "vulnerability and hope and trust."
Later in the broadcast, Lambert answered fan questions and revealed he hoped to launch his first solo tour in 2010, "maybe as early as spring." He was also joined by his mother, Leila, who said she supported her son's artistic decisions. "He is entertaining everyone, including me," she said, revealing she was "a little taken aback" by his AMAs song, "but I just went with the flow, and it's all good ... He inspires so many people and I hear that all the time — that's the best part," she said.
Lambert sang two songs on The Early Show — "Whataya Want From Me" and "Music Again" — in performances that were quite stripped-down compared to his AMAs spectacle. His band was outfitted in all black, and Adam sported a matching black jacket and vinyl pants. Tommy Ratliff, who became suddenly famous Sunday night when Lambert unexpectedly kissed him on the AMAs, was handling bass duties. The closest Lambert got to a bandmate was when he stood beside guitarist Monte Pittman as he ripped the solo on "Music Again." Lambert jetted directly from the stage to the street to greet fans after the song, offering hugs and autographs.
• Adam Lambert's AMAs Performance Draws 1,500 Complaints
• Adam Lambert Says Censorship of American Music Awards Song Would Be "Discrimination"
• Adam Lambert Shocks American Music Awards With Racy "For Your Entertainment"
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