Adam Lambert Says Censorship of American Music Awards Song Would Be "Discrimination"

November 23, 2009 12:00 AM ET

In approximately 30 minutes the West Coast will get a look at the American Music Awards performance that has everyone talking: Adam Lambert's racy rendition of For Your Entertainment's title track. When Lambert finished his song — complete with simulated oral sex with a male backup dancer and a passionate kiss with a male keyboardist — earlier tonight, fans hit the Internet to debate whether the American Idol runner-up's first major televised performance since the Idol finale pushed the envelope too far. Lambert tells Rolling Stone he didn't do anything female performers haven't done on television already — and that if ABC cuts any part of his performance for the rebroadcast it will amount to "discrimination."

Adam Lambert shocks, Taylor Swift soars: the 2009 AMAs in photos.

"It's a shame because I think that there's a double standard going on in the entertainment community right now," Lambert tells RS backstage after the show at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre. "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."

American Idol's glam-rock sex god: Lambert in action.

If ABC opts not to broadcast several of the more risqué moments of "For Your Entertainment" in a few moments, "In a roundabout way it's a form of discrimination because it is a double standard," Lambert says. "They didn't censor Britney and Madonna macking onstage did they? But yet two men kissing they'll censor?" The famous 2003 Video Music Awards moment Lambert is referring to went down on cable television — on MTV, of course — rather than network television. See more infamous awards show moments here.

UPDATE: Reports about the West Coast broadcast of the American Music Awards indicate that ABC kept the kiss with Lambert's keyboardist, but cut away from the simulated oral sex with his male backup dancer.

Infamous crotch-rock moments, from Lambert's AMAs to "Dick in a Box."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »