For his first televised performance since the Season Eight finale of American Idol, Adam Lambert aimed for the kind of controversy Britney Spears and Madonna are known for generating, completely stunning the audience at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre and the millions watching the American Music Awards live on ABC with a risqué rendition of “For Your Entertainment.” Rolling Stone didn’t label Lambert the Wild Idol for nothing, and Glambert definitely delivered on his promise of a “sexy” performance as he closed the live show with simulated oral sex from a male backup dancer, a brief make-out session with his male keyboardist and a giant mirrored prop so the audience could see the looks on their own shocked faces. Rolling Stone has learned that producers weren’t informed about the guy-on-guy kiss in advance, and after the show, Lambert told RS the musician he kissed is a straight man.
Lambert also told RS that if ABC decides to cut any parts of his performance for the West Coast rebroadcast, it would amount to “discrimination.” Read the full story here.
The ’09 American Music Awards featured performances from blockbuster stars like Whitney Houston, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, Green Day, Eminem and Rihanna, but newcomer Lambert was selected to close out the show, and his performance was advertised as “eye-popping” and something you’d be talking about tomorrow.
With an army of dancers clad in gear that looked like it was inspired by the Haus of Gaga, Lambert strutted across the Nokia Theatre stage, dragging some of his dancers outfitted in S&M gear by harnesses and stopping to caress the legs of others — both men and women. As his band turned out the techno-crunch of his debut single from For Your Entertainment (out tomorrow), Lambert bounced around the stage in black leather, hitting his signature high notes. During the bridge, he sat on a chair below a female stripper on a pole, then made his way back across the stage, singing, “Do you like what you see? Let me entertain you until you scream” as the lyrics to his song (“Can you handle what I’m about to do?”) came off like a direct challenge to the audience.
Awards show stages have been the site of some of the most memorable — and controversial — performances in recent years. Britney Spears and Madonna stole headlines for their lip-lock at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, which was also where Madonna turned heads for humping the floor during her rendition of “Like a Virgin.” See more infamous awards moments here.
Read more about the American Music Awards — from Taylor Swift upsetting Michael Jackson for the night’s big trophy to Green Day’s “21 Guns” in our live blog.