Glamberace stars in Risqué Business
In your Weekend Gay News, the Glamorous Gay Prince-in-Waiting of Pop known as Adam Lambert (or Glambert, as I like to call him) recently caused a ruckus of Madonna-esque proportions with his raunchy live performance of his first official single - the poetically-named "For Your Entertainment" - on ABC's recent American Music Awards.
In the Mad Max Goes To An S&M Dungeon sextravaganza, Glambert simulates oral sex with a kneeling male dancer on a leash, "kicks" a female dancer in her cameltoe, and laps tongues with his male keyboardist.
(Edit: Aha! Found a working clip. Not the full performance, but you can see the simulated bj in question at the 00:08 mark. And in case this one is pulled, you can make do with the CBS interview vid below.)
Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to grab the video before Dick Clark Productions yanked it off YouTube, but you can see snippets of it in this interview:
At any rate, the "edgy-sexuality" moves were more than enough to spur a backlash with the conservative American viewership, resulting in more than 1,500 irate calls to ABC, which had to blur out Glambert's "offensive" onstage moments for their West Coast telecast (I'm more offended that they also edited out J.Ho's pratfall, the cornballs.) Glambert's antics also cost him an appearance on Good Morning, America, whose producers feared that he might repeat his scandalous number before their viewers could spit out their morning coffee.
Is L'Affaire Lambert a tempest in a teapot?
I'm not a big A.I. or Glambert fan. He's a pretty boy with a good enough voice who has the potential for a Fatso McFatty future if he doesn't watch his donut intake. Nor am I a big fan of his guyliner, his glitter, or his archeological layers of Mac pancake, but hey! He's a performer, and they get a pass for looking outrageous, ridiculous, and borderline insane (Insert Cher, Liberace, Elton John, Madonna, Grace Jones, Xtina, Sasha Fierce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga here. And of course, let's not forget the late, lamented Michael Jackson.)
On a guesting on CBS' The Morning Show (video above), Glambert defended his performance, stating that "I'm not a babysitter. I'm a performer." He went on to say that he "got carried away" and disingenuously added that the simulated blowjob moments were "spontaneous." That was about as spontaneous as Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the SuperBowl, but whatever. All said, Glambert refused to apologize for his performance, and what struck me most about his interview was this statement:
"I think that if it had been a female pop performer doing the moves that were on the stage, I don't think there would be nearly as much of an outrage. At all. Like I said, there were other performers doing risque things. I think it's because I'm a gay male, and people haven't seen that before."
Interestingly, CBS itself proved him correct by airing clips of his blurred-out simulated bj moment, followed a few seconds later by Madonna lip-locking Britney and Christina at that famous MTV Awards performance - which they did not censor.
You can see this.
But not this.
CBS defended this selective censorship in a statement that said :
"The Madonna image is very familiar and has appeared countless times including many times on morning TV. The Adam Lambert image is a subject of great current controversy, has not been nearly as widely disseminated, and for all we know, may still lead to legal consequences."
Ah. So it's all right to show three hot women engaged in a faux-lesbian kiss, but not an openly gay man simulating oral sex onstage.
It's easy to conclude that it's a twisted kind of sexism. That it's ok for women to be seen engaging in kinkiness, but gay men's sexual shenanigans, simulated or not, are too repugnant to be shown to a civilized audience. But perhaps it's a matter of raciness. After all, you must remember this: a kiss is just a kiss. Take Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, that other notorious guyliner-loving boy-kisser :
Tongue out, boy, with Fall Out Boy.
Wentz' candid revelations about kissing boys and his famous "Anything above the waist is fair game" quip haven't undone his status as Fall Out Boy's most famous member. Of course, he's also married to Ashlee Simpson and the father to the unfortunately-named Bronx Mowgli, so Wentz, for all his boy-kissing, is reassuringly hetero enough. Enough to admit kissing other men in public, anyway, but just for shits and giggles, mind you. Because a kiss is just a kiss - unless you mean it. And just as he said in his Out interview : “I’m like the boy next door,” he quips, “but just a little bit off.”
But a blowjob, simulated or not, takes it to a whole other level.
Just like boobies:
"Boobs, I did it again!"
Remember Janet Jackson? She suffered considerable career backlash despite her public apology after her star titty decided it wanted some media exposure of its own, thus horrifying millions of viewers, children included, during that infamous SuperBowl halftime performance that will forever be known as "Nipplegate." But controversy slid off her accomplice Justin Timberlake like fried eggs on Teflon, so that certainly wasn't a touchdown for womankind. (On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the mob would've torn Timberlake to quivering pieces had he shown his man-tits instead - just because he's so damn ugly.)
But back to the more-openly gay pop tart. Glambert is correct in saying that other pop personalities before him have delivered much, much more outrageously-scandalous performances that raised the hackles of conservatives everywhere, thus generating controversy and much-valued buzz. But some critics slam him for not having enough star power yet to earn the right to pull off this kind of publicity stunt. Risqué, after all, is but French for risk, and established pop stars often take calculated ones to boost their careers - with varying results (see Nipplegate above.)
In 1984, this was considered scandalous.
But in the Age of YouTube , how are budding stars supposed to burst into supernovas on sheer talent alone? In the infancy of MTV, Madonna was a helium-voiced pop novelty act who was savvy enough to seize the new medium with open arms and legs, a shameless trailblazer pushing hot buttons and pulling stunts and sexually-charged innuendoes out of every orifice. The fact that her star continues to shine long after her contemporaries' have dimmed - based in no small part on her ability to generate tons of press - explains why her explosive but effective path has been trodden successfully by younger generations of pop superstars such as Britney and Lady Gaga. But note that these three non-blondes, while gayer than springtime in other aspects, are biological, straight women. Glambert, on the other hand, is a glittery gay unicorn unapologetically farting rainbows out his ass.
From a sparkly pop curiosity ("An openly-gay pop singer! How novel!"), Glambert is angling for a glimmer of genuine stardom and validity with the launching of his first single. With his controversial performance and the firestorm of debate it has sparked, he's certainly achieved a smidgen of notoriety, not to mention free and widespread publicity. The single itself is inconsequential at this point - personally, it sounded like something Britney rejected in favor of snorting more Cheetos. But ever since video killed the radio star, who gives a rat's ass about the music? The buzz - ah, that's the real deal.
To add more fuel to the Glambert fire, not all of gaydom is on his side. Before he officially came out in Rolling Stone , Glambert's initial coyness about his sexual orientation infuriated gay activists who wanted him to stop teasing, come out in the open, and become the poster boy of gay males everywhere. But what does his sexuality have to do with anything? Just because he's gay, does he have to be a role model for all gay youth? Even when he's canoodling with a woman in a magazine pictorial, the poor poofter can't catch a break:
Quelle horreur! Une femme et un pede!
When these photographs and interview for Details magazine came out, Glambert was excoriated for statements such as this:
"I am gay, but I like kissing women sometimes. Women are pretty. It doesn't mean I'm necessarily sleeping with them."
Even the press release for that issue saying that the American Idol runner-up talks about "getting bras thrown at him onstage, kissing gorgeous women, and living the American dream" was more covered in controversy than hickeys on your neck after a drunken Saturday night in Bed.
Things didn't turn out any better after Out magazine, in their annual list of 100 gay honorees, named him "Breakout of the Year"(and no, they weren't referring to his acne scars.) In their interview, Glambert was asked if he ever had sex with a woman, and was subsequently lambasted for trying to downplay his gayness. Excerpts below:
Are you toying with perception when you talk about how you could be bi-curious? Or are you generally attracted to women?
I will make out with a girl at a bar. I mean, after a couple of drinks.
[Laughing] That doesn’t make you any less gay. Get three mai tais in a gay boy and he’ll make out with a girl. Sex is something different.
That’s why I say I’m curious. There are gay guys that gag and go “eww” at the thought of having sex with a girl. I’m curious about it, because I’ve never done it.
Have you ever had any sex with a girl?
You went down on her?
Was it gross, or it was just not what you wanted?
It was a little gross because I don’t think she was as clean as she could’ve been. It wasn’t the act of it that really turned me off. I don’t really remember. I was 18 and I was drunk. Or maybe I was 17... The point of the matter is that I would not rule it out. The idea is intriguing.
And it’s threatening.
Well, it’s threatening personally because you start identifying as a certain thing for so long, the idea of kind of going outside of that is scary because you’re like, “But that’s who I am!” Being curious and embracing that curiosity is all a part of what I’m about. You don’t have to be any one thing. You can kinda just be. Just live your life -- and play.
Before the Rolling Stone coming-out, he was not-quite-gay. Then after the Details shoot, he was not gay enough. With the Out interview and his admission of having kissed a girl down there, he was pilloried for trying-not-to-be-gay. And now, with this American Music Awards debacle, Glambert has become too gay.
What's a poor guyliner-wearing ho to do? Being gay can be glamtastic. However, no one ever said it was easy.
But don't fret just yet over whether twinkling teardrops will make his mascara run. After all, as the old adage goes, "Good or bad, publicity is still publicity." And according to Reuters, thanks to the whole brouhaha, " "For Your Entertainment" was No. 3 on the iTunes U.S. album chart by Wednesday night. Music industry sources told Billboard magazine it is outperforming expectations and could sell about 225,000 units in its first week."
See? To quote yet another old adage: "Sex sells."
Even simulated sex from glittering gay unicorns.