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November 27, 2014

Top TV Moment of 2009: Adam Lambert's AMAs Shocker

by Sharon Knolle, posted Dec 8th 2009 9:00AM
Maybe 'American Idol' voters got it right: Adam Lambert with his guyliner, black fingernail polish, questionable sexuality and over-the-top theatricality, was simply too much to handle. Midway through 'Idol', he proved he could tame his wild child in a gorgeous, hushed version of 'Mad World,' that earned a rare standing ovation from prickly Simon Cowell. Even critics sat up and realized, hey, this kid can do more than scream. Maybe 'American Idol' voters got it right: Adam Lambert with his guyliner, black fingernail polish, questionable sexuality and over-the-top theatricality, was simply too much to handle. Midway through 'Idol', he proved he could tame his wild child in a gorgeous, hushed version of 'Mad World,' that earned a rare standing ovation from prickly Simon Cowell. Even critics sat up and realized, hey, this kid can do more than scream.

His post-'Idol' debut at the 'American Music Awards' on Nov. 23 proved far more controversial -- and thrillingly entertaining -- than anything he'd done on the stage of the Kodak Theatre.

"Can you handle what I'm about to do?" goes the line in his first single, 'For Your Entertainment,' and the resounding answer was "No!" Lambert" later admitted he got "carried away" in the moment, shocking the live audience as he ground his pelvis into a male dancer's face and grabbed a male keyboardist for an impromptu lip lock. In mere moments, Lambert, who closed out the show, managed to upstage every single diva who'd performed that night, including Whitney Houston and Rihanna, who were both making their much-hyped comebacks.

ABC edited out the simulated oral sex and blurred the boy-boy kiss for the West Coast broadcast, but that didn't affect the fallout. Lambert's performances on ABC's Good Morning America' and 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' were promptly canceled. On CBS's 'The Early Show,' Lambert shrugged off the criticism, saying, "I'm not a babysitter. I'm a performer," and pointed out that no one had blurred out the girl-girl kisses Madonna gave Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards

It looked like Lambert might have killed his career before it even got going, but if you need any more proof that controversy sells, his debut album sold more than 225,000 copies, while 'Idol' winner Kris Allen, who remained as adorably clean-cut as ever, had moved a mere 80,000 units.

Lambert continues to be a red-hot draw: He'll perform on the 'So You Think You Can Dance' December 16 finale. But although he's being welcomed back by ABC, he's being handled with gloves: His upcoming appearance on 'The View' will be taped, not live, "because people seem to be afraid of what he'll do," Barbara Walters said on this morning's show.

Hear that, Glambert? You're the equivalent of a wild animal on stage. No one is sure what you'll do next, but we wouldn't dream of looking away.



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