Openly gay Idol Adam Lambert had promised that his American Music Awards performance of "For Your Entertainment" would be "sexy," and he delivered. More than 1,500 parents called ABC to complain about the performance, in which Lambert simulated on-stage oral sex with one male dancer, led another on a dog leash, and kissed his male pianist, while equally unclothed female dancers clawed at his body. Did Lambert's "sensationalist" performance go too far, or too gay — and alienate his Idol fanbase? (Watch Adam Lambert's performance at the AMAs)

Where’s the outrage when it’s girl-on-girl? Adam Lambert’s “crotch-central action” isn’t anything new, says Jim Farber in the New York Daily News, at least for female performers. We’ve seen plenty of it “from Madonna, Britney, Janet,” and countless other women. I say, “bull’s-eye Adam” — I’m glad you “tried to even up the score between mainstream depictions of man-on-man action and gal-on-gal.”
“Adam Lambert AMA performance: Why he struck a nerve where Madonna, Britney didn’t”

Lambert offended all my senses: I don’t care that Adam Lambert is gay, says conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. His “ear-splitting, migraine-inducing, banal, and bottom of the barrel” AMA performance “was just gross.” He promised “sexy,” but what’s sexy about “desperation draped in glitter drenched in liquid eyeliner smothered in hairspray”?
“Adam Lambert at the AMAs: Bottom of the barrel”

Lambert pushed the envelope knowingly and hilariously: Maybe you didn't get the joke, says Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly. "As a TV viewer, I thought Lambert’s performance was a gas, a delight, a blast of brash vulgarity in the midst of merely ordinary vulgarity." It's as if he were saying, "Isn't it funny to lead human beings around on leashes and can you believe how high I got my hair to stand up under these lights?"
"In defense of Adam Lambert: As a TV event, he was splendid"

It was a total misfire: No, Lambert's "post-sexy" performance had a "manufactured, mean edge," says Rachel Sklar at Mediaite, which is disappointing for fans of all persuasions who love Lambert's "thrilling, sexy self." Lambert is still capable of "[Lady] Gaga-esque" greatness, "as soon as he — and his team — trusts himself" to achieve it.
"Gaga and Glambert: Post sexy"

Lambert was worse than bad — he was cliche: Lambert’s “four minutes of simulated sex and bondage” didn’t cross the line, says The Boston Globe in an editorial. But Lambert did, when he started treating “the right to simulate sex on TV” as a gay civil rights issue. “The staging of yet another highly suggestive performance at yet another award show isn’t a political statement for equality,” it’s a hackneyed “publicity tool.
“Television: Two standards, or too racy?”


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