Adam Lambert Recalls The Stage Stunt He Was Penalized For

Adam Lambert recently joined an interview with Jordin Silver of Audacy and revealed that ABC temporarily banned him after he kissed one of his musicians and did some ‘suggestive choreography’ with one of his dancers while performing at the 2009 American Music Awards.

It was the night’s finale show when Lambert performed his debut single ‘For Your Entertainment’ at the AMAs. It turned into a controversial performance when ABC received many complaints due to the singer’s same-sex kiss and suggestive moves. After that, he was temporarily banned from ABC, and his upcoming appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Good Morning America were also canceled.

While talking about how things changed for the gay community since his debut on the music scene, Lambert said that except for notable names like Elton John and George Michael, there weren’t many gay men around when he first entered the industry. However, he knew that things were changing. Although he was excited to be a part of a new wave, it was also confusing at some points because he didn’t know where the boundaries were.

Then, he recalled his 2009 performance at the AMAs, where he realized that people were not ready to see that kind of a thing on a mainstream level. Being penalized for it was the actual shocking moment for the singer. Later during the chat, the host asked Lambert his opinions on whether there was a difference in how guys and girls were portrayed. The musician said there was certainly a double standard, as he recalled Madonna, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera’s kiss at the 2003 VMAs, which didn’t receive a negative response as his show.

Lambert’s words on how culture has changed for the gay community:

“When I came off of [American] Idol in 2009, so was that 13 years ago. It was like a totally different landscape. We had the kind of legends like Elton and George Michael at that point. George Michael was outed, but we had a few out people like k.d. lang and Mellisa Etheridge. You had these staples, but when I was doing the radio scene, there weren’t any gay men, and it was kind of like, ‘Okay.’

I was excited because I knew I was part of a new wave and a new time. I knew that things were changing, and that was exciting, but it was also sort of confusing because I was like, ‘I don’t really know how this is supposed to work, and I don’t really know what the boundaries are for me to like live in between.’

I found out very quickly that coming off of Idol right as I released my first single a year later, doing a performance on an award show that ended up being too risque for people, and that was like a big eye-opening moment where I was like, ‘Oh, right. Okay, people are not ready for that on a mainstream level.’ In fact, I got in trouble for it. I was like, ‘Okay, I can understand people either like caring for it or not caring for it, but the fact that I got like penalized.’ That made me kind of go like, ‘Whoa, this is a whole other level.'”

When asked if there was a double standard in the way female and male artists were treated, Lambert replied:

“There was a double standard, and I noticed it. Basically, what happened on that show was I kissed one of my musicians, and I sort of did some suggestive choreography with one of the dancers. I remember saying, ‘Well, but wait, Madonna and Brittany and Christina just did that on the VMAs years ago. What’s the problem?’ It was like, ‘Well, no one wanted to say it was probably because they were women that no one cared about it.’

I was pulled off of GMA the next morning because that was the same network, and they were freaked out. I went over to a different morning show, and I was talking about it, and they showed the clip of Brittany and Madonna and Christina, and then they cut to a clip of me and the instrumentalist that I kissed, and our mouths were like censored.

It was like blurred out. I was like, ‘What?’ They went to a commercial break, and I was like, ‘What was that about?’ They were like, ‘What do you mean?’ I was like, ‘Why were we blurred out?’ They were like, ‘Oh, it is because it is more recent.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ So it was very interesting.”

So, his onstage kiss with one of his musicians, along with the choreography he performed, caused Adam Lambert to be temporarily banned from ABC. He returned to the AMAs two years later as a presenter, but still, it was a bothersome and eye-opening incident for the singer.