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Lambert’s AMA performance disgraces modern pop culture

By Matt Metzler, Entertainment Editor

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The American Music Awards are a parody of nearly every aspect of our country’s pop culture.

This shouldn’t be a very shocking statement if you’ve followed the awards show at all. This year’s results are especially telling. Taylor Swift winning Artist of the Year as well as Favorite Female Artist in Pop-Rock, Country and Adult Contemporary? How does that work? Shouldn’t they just pick one? Michael Jackson posthumously winning both Favorite Male Artist and Album in Pop-Rock, the latter for a mere compilation of his greatest hits? I know he was planning his big comeback tour and everything before he passed away, but you can’t honestly tell me that he would’ve won those awards this year had he not suffered from such an unexpected (and well-publicized) death.

But personally, I wasn’t too bothered by the selection of winners. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. The popular music scene in our country has been pathetic and embarrassing for a number of years now, so it makes sense that its awards show would be equally pathetic and embarrassing. What really got under my skin, though, was the show’s closing performance by American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert.

I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t watch the AMAs while they were airing. In fact, Lambert’s performance is the only piece of this year’s show that I’ve seen, and I only watched it because I heard it was atrocious. I won’t judge the entire show on his performance alone, because that wouldn’t be fair. But after watching this performance, I’m avoiding the rest of the show like the plague.

Like most Americans, I’m a casual fan of “American Idol.” I enjoy the auditions at the beginning of each season and gradually lose interest as the competition progresses, only to regain it on the night of the finale. And last season, I was pumped for Adam Lambert to win. Sure, he had his off moments – do you remember that legitimately frightening rendition of Ring of Fire? – but most of the time, he was the most entertaining performer of the night, and his vocals were flawless. 

I was in disbelief when he lost to Kris Allen, but I figured, in the long run, it was probably for the best. The runners-up aren’t quite as chained to the franchise as the winners are, and Lambert definitely struck me as the type of performer who could benefit from branching out and exploring a little.

But I never expected him to branch out in this direction.

If you haven’t seen the performance, go ahead and seek it out online, but be prepared for the worst. In only four minutes, Lambert manages to do the following (in chronological order): drag a female dancer across the floor by her ankle; walk a half-naked male dancer on all fours around on a leash made of ribbons; shove another male dancer’s head into his crotch, then walk up a set of stairs and do the same to a female dancer; throw himself down to the ground and roll over like a dog; straddle his microphone stand; grope around between the legs of a barely clothed female dancer doing a pole-dance above him; and, for the big finale, stop singing in mid-chorus in order to shove his mouth onto the face of his male keyboardist for a quick, disgustingly rough make-out session.

“Do you like what you see?” he sings.

I think I’d like to go blind.

I don’t care that he’s gay. Our country’s pop culture needs to be shaken of its homophobia and sexual stereotypes. So in a certain respect, I’m almost glad he’s gay. Or rather, I was glad. Until he perpetuated virtually every popular stereotype about homosexuality on national television in front of millions of viewers. Flamboyant attitude and self-indulgent image? Check. Feminine appearance and a thick coat of cosmetics? Check. Uninhibited, in-your-face sex drive? Check.

Restraint? Decency? Respect? No? None at all?

The song he performed is the first single from his debut album, called For Your Entertainment. Tell me this isn’t what our society views as entertainment, please. He treated his dancers like indecent props. He paraded around like an egomaniac and forced his sexuality onto everyone watching. He ripped all the attention away from the music and redirected it to himself and his controversial choreography. I’ve watched the performance twice now and I still can’t recall a single lyric or hook, because he made it impossible to actually listen to the song.

He did succeed in one thing, however – he gave our country’s homophobes another excuse to hold on tight to their prejudices. I sure hope this publicity stunt was the end of Lambert’s 15 minutes of fame, because the last thing American pop culture needs right now is another piece of gaudy, self-obsessed scum reinforcing negative stereotypes.

1 Comment

One Response to “Lambert’s AMA performance disgraces modern pop culture”

  1. Kayla Thomas on November 24th, 2009 4:19 pm

    Matt, I agree. I have yet to look this up, but from the highlights on the news, I can see what you’re talking about. This is ridiculous. Our country’s taste in real music is now dead. I’m afraid it will never come back. There will be boy band after boy band, terrible female singer after terrible female singer; the cycle will never end! I really did like this article. Great job, Matt.

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Lambert’s AMA performance disgraces modern pop culture