A kiss is still a kiss

A kiss is still a kiss

In what some are calling the male version of Britney Spears’ 2003 tongue-wrestling match with Madonna during the “MTV Video Music Awards,” “American Idol” contestant-turned-pop star Adam Lambert planted a wet one on the lips of his – male – keyboardist during November 22nd’s “American Music Awards” broadcast on the ABC television network. Following a barrage of comments and complaints, the network owned by the Walt Disney Company canceled plans to air Lambert performing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” several days later. Network executives reported they had received about 1,500 complaints about Lambert’s performance, during which he kissed the male keyboard player and a male dancer placed his face in Lambert’s crotch.

In s statement, the network stated, “Given his controversial American Music Awards performance, we were concerned about airing a similar concert so early in the morning.” Although Lambert had rehearsed his performance for the AMAs several days before his performance, he told CNN afterwards that he hadn’t planned the kiss, which happened “in the moment.” ABC executives originally called the public response “moderate.” The singer, who is openly gay, said in an interview with radio host Ryan Seacrest he respects ABC’s decision. “They gotta do what they gotta do,” Lambert said. “It’s too bad, I think there were a lot of fans who were excited to come see me.” Lambert can afford to be generous: following the “GMA” cancellation, CBS’s “The Early Show” called to schedule an exclusive interview and live performance with Lambert. Lambert also performed on David Letterman’s “Late Show,” a gig that was previously scheduled.

A report from the Associated Press said that, “ABC had seen Lambert in rehearsals and knew some of what he had planned, but not the extent. Top ABC News management made the decision to cancel Lambert, spokeswoman Cathie Levine said. She said there was no pressure from the parent Walt Disney Co.” Provocative dancing and sexed-up body language is certainly nothing new in the world of entertainment and live performances, and neither is the moral outrage directed towards it. During the 1950s and ’60s, Elvis Presley’s pelvis gyrations and suggestive hip moves weren’t shown “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which only let the King’s body be shot from the waist up so as not to offend audiences in Middle America. And Sullivan required the Rolling Stones to change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “let’s spend some time together.” Clearly, broadcast standards have loosened quite a bit.

Among the strongest objections to Lambert’s performance came from the conservative advocacy group the Parents Television Council, which, in a statement, denounced it as “tasteless” and “vulgar,” and asked members to register their complaints with ABC television, along with Dick Clark Productions and the program’s advertisers. Others called ABC’s decision hypocritical, and said the network is using different standards for the onstage behavior of male and female performers. Lambert himself told The Los Angeles Times after the “American Music Awards” broadcast, “It’s a shame. Female entertainers have been risqué for years. Honestly, there’s a huge double standard.”

– Boomer