Adam Lambert's sexually-charged act draws complaints

Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:53pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC television said on Monday it had received about 1,500 complaints about the sexually-charged performance by "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert at the American Music Awards on Sunday.

Millions of viewers saw Lambert simulate oral sex with a back-up dancer, plant a passionate kiss on the mouth of a male keyboard player and gesture to the audience with his middle finger during the closing act of the live music awards show.

Lambert, 27, said his goal was "not to piss people off, it was to promote freedom of expression and artistic freedom".

ABC cut the most controversial part of his act -- Lambert rubbing the face of a male dancer in his crotch -- from the U.S. West Coast telecast that aired later on Sunday.

But by then, the singer's racy rendition of his debut single "For Your Entertainment" was already on its way to becoming one of the most provocative TV moments in the music industry since Madonna and Britney Spears kissed on the MTV Video Music Awards show in 2003.

American Music Awards producers, Dick Clark Productions, said they were unaware from rehearsals what Lambert had planned. "We did not expect the impromptu moments," a spokeswoman told Reuters.

An estimated 14.2 million viewers watched the "American Music Awards" telecast, the largest audience since 2002, ABC said, based on preliminary viewing figures.

Lambert, 27, who publicly declared he was gay after "American Idol" ended in May, said his act with dancers in bondage costumes, was no different from the erotic performances of some female pop singers. He added that much of the sexual energy he brought to Sunday's show was "in the moment."   Continued...

<p>Adam Lambert (C) and dancers perform "For Your Entertainment" at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, November 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>