LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Adam Lambert was kicked off one morning TV show and snapped up by a rival on Tuesday after his sexually-charged performance on a live music awards show made him one of the most risky and sought-after celebrities in the United States.
As media watchers debated the merit of his act at Sunday’s American Music Awards, the gay, glam rocker who finished as runner-up on TV show “American Idol” in May, saw downloads of his debut album soar online. Lambert also took to the airwaves to defend himself again, telling radio personality and “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest that he was “not a babysitter.”
Lambert caused a furor at the American Music Awards (AMAs) with a rendition of his debut single, “For Your Entertainment” that included simulating oral sex and kissing a male keyboard player.
The ABC television network, which got more than 1,500 complaints after broadcasting the awards show, canceled Lambert’s scheduled Wednesday appearance on its “Good Morning America” news and talk show.
“Given his controversial American Music Awards performance, we were concerned about airing a similar concert so early in the morning,” an ABC News spokesperson said on Tuesday.
But CBS rival “The Early Show” booked Lambert for Wednesday morning. It said the singer would perform live and discuss his AMA appearance, parts of which were cut when the show aired later Sunday on the U.S. West Coast.
Lambert, who is promoting his first album, titled “For Your Entertainment,” will also appear as planned on the CBS “Late Show with David Letterman” on Wednesday night.
The singer said he respected but did not agree with ABC’s decision to drop him. “They probably had a lot of pressure coming at them from certain people who weren’t happy about it,” he told Seacrest, Tuesday.
Lambert admitted he got carried away by the adrenaline of being on stage. “I don’t feel I owe anyone an apology for anything. I performed, it was late night TV, I did something that female performers have been doing for years, no different. It’s just the fact that I’m me and it’s a little different for people. It’s really not that big of a deal.”
Lambert gained a huge following on “Idol” with his flamboyant costumes and vast vocal range. But he is now taking his first steps as a solo artist in the music business that is enduring a decade-long tailspin. U.S. album sales so far this year are down about 13 percent from the same period in 2008.
But one day after its release on Monday, Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment” from Sony Music, soared to No.4 on Apple’s iTunes album charts overtaking the soundtrack to the “Twilight” movie sequel “New Moon”.
Media watchdog the Parents Television Council urged its members to complain to ABC, the corporate sponsors of the American Music Awards, and the Federal Communications Commission, which can impose fines on network broadcasters for airing indecent, obscene and profane material.
Apart from U.S. states in the central time zone — such as Oklahoma, Iowa and Illinois — Lambert’s performance was aired outside the 6 am-10pm period in which the FCC considers children are likely to be watching.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte