Before last Sunday, Adam Lambert was famous for two things: Being the first openly gay American Idol contestant and losing the Idol title he clearly should have won.
But after an over-the-top American Music Awards performance — he kissed his male keyboardist and participated in a simulated sex act — he’s suddenly become the most controversial artist in the music biz.
“I figured it would have got some reaction,” says Lambert on the phone from New York. “But I didn’t think it would get to this level.”
While the spiky-haired singer didn’t want to offend the AMA’s television audience, and he says it wasn’t pre-meditated, he does admit that he was “going with the motions, in the spirit of rock ’n’ roll and I was having a good time.”
His performance got him booted from a Good Morning America appearance, and he may have alienated some of his more wholesome fans, but if Lambert really was channeling the spirit of rock‘’n’ roll, he knows that controversy can do wonders for album sales.
His new disc, For Your Entertainment, was released earlier this week, so it’s too early to tell if his stunt has paid off at the cash register (is there any doubt?), but it may not have needed the extra boost. The disc is easily the most eclectic post-Idol record ever released. It pays homage to everyone from Queen and David Bowie to Lady Gaga, who co-wrote some tracks on the album.
The title tune, now known as that song from the AMAs, is full of sexual innuendo — “Can you handle what I’m ’bout to do? Cause it’s about to get rough for you,” he sings — but Lambert wants people to know that it’s the only hedonistic tune on the disc.
“That’s the one song on the album dealing with a sex thing,” says the articulate artist, almost defensively. “That’s the one thing I’m concerned about. I don’t want people to assume that’s the kind of artist I’m going to be.”
Problem is, it’s not the only sex-themed song. In the Gaga-penned Fever he sings about a threesome, and other songs can be taken a number of different ways. But really, who cares? Lambert’s done something that takes most other American Idol contestants at least two or three albums to do — he’s developed his own identity.
It may be a polarizing one, but he admits, that’s fine with him. “People love me or hate me and that’s the way it will be for the rest of my career,” he says.