All week long leading up to the AMAs, there was a massive amount of megahype surrounding Adam's first televised performance of his single "For Your Entertainment"--in the AMAs' coveted "pimp spot" (to use an well-worn Idol phrase), closing the show. All the speculation regarding how he'd pull it off seemed a little odd to me, since really, if anyone wanted to get an idea of how he'd do, all they had to do was just rewatch any of his American Idol performances, right? It's not like the man ever had less than total command of the stage, or inexperience performing under pressure on live TV. Plus the AMAs this year were held at the Nokia Theater, the same place where he so memorably practically upstaged Kiss and Queen on Idol finale night. Why was there ever any doubt that Adam would kill it on the AMAs?
But maybe the hype was just a little too much, even for Adam. Before every commercial break during the AMAs broadcast, for nearly three hours, the announcer was hyping Adam, intoning: "Get ready for the performance that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and HAVE YOU SEEING GOD and MAKE YOU GET STIGMATA and ALTER THE STATE OF POP MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT and BLOW YOUR DANG MIND TO SMITHEREENS and MAKE YOU GO GET A FULL-BODY LAMBERT TATTOO and SHAVE HIS NAME INTO THE SIDE OF YOUR HEAD." Well, I paraphrase, but you get the idea. The whole intention of this performance, obviously, was to get people talking on the all-important eve of Adam's album release. Glambert always gets people talking, after all. It's just what he does.
But obviously Idol is over, and Adam's been letting his fully unfurled freak-flag fly high ever since, whether he's gluing rhinestones on his eyelids, dodging airborne brassieres and adult novelties onstage, making out with women in the pages of Details, or granting shockingly frank interviews about his personal life that'd render even Cowell speechless. Season 8 of Idol wrapped up in May, but people haven't stopped talking about Adam Lambert since. And they'll certainly be talking about his AMAs sexed-up spectacle tomorrow (seriously, it made "Ring Of Fire" look like a David Archuleta performance)...but will they be saying positive things? I am not so sure.
Still, keep in mind that detractors have been warning that Adam might be "destroying" his career for months now--when he performed his risky "Ring Of Fire" cover, when he came out as gay in Rolling Stone while posing with a green trouser snake, when he gyrated like a Chippendale's himbo on the Idols Live Tour, when he released an album cover so glittery that if the camera had panned out to a wide shot it probably would have been revealed that Adam was straddling a unicorn, etc. But so far, none of this has slowed his momentum...if we are to judge his career in terms of media coverage, Twitter hyperactivity, and office breakroom chatter, that is.
We'll just have to wait for next week's sales figures to see if Adam's AMAs performance was a career killer, or if it was the launch of a promising new superstar. My hope is it was the latter, and that his loyal fans will have his (spiky-shouldered) back this time.
- Adam Lambert
- Kris Allen
- American Music Awards