It takes some musicians years to stockpile enough anecdotes worthy of a Behind The Music rockumentary, but American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert just managed to do so record time, following a classic rise/fall/redemption story arc in just one week.
The saga began last Sunday at the American Music Awards, when Adam--an unknown less than a year ago, before he became the breakout star of American Idol season 8--was primed to be the breakout star of the awards telecast. It was supposed to be his big night, with his first televised performance of his new single "For Your Entertainment" closing the big show. It was a classic rock 'n' roll Cinderella story of overnight stardom.
But then, something went wrong. An "in the moment" Adam got "carried away" (his words) during his raunchy performance--which, in case you missed it, featured a same-sex smooch, dancers on leather leashes, a whole lot of R-rated groping, and one especially outrageous unrehearsed dancer-interaction. All of this left blindsided camera crew members scrambling to quick-cut to widescreen audience reaction shots and panicked staffers in the editing bay working overtime to cut out "offensive" scenes for the show's tape-delayed broadcasts. By the end of the whole spectacle, the live audience was sitting in semi-silent shock as Adam flipped the bird, and roughly 1,500 irate viewers flooded the ABC switchboard with complaints. It appeared that on the biggest night of his life, during his important make-or-break performance, Adam Lambert had blown it.
The fallout continued later in the week, when it was announced that Adam's free Wednesday concert on Good Morning America has been cancelled, reportedly because ABC--the same network that aired Adam's controversial AMAs performance--was skittish that he might pull the same stunts that landed ABC in hot water Sunday night. A rep for GMA told TV Newser: "Given his controversial live performance on the AMAs, we were concerned about airing a similar concert so early in the morning."
But then, this whole tale had a rising-from-ashes happy ending. CBS rival morning program The Early Show promptly swooped up Adam for its Wednesday episode; the scandal only seemed to spike sales for Adam's debut album, For Your Entertainment, with him now predicted to sell an impressive 225,000 units in his first week; he delivered tamer Early Show and Letterman performances that were well-received by the public, establishing that it's not all about shock tactics with him; and he became a free-speech cause célèbre as he pointed out the double-standard that his performance had generated far more controversy than similarly racy displays by heterosexual female AMA performers.
So maybe he knew what he was doing all along. Regardless, it was one crazy week for Adam Lambert.
The American Music Awards had other crazy moments, however. Jennifer Lopez's comeback performance was marred when she fell during a jumping stunt (though she handled the incident well, that too was edited out of the West Coast broadcast). Lady Gaga stole the show with a performance that included her smashing a glass emergency case to get to her piano and then smashing whiskey bottles throughout her song, but later lost the Breakthrough Artist award to relative unknowns Gloriana. Rihanna gave her first televised U.S. performance since her Chris Brown assault scandal. Whitney Houston delivered another disappointing performance, but won some sort of lifetime achievement award anyway. Sentimental favorite Michael Jackson won two posthumous awards for Number Ones, a best-of collection that actually came out in 2003. And Taylor Swift won five awards, including Artist Of The Year, a category in which she beat out Michael Jackson himself.
On the subject of subpar Whitney Houston performances, the fallen diva continued to disappoint when she sang, or attempted to sing, on the Tuesday night finale of Dancing With The Stars. Her loss of vocal power was especially noticeable when she performed her '80s hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," as her hoarse vocals were definitely not up to the standard set by the original hit recording. For many fans, it was quite depressing, and many critics suggested Whitney would be better off retiring for good.
And in additional Jennifer Lopez news, her first ex-husband Ojani Noa asserted that the footage in his video How I Married Jennifer Lopez: The J.Lo and Ojani Noa Story is just a collection of their happy times together, and there is nothing X-rated on the DVD despite J.Lo's repeated injunctions to stop its release. "They think I have [an explict] tape with her and that I'm trying to sell it," he said. "My tape is from our honeymoon, the wedding, us hanging out. There's no nudity....I'm not going to harm anybody. I'm a great guy." (Editor's note: We expect sales of the video to plummet now. So J.Lo gets the last laugh anyway.)
In other diva-related marriage/divorce news, Britney Spears is said to be devastated after she went down on one knee to pop the question to her boyfriend, her manager Jason Trawick, and was reportedly turned down. "Have you ever really loved somebody? Have you ever really been hurt by somebody?" she asked her audience in Australia after this romantic rejection. After an annulment in 2004 from Jason Alexander after their quickie Vegas wedding, and her very public divorce from Kevin Federline in 2007, it seems Britney's luck in love has not improved.
And finally, in other proposal news, there is some confusion surrounding British pop star Robbie Williams and his actress girlfriend, Ayda Field. Robbie supposedly popped the question to Ayda live on Australian radio Friday, but his spokesman later said it was all a joke: "He did say it, but in a jocular manner. They are not engaged." However, Robbie's mother then told BBC's Radio 5: "I'm very excited. I'm really pleased. They've been together for nearly three years, so it's about time." So it is still unclear when Robbie will be sashaying down the aisle any time soon.
Perhaps we will find out next week. Come back next Friday for more music news, and until then, have a great long Thanksgiving weekend.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:
1) Adam Lambert Shocks At The AMAs - Did he go too far this time, or was this a genius PR stunt?
2) The American Music Awards Are Taylor Made - The country princess wins five awards, even beating Michael Jackson.
3) Whitney Houston Does Not Know Her Own Vocal Strength - Her hoarse performances on the AMAs and Dancing With The Stars disappoint.
4) Oops, She Didn't Get Married Again - Britney Spears's marriage proposal is reportedly rejected by her boyfriend.
5) J.Lo Ex Sinks To New Low? - Lopez's first husband denies he is trying to sell an explicit tape featuring his former wife's famous curves.
6) Take That Star Takes Back Proposal? - Robbie Williams claims his on-air marriage proposal was just a joke.
7) Usher Not Ushering Out New Album Soon - The release date for Raymond is delayed.
8) Muppets Honor Mercury - The new puppet version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a viral sensation.
9) Fans Send Abba An S.O.S. - A poll reveals Abba is the band most people want to see reunite.
10) John & Edward Get Whammed On X Factor - The tone-deaf twins "Jedward" are voted off the British talent show after covering George Michael.