“Is it that big a deal?” Adam Lambert asked Barbara Walters on The View this morning, after the umpteenth question about his sexuality, his AMAs performance and whether he would go on a mad crotch-thrusting rampage before the daytime-TV cameras this morning.
Well, of course it’s not that big a deal—pop musicians use sex, duh—and of course he knows it is that big a deal, in that it’s the reason he’s on The View this morning at all, generating more exposure for For Your Entertainment.
The meta-joke of the whole Adam Lambert “scandal” is that Lambert is enough of a professional to know why he’s the object of attention (however surprised he acts). And also that anyone who books him knows that he’s enough of a professional not to go sex-mad on a morning talk show (as opposed to 11 o’clock at night in a concert), however much they treat him like Ed Sullivan did Elvis.
But if there is a bit of theater to this whole thing, from beginning to end, Lambert has one fact on his side, which is that there is an actual issue here—about how gays are treated in mainstream culture—and he is generally on the right side of it. Raunchy and knowingly provocative as his AMA gig was, there was a double standard, period, and the fact that he may have intended to trigger that double standard makes it no less worth criticizing.
To his credit, though, Lambert made his points with a smile, not getting too sanctimonious over what is a silly blow-up about a pop performance. The View hosts seemed to recognize the silliness of it—and ABC’s reaction, which included bumping Lambert from Good Morning America—noting that his AMA blow-up led ABC to force them to interview Lambert on tape. Presumably with guards standing off camera with tranq-dart rifles, lest he go gay-crazy. “Protect your children, people!” he joked.
Later in the interview, Joy Behar (who took his side on the double-standard charge) quipped about his public image, “You’re not exactly a nice Jewish boy, let’s face it, Adam.” His answer: “Well, I’m a little different. My dreidel spins the other way.”
Then after commercial, he got another, chaste network-TV performance to promote his album. Making the AMAs, for this Jewish boy, the Hanukkah gift that keeps on giving.