Monday, 3 May 2010

Big Gay Monday: Adam Lambert.

You make me wanna listen to music again.

With American Idol constantly churning out edgy, boundary-pushing acts like Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks and David Archuleta, it was only a matter of time before someone like Adam Lambert came along. As if the onstage camaraderie of previous American Idol alumni wasn't enough, on last year's series Adam Lambert burst from nowhere to push the envelope further than it had ever been pushed on American Idol before. His album's finally out in the UK today, so this Big Gay Monday let's all bow down to Adam Lambert.

Following several flamboyant performances on American Idol, and just as Adam was announced as a finalist, pictures of him kissing boys took the internet by storm. You heard me right. Kissing. Boys. Wisely, Adam decided to keep schtum about them all and let the music do the talking instead. This was a clever decision, because as well as being very, very gay Adam is very, very talented. Just to really emphasise this important point, let's contrast his performance of Mad World on last year's American Idol (note the standing ovation from Simon Cowell, how frequently do you see that?) with Jedward's twincestuous performance of Oops!...I Did It Again on last year's X Factor (which managed to raise a standing ovation from Louis Walsh, just not in any place you can see).

My baby clothes were made of leather and lace.

Adam eventually ended up one of the final two contestants on last year's American Idol and officially came out of the closet in an interview with Rolling Stone which dropped the week of the final (seriously, folks, how many X Factor contestants are we ever going to see on the front cover of Ray Quinn? Same Difference? Andy the fucking Binman?) Eventually Kris Allen won that series in what can only be described as AMERICA VOTING FOR A BLOODY BORING STRAIGHT MAN RATHER THAN A FABULOUS GAY, which is a shame as Adam Lambert is a really tremendous talent. In hindsight, though, it's probably a good thing he didn't win. The idea of him singing a pile of wank winner's single and having the rest of his career dictated by Simon Cowell is actually a bit nauseating.

Anyway, Adam Lambert is fantastic for a number of reasons. For one thing, he brought homosexuality into the mainstream (even if he didn't win) and into the living rooms of American Idol viewers for a short while. While obviously calling the entertainment industry homophobic is a bit of a sweeping statement with nothing to back it up, it's fair to say that as a general public we are much more comfortable watching Mika bouncing about the place or a frumpy woman taking the arm of Gok Wan than a man like Adam Lambert in a same-sex liplock.

Which brings me to another point where, if you ask me, there is a strange bit of sexism going on these days. We're far more comfortable watching beautiful women like Rihanna and Christina being aggressively sexual than we are a gay man. The old double-standard of women not being seen as sexual unless they're objectified is definitely on its way out, and in its place is this new double-standard for gay men. We're happy to buy their records and have them host our chat shows, but watching them getting on with their relationships or being sexual is another matter altogether. Look at Mika's We Are Golden video, which will forever be known as the video that ended his career. Adam Lambert saw that and tried to challenge it but it didn't go very well...

Can you handle what I'm 'bout to do?

Adam Lambert's comeback performance was at the American Music Awards 2009. This was totally post-VMAs so the night was essentially a three-hour opportunity to kiss Taylor Swift's arse. Rihanna did a horrible performance, Jennifer Lopez fell on her arse and Lady GaGa smashed vodka bottles off a flaming piano wearing a light-up spinal cord. All in all a pretty standard night in the music biz. America had been waiting to see what Adam Lambert would come up with left to his own devices. And what he came up with was this:

It was the performance that had it all; boys kissing boys, dancers faking fellatio on reality TV contestants, comedy falling over that was made to look deliberate. Unfortunately America did not see it as the marvel that it was. Instead it went down like a lead kite. Like a sack of shite. Like a lead kite landing in a sack of shite. A lead kite being flown by Lisa Scott-Lee into a sack of shite being held by all three members of Atomic Kitten. Several shows cancelled planned appearances and when the clip was aired on the news the next day the same-sex kiss was blurred. Apparently the news can't even show two men kissing, yet in the same news broadcast an archive clip of Britney Spears and Madonna was shown in its uncut form.

Adam Lambert is one of those fabulous performers who's bringing us further forward by holding up a mirror and showing how stuck in our ways we still are. He's a representative of the modern gay man in the music industry. His celebrity fans include Lady GaGa, Perez Hilton and Boy George. He's risky and theatrical and attention-seeking while still managing to be quite cheeky about the whole thing. Ontop of that, he is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. And when it comes down to it, isn't that the most important thing of all? Yes. Yes it is.

Check out: For Your Entertainment (please watch this video, it's incredible), If I Had You, Whataya Want From Me?

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