Was Adam Lambert's Censored AMAs Performance More Provocative Because He's a Man?
After his sexually-charged AMAs performance was censored on the West Coast, Adam Lambert complained, "In a way that's discrimination. I don't mean to get political, but Madonna, Britney and Christina weren't edited...Female entertainers have been risqué for years. Honestly, there's a huge double standard." While I agree that people should freak out less when gays or innuendo or "controversy" creep into primetime establishments like the American Music Awards, I've got less sympathy for Lambert's claim that female performers get away with similar antics all the time. As a curated history of award show performances proves, the most scandalous chanteuses reserve their insidiousness for basic cable, not CBS.
All discussions about provocative women at award shows begin with Madonna. The mother of reinvention titillated at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards with her floor-humping rendition of "Like a Virgin," bared her giant underwear in a Marie Antoinette-inspired performance of "Vogue" in 1990, then donned a dinner jacket and exchanged brief kisses with "virgin brides" Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera in 2003. But the MTV marquee links all of these instances, and a search of Madonna's network performances returns safe Grammy renditions of "Nothing Really Matters," "Music," and "Hung Up." Lambert can claim the Material Matriarch has been controversial, but he can't claim that she's rattled the viewership of productions like the American Music Awards with blowjob choreography.
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