As a nation, we seem to be okay with an openly gay man like Mr. Lambert singing angst-ridden eunuch ballads like "Mad World." And we really like it when he interprets sexually charged rock classics like “Whole Lotta Love,” and acts all rock star hot, albeit straight rock star. But really, people: To whom is Mr. Lambert going to give “every inch” of his love? He is an openly gay man and we get kind of queasy when he interprets a hypersexual ditty like "For Your Entertainment" and gives us some man-on-man action. His guy kiss was even blurred by the CBS Early Show. But Britney-Madonna? Guess girl-on-girl is hot.
We may never know the real motives for ABC’s decision. Maybe it was a combination of 1,500 viewer complaints out of an audience of 14 million (Dancing With the Stars reportedly gets more complaints), the power of the Parents Television Council (they actually thought one cancellation was overkill), or the legal shoutout to the FCC made by the Liberty Counsel, a non-profit conservative law firm closely associated with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, the polarizing evangelist who had it in for the purple Teletubby (the one who had a boy’s voice but carried a purse).
I don’t even quite understand why ABC is making nice now. They did get a pushback by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. And fans took to the Internet threatening a boycott of the network. So maybe this whole thing just boils down to money.
Mr. Lambert took his knocks with good grace. He said that he wishes he would have sung the song better (so do I) and that he didn’t want to disrespect anyone by a performance he admits may have been over the top. (He didn’t have to do that.)
But I can’t help but feel a little sad every time I see him singing another song from his debut album, the beautiful “Whataya Want from Me?" The only reasonable answer that I can come up with is: “We’re still trying to figure that out.”
Joan Raymond is a freelance journalist covering health and lifestyle issues. She has written for Newsweek, the New York Times, More and other national publications.