What Lambertgate Did to My Cougar Crush

What do we really want from Adam Lambert?

By Joan Raymond • Guest Writer
Controversial cougar darling Adam Lambert
Photograph: Photo by FilmMagic

I heart Adam Lambert. There I said it. For a while I was ashamed of my Mrs. Robinson-like feelings for the guy. But after I blogged about his crush-worthiness for Newsweek, I got cards, letters and even some haiku from equally besotted cougar fans. They nearly broke my email.

Gay, shmay. Who cares? Lambert made us feel young. Every time I heard him sing I wanted to get a tat, fill my iPod with some old Bowie or Sex Pistols, maybe wear some glitter. Now, I’m feeling every year of my age. And my once heavily padded shoulders are more than a little droopy.

I’m blaming my ennui on Lambertgate, as many are calling the bizarrely draconian response to the singer’s recent American Musical Awards performance. That’s when Mr. Lambert warbled the hypersexual title track of his debut album, For Your Entertainment. It’s not a love song; it’s not even a good rock song. But if you want to go club hopping and dance, I guess it fits the bill. 

Mr. Lambert’s interpretation of the song during his AMA performance was one hot mess, vocally and aesthetically. I actually had to leave the room because I couldn’t watch such an über-talented singer devolve into a pop tart, channeling Dante’s seventh circle of hell. The impromptu man-on-man kiss and simulated fellatio made everything seem even more pathetic.

But the resulting brouhaha made me cringe even more than his performance.


Mr. Lambert was disinvited to three ABC shows: Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. I felt like I was living in an episode of Mad Men, circa 1963. It’s a time when characters like Sal Romano, a gay art director in a heterosexual marriage, are forced deeper and deeper into the closet simply to survive. Now, ABC is extending the olive branch and Lambert is making a taped appearance this week on The View.


I hated Mr. Lambert’s vocals, but his stage persona didn’t shock me. Straight entertainers have been swapping spit, grunting, grinding and generally sexing it up for years.

I lived through glam and punk and post-punk and even the spectacle of big-haired arena rock in which bouffant-coiffed musicians all made eyes at each other. I’m old enough to remember David Bowie giving some tongue to Mick Ronson’s guitar and/or loins in what is known as the “electric blowjob.” I remember Wendy O. Williams of Plasmatics fame simulating sex on stage wearing only shaving cream. I heard Lou Reed take a “Walk on the Wild Side,” singing about prostitution and drug use, and Prince crooning about that "Darling Nikki," who was masturbating with a magazine. For crying out loud, I remember the Red Hot Chili Peppers wearing nothing more than strategically placed socks.

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