Adam Lambert's shocking announcement as runner-up of the eighth season of American Idol was a devastating blow for countless gays, but it inspired him to be one of the most exciting openly-gay performers of the late '00s and early '10s. Before Bad Bunny locked lips with his background dancer, there was Lambert making headlines for kissing his keyboardist at the 2009 American Music Awards, and it almost cost him.
While taking the stage at the 2023 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala to be honored for his role in Fairyland, the singer reflected on some pivotal moments in his career. "I did the kind of performance I’d seen since I was a teenager," Lambert recalled. "I want to be sexy and have dancers on stage, and I did a couple of suggestive moves with some of my dancers and an impromptu kiss with my bass player."
While it's not as shocking now, Lambert's stunt in the heat of the moment made some higher-ups very upset.
"The network was like, ‘How dare you?’ They banned me for a while. They threatened me with a lawsuit,” the American Idol alum recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s where we’re at.’"
While on his press run for the film over the weekend, Lambert also clarified a few things. Notably, he cleared the air after making headlines saying Theo James, who is straight, should not play George Michael, who is gay, in an upcoming biopic. "My actual comment was a straight actor playing a gay icon. I by no means think that gay characters can only be played by gay actors,” Lambert said at the Variety Studio presented by Audible at Sundance. “That would be ridiculous. Case in point: Scoot’s brilliant performance in [Fairyland]."
He also reflected on the shocking upset when he lost to Kris Allen on American Idol when asked if he felt homophobia was to blame. "Probably. But it was 10 years ago. The thing about our film is that even though it takes place in the 1970s, there are so many ideas in it that are current. LGBTQ people are under attack again by the conservative part of our country."
The AMAs and the rampant homophobia he faced in the industry did not deter Lambert. "I’m going to be as gay as I fucking can be and be flamboyant and be wild, and if it gets me into trouble, it gets me into trouble. I’m not going to back down from it," he said in his speech at the Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala.
Photo courtesy of Angela Pham/BFA
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