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Adam Lambert is surprised. The networks are surprised. I'm not surprised.


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It might seem a bit early to start handicapping next year's Emmys, but the Smirking Little Liar Most In Need Of A Hard Slapping category has already been wrapped up. Adam Lambert's performance Wednesday morning on the CBS Early Show belongs right up there with "I did have sex with that woman" and "I am not a crook" in terms of grotesque televised untruthfulness.

Defending his performance on ABC's weekend telecast of the American Music Awards-- among other things, he simulated fellatio with a male dancer -- Lambert swore that he was shocked, shocked that anyone thought it wasn't suitable for primetime broadcast TV, even as he admitted concealing the moves during rehearsals the week before.

"I wasn't being sneaky," Lambert insisted, barely able to keep from laughing at his own words. Kids watching? "It never crossed my mind." Oh, by the way, he hopes that the fact that he pretended to have sex on live television won't lead to any inferences about his character or his act: "I hope that people don't put me into a box saying, oh, he's nasty."

Whether Lambert was lying or merely demonstrating abject stupidity when he claimed that he's the victim of discrimination for being 1) male and 2) gay is, I suppose, open to debate. Plenty of straight male performers have have run afoul of broadcast standards on sexual material, going clear back to Elvis Presley's suddenly invisible hips on The Ed Sullivan Show five decades ago. (Not to mention Mick Jagger being forced to alter change Let's Spend The Night Together to Let's Spend Some Time Together.) And the FCC is still coming after CBS over Janet Jackson's infamous costume failure at the Super Bowl five years ago.

Of course, Lambert's not the only liar here. The propensity of show business figures -- particularly those in the music industry -- to hijack live television performances in order to score cheap publicity for sleazy language or behavior is now established beyond the shadow of a doubt. It's time for network bosses to stop exclaiming how surprised they are every time somebody like Lambert exploits the platform that they happily provide.

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