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Monday, November 23, 2009

In Your Face, Man

What was I thinking? Of course this is what Adam Lambert wants to do. He was born in 1982! Pop music performances have been about flash, shock, bumping and grinding and techno-wizardry since he was a baby.

I watched the American Music Awards last night. Yup. The whole thing. Glambert’s act, and I do mean act, was the finale. It was interesting, and certainly busy, and Adam and the dancers were intense and energetic as hell. But most of them seemed really angry for some reason. Maybe I misunderstood, but since I couldn’t make out the lyrics, I went by the facial expressions, costumes, choreography, noise, stuff like that. Other acts were furious, too, though. Lady GaGa killed a piano. Dunno why.

JayZ and Alicia Keys did that neat New York song. I liked that and I understood that it was meant to connect to the audience and it did. Seemed like everyone had a good time during that one. But later on, when Alicia Keys did her single, her piano got lifted into the air with wires. I think it may have spun, too. Odd, that.

Jennifer Lopez had a prize-fighter thing going on for awhile, then she did a tricky on-stage costume change to a gold mini-dress with wide hips à la 18th century hoop petticoats. Or, maybe it was a Star Trek reference. Poor lady fell on her bottom. Given what the choreographer was going for with that move, I’m not surprised J Lo blew it.


Whitney Houston didn’t try to dance around, but she had this supposedly spontaneous moment of being too overcome with the adulation she was receiving, for finally getting her act together, to continue singing. The pause would have seemed less engineered if all the strings and what-not hadn’t stopped on a dime when she did. They knew just when to start up again, too.


You know who I liked? I liked Green Day. They played their instruments and sang their song. Oh, there were soaring flames going on behind them, but at least they had the front of the stage to themselves.

I haven’t been into country music since the inglorious end of my drinking days, but Keith Urban made me feel better for a few minutes and Kelly Clarkson sang her heart out and, hell, I’ll say it, maintained her dignity.

Anyways, back to Adam Lambert. See, I fell for him when he sang Mad World on American Idol. His voice made me catch my breath and come to a full stop as I was passing through the living room and I didn’t breathe again until he finished the song. He moved me to the extent that I watched AI every week after that and when he didn’t win, I felt almost as bad about America as I did the night Bush got re-elected. I’m not saying that makes much sense, but there you go.

Then, last night? Didn’t like the song, couldn’t hear it in fact, thought the S&M and sex stuff was stupid, wished to hell he’d stand still for a second and just sing, and his eye make-up was all wrong. He glared at the camera at the end of his song and his eyes looked crossed.

So the thing is, is I must be old. Am I old and easily shocked? Not so much. After all, men and women were naked on stage together in Hair in 1967. The Boys in the Band premiered in 1968. Do I sound crotchety? Ah, hell. I suppose I do.

I haven’t lost faith in Adam Lambert. Well I’ve lost some faith, but not all. I think he can do it. No, I know he can because of the performances he gave last spring. Glambert can stir hearts, connect, create moments that are really worth sharing with everyone. Yep, everyone. Does he want to do that? Can’t say, really. I’ve heard, though, that he only wants to be a Pop star. Damn.

Nonnie Augustine

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