“American Idol” alum and music star Adam Lambert alleges he was banned from performing on ABC after an appearance at the 2009 American Music Awards.
While accepting an award at the 2023 Creative Coalition Spotlight Initiative Gala on Saturday, January 22, 2023, Levine recalled his time after “American Idol,” as reported by Entertainment Weekly. During the performance at the AMAs, Lambert kissed a male musician live onstage.
“A year [after ‘American Idol], I did a performance on the evening of my first single coming out, on the American Music Awards,” Levine said during the speech. “And I did the kind of performance I had seen since I was a teenager. I was kind of sexy, and had dancers on stage, and I did a couple of suggestive moves with a couple of dancers, and an impromptu kiss with my bass player. I was feeling it.”
He added, “Well, I got off stage and I got in trouble. The network was like, ‘How dare you?’ They banned me for a while. They threatened me with a lawsuit. It was like, ‘Oh, okay, that’s where we’re at.’ I didn’t know. I’d been in a bubble in LA amongst artists, weirdos, and I didn’t realize that that kind of thing would ruffle feathers the way it did.”
Lambert shared that from then on, he would be “as gay as I can f***ing be. And be flamboyant and wild, and if it gets me into trouble, it gets me in trouble.”
ABC declined to comment when reached by Heavy.
Adam Lambert Was Worried He Wouldn’t Make It on ‘Idol’ Because He’s Gay
During his speech, Lambert also shared that “American Idol” was a “pipe dream” for him.
“When I went to audition, I was like, ‘Man, I don’t think they’re going to take me. I’m the gay guy. This is a pipe dream,” he said. “And I made it to the final and I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I had no idea that it would go that long. And then once I got off the show, I got signed a record contract. There was an Entertainment Weekly article that was like, ‘Oh this guy’s exciting, and it may or may not be because he might be gay.”
The star joked, “And I was like, ‘Might be?!”
Lambert was on “American Idol” during the eighth season of the show. He finished as runner-up and released his debut album, “For Your Entertainment,” later that year. He came out publicly via an interview with Rolling Stone in June 2009.
Lambert Has Supported Other Openly Gay Artists
Lambert has been supportive of openly gay artists like Lil Nas X who kissed a man onstage during the 2021 BET Awards. Lambert, at the time, told Billboard, “I mean, he’s really giving it to us. I think he is definitely like the gay pop star that is 2021 — he’s bold, he’s controversial, he’s pushing boundaries. That’s what we want our pop stars to do. It’s just taken this long to have it be a gay one.”
Lil Nas X later told Heavy the comments from Lambert meant a lot to him.
“I know Adam, we’ve met a couple of times,” Lil Nas X told Heavy. “I did thank him in person, actually. I really appreciate all the love that he’s shown me and I definitely don’t take it for granted. And I appreciate all the doors that him and people like him opened.”