Lady Gaga & Adam Lambert on American Music Awards: Performance Art & Dirty Talk

lady-gaga-ama2By early reports, Lady Gaga’s second album The Fame Monster is quickly cementing her position as the decade’s greatest pop star. And then; on November 22’s American Music Awards, Lady Gaga performed ‘Speechless’ and ‘Bad Romance’ and these performances were exceptional. The AMA’s cemented our suspicion that Lady Gaga is here to stay, and that we can expect further innovation and subsequent success from her forever & ever.

Lady Gaga’s hair was down, literally. Her first costume was flesh & bone and her second was the same but consumed in smoke. There was a violinist in a glass cube, and a bottle broken on a piano and things lighting on fire.

At one point you realized that Lady Gaga never does it the same way twice. Essentially Gaga’s brilliant songs are merely the soundtrack to Lady Gaga: The Performance (as explained in The Theory of Gaga by Bernard, Wooley, Choo and Casino 2009), as saucily suggested by the Gossip Girl Lady Gaga-scored Snow White musical campily paraded in prime-time last week — and what pop star at the height of their career subjects themselves to that? Lady Gaga! Because she’s an equal opportunity performer, finding value in every stage on every set.  She goes through incredible effort to assure universal access to Lady Gaga; The Performance, which is unique for an artist of her style. She’s appeared on just about every award or talk show and performed just about everywhere in the world. She has made herself impossible to forget for over a year of the kind of ’round-the-clock monitoring pop stars are subjected to in the age of twitter and technologies.

Sometimes the most amazing thing about Lady Gaga is how all stages are created equal for her. I mean, The American Music Awards? Do people normally watch this show? Would you watch it if twitter didn’t exist? Did Taylor Swift win anything? Anyhow, it’s probs a lovely show, but it’s not on the edge of anything.

Lady Gaga chooses the most random places to parade indecipherable outfits (Ellen, assorted obscure German television stations) and to perform her greatest performances yet — the fact that people still consider her MTV Video Music Awards performance underwhelming blows our minds. That whole MTV VMA performance thing felt like a Kathy Acker-directed play called “Performance at the Awards for Videos Created for Music Television by Stunning pop star,” and “Speechless” and just now on the American Music Awards she one-upped the masterpiece by making us feel something so hard you accidentally started crying. “Speechless” felt like something that would make the panel of Dancing With the Stars not just cry superficially in self-congratulatory pandering but probs flood the studio, Pharoh-style, with their genuine reaction, even if there wasn’t much dancing.

The question is if it still counts when everyone can see it, and the second question is, “who cares if everyone can see it.”

See for yourself:

Do you see that she’s just as likely to give this performance at your cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, had you hired her, which obvs you did not. I personally had a DJ named Party Time. [Also, she speaks out against homophobic/misogynistic rappers.]

Also, we know you saw Adam Lambert’s closing sexually-charged performance of “For Your Entertainment” and have many many conflicting feelings about it. Right? So do we. Firstly, I like the song even better now! And you can’t forget the song when evaluating the performance — he’s taking a phrase generally used to describe family-friendly circus acts and turning it on its head by giving head.

Secondly, I don’t even know where to begin. He fully shoved a male dancer’s face in his crotch! (Although ABC cut away mid-oral sex simulation with the male dancer… which is weird only ’cause the female one was left in.) He was totally like Sex God Lord of Darkness Holy Motherfucking OMG!

Will Lambert create a Britney or Madonna-esque scandal? According to Rolling Stone there was even a mirrored prop so the audience could see the look of shock (and horror?) (and awe?) on their own faces. Amazing.

Sex you guys! SEX! SEX FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT. Lady Gaga did death, btw, and then Lambert did sex. They switched it up tonight.

If the media/press/America doesn’t get it at this point, perhaps they never will: this was the big “eff youuu” to everyone that wanted to push the issue of his sexuality front and center and a kind of gloriously glittered response letter to those who challenged him fairly. Something doesn’t need to be GAY to be — you know — gay — after all.

He is making you like a queer sensibility and surrender to its power during a media-saturated era of oft-dashed hopes, and so is Lady Gaga, so maybe this is the year you start to love the rowdy inverted stereotype you’ve always had of us. Because music is supposed to be about deviance, and that means pop music too — fuck bubble gum.

adam lambert ama performance

Photos from the event, including Adam Lambert, Janet Jackson, Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Clarkson and more …

You can download Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster (Deluxe) [Explicit] and Adam’s For Your Entertainment (for $3.99!) today, November 23rd!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3179 articles for us.


  1. p.s. My other feeling about Adam’s performance besides “AHH MY VIRGIN EYES” was that I wished they let him do less running around on that stage. That’s what dancers are for. I like him better when he’s not worrying about almost falling on his face from climbing 7 flights of stairs you know?

      • that’s what I thought! like i thought it was cheesy. that’s part of my point about gaga – she doesn’t really fit her performances for the venue/event but rather because it is the next performance she must perform in the movie of her pop stardom life — but I’m not sure how lambert fit into the family-friendly thing that might just be in my imagination.

        • re:lambert – It seems strange that someone who has been trying to – not shy away, but include more of the traditional hetero community in his fan base would do something so extremely overt. It’s hot, don’t get me wrong – but at the same time kind of, like you said, cheesy and almost cringe worthy.

  2. -STILL not seeing the Adam Lambert hype. When I clicked in he sounded like a tortured cat.

    Lady Gaga was great but it wasn;t as amazing as the VMA;s. And I agree with you Lady Gaga always delivers her best. It’s why she is number 1. Its why people don;t like her but they still google,yahoo, and ask her. Its why she constantly trends on Twitter. Her whole everything is something to behold, at all times, when she is going to the airport or walking the red carpet.

    -Taylor Swift is overrated. And I feel she is getting sympathy awards at this point.
    -Rhianna was trying too hard to be amazing and she just didn;t make it.
    -Surprised by Carrie Underwood, I kinda liked it
    -Don;t know what the hell Shakira was saying, but I love her and she looked hot. So whatevs

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  4. lambert screams a lot. while i liked the “deviance” of this performance, part of me feels like i now know what he sounds like in bed. And that is just not an okay emotion.

    also, Gaga.. you did good. That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
    (seriously though, did you guys get a load of her singing while having seizures on the floor? Amazing. Also…PIANO ON FIRE!!)

    • There was a lot of Lambert hate going on in the room when I played the video. Mostly it was ‘I hate when he screams like that’ and ‘I don’t really like this song’… But mostly it was the wagging-tongue-while-screaming hate :/

  5. It’s perfect that you have Gaga and Lambert in the same post. I love that both of them are committed to the spectacle of performing. Lady Gaga is obviously superior, but the giant fuck you Adam Lambert gave to the viewing audience was so great that I wish I had a tub of popcorn with me. He’s trolling America, and it’s fantastic.

  6. Great article! Small error, though: Lady GaGa’s second album is The Fame Monster, not Bad Romance. Bad Romance is the single.

      • how about you just pretend it was performance art testing the Lady Gaga fandom’s dedication. Dear Cory, you passed. You will now live forever on a cloud with the Gaga.

  7. What the?? I mean can Lady Gaga.. just..get any better???! I’m so out of breath!! She is fucking my mind!!!!!!!! Glarb!??$#%? She should get a title bump like “Queen Gaga” or “Earth MOther Goddess Gaga”. I mean… just WOW.

  8. that was amazing, but the piano on fire broke my heart just a little. but that’s just my automatic reaction to pianos in distress.

  9. “Because music is supposed to be about deviance, and that means pop music too — fuck bubble gum.”

    Team AS, you summed up exactly why I root for Gaga and, to a lesser extent, Lambert, in the first place.

    @denna, I think “trolling America” was a great way of defining Lambert’s career. A+.

    Oh, and Gaga was great. But I feel like it’s pretty much impossible for her to disappoint.

    P.S. For more feelings about Lady Gaga, here’s a column about her:

  10. Adam Lambert was grinding against a disco stick. (But then it was room consensus was that Glambert would not want Lady Gaga to ride *his* disco stick…)

  11. Lambert and Gaga for the win. Both were clearly the best and most interesting performers of the evening.

    • haha so true, just watching that now i thought it was good, but not as good as if alex and stef were performing it, with a ukelele obvs.

  12. I loved it! This is just a part of Adam, look up his pre-Idol performances, especially the Zodiac Show and other club gigs.
    True fans are not shocked, like he said, he’e not everyone’s cup of tea and that is fine, go buy the other guy’s records. Please, stop clutching your pearl necklaces and get over it.

    • I love me some Adam Lambert and have for months. The performance fell flat for me because of the vocals, not the crazy, sexed up performance. I know he’s a badass chameleon of a performer and I love him for that. I also know the man can sing better than what he gave us Sunday night and I really hope that the rest of his opportunities to reach other audiences outside the American Idol bubble will focus more on what comes out his mouth rather than who he is fondling at the moment. Which by the way, was rather equal opportunity Sunday night.

      The amount of attention he has received for the performance has overshadowed the crappy vocals for the most part, and that’s probably good for his career in the long run.

      The album by the way, is AWESOME. Not a track on there I don’t like. Fun, dancey, rock’n’roll, some beautiful ballads too. It’s totally worth it. Check him out on the CBS Early Show tomorrow morning and Letterman tomorrow night.


    “But maybe the hype was just a little too much, even for Adam. Before every commercial break during the AMAs broadcast, for nearly three hours, the announcer was hyping Adam, intoning: “Get ready for the performance that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE and HAVE YOU SEEING GOD and MAKE YOU GET STIGMATA and ALTER THE STATE OF POP MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT and BLOW YOUR DANG MIND TO SMITHEREENS and MAKE YOU GO GET A FULL-BODY LAMBERT TATTOO and SHAVE HIS NAME INTO THE SIDE OF YOUR HEAD.”

    “Some may argue that he was perhaps trying too hard to be controversial and scandalous for controversy and scandal’s sake, or that maybe he was trying to make a statement about whether or not he is “gay enough” according to Out magazine standards (at least you can say this performance will shut up Out editor Aaron Hicklin for a good long while).”

  14. when i watched lady gaga perform bad romance/speechless, all i could think of was alex dancing to bad romance in that video you guys put up.

  15. after an extended sunday funday at the abbey in west hollywood yesterday, my friend and i ended up randomly in some bar in hollywood that was having gay boy night. we had been there for barely fifteen minutes when the boys started shoving and freaking out, trying to all rush to a little stage in the corner. next thing i know, the techno shuts off and a woman’s voice starts echoing around me. yep, lady gaga herself had decided to stop by to say hi, and talk about all her happy feelings towards the gays. this wasn’t some huge club, or even a special night, she just felt like coming there to say she loves us, and THAT is why i love her right back!

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