Adam Lambert: From Closeted 'Idol' to AMA Provocateur

Lambert's AMA performance shows how far the openly gay singer has come.

ByABC News
November 24, 2009, 12:48 PM

Nov. 24, 2009— -- Adam Lambert has come a long way.

The once sexually ambiguous, aspiring "American Idol" made one thing clear with his provocative performance and man-on-man kiss during Sunday's performance at the "American Music Awards": He's gay enough.

"It's great, he can be himself now," gossip columnist Perez Hilton said. "He doesn't have to play it safe to get votes and, at the end of the day, it's all working. I applaud him for that performance. It was ballsy. It wasn't perfect, definitely not his best vocal. But I loved it. I loved it."

Lambert's AMA performance appeared to repudiate recent criticism from Out magazine editor Aaron Hicklin that the openly gay singer was not "gay enough."

Village Voice columnist Michael Musto told, "Adam's gesture might have been a reaction to the 'not gay enough' criticism, but weren't there also lots of dancing women in his number? I think his marketing will always try to keep him out of the closet, yet with ambiguities his people will continue to sneak in there."

Lambert's trajectory from closeted "Idol" to openly gay AMA provocateur has not been without controversy.

Speculation was rampant about Lambert's sexuality during his run on "American Idol." But the singer refused to comment on his use of eyeliner or his declaration on a YouTube video that kissing girls was "not necessarily" his preference.

He did confirm that photos posted on the "American Idol"-mocking Web site, which depicted him dressed in drag and kissing another man, were real and taken at the Burning Man arts festival. "I have nothing to hide," he told "Access Hollywood."

"I am who I am. And this is about singing … nothing else."

That comment was made before Lambert was voted into "Idol's" top 12 and Fox cut off media access to him and his family. Lambert would have to wait until after his second-place finish to publicly come out on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, followed by his first television appearance on "20/20."