Adam Lambert is cheering on Lil Nas X’s performance at the BET Awards.
During Sunday’s show, Lil Nas X performed his song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” on stage and sealed it with a kiss with one of his male dancers. The performance got a divided response, with some viewers making homophobic comments and tweeting that the public display of affection was “inappropriate,” while others, like Lambert, praised the performance.
“I thought it was hot,” Lambert said in an interview with Billboard published Tuesday. “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.”
The “American Idol” alum also reflected on the “Old Town Road” artist’s performance in comparison to his own same-sex kiss during the 2009 American Music Awards.
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Lambert performed his song “For Your Entertainment” on stage during the ABC-broadcast show. After singing the lyric “can you handle what I’m ’bout to do,” Lambert kissed his keyboard player on stage — a moment Lambert said impacted his career.
“I was pulled off of ABC for a little while,” Lambert said. “They were freaked out, they had Christian parent groups writing in, the censors were freaked out.” He added that he was scheduled to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” soon after the AMAs but the interview was canceled.
The 39-year-old singer said he was then booked for another morning show where he witnessed a “double standard” in same-sex kissing.
In the interview withCBS’ “The Early Show,” Lambert said his performance was compared to a clip of the Britney Spears and Madonna kiss during the 2003 MTV VMAs, which was shown freely on air. The show blurred out the clip of Lambert’s kiss, however.
USA TODAY has reached out to ABC and CBS for comment.
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“I just remember thinking that was the biggest slap in the face,” Lambert said. “Two women kissing was not indecent, but two men kissing was.”
Lambert said now in 2021 “two men kissing is sort of old news” but he “loves” what Lil Nas X is doing, calling the rapper “grounded” and “outspoken.”
Because of growing representation of the LGBTQ community in media, Lambert’s “For Your Entertainment” performance would most likely cause less of a stir today. According to GLAAD’s annual “Where Are We on TV” report, representation has seen a constant increase since 2014. In 2021, there was a slight decrease from 10.2% to 9.1%, but the percentage of LGBTQ people of color ticked up across broadcast, cable and streaming.
More:LGBTQ representation dips on broadcast TV, GLAAD study reveals: ‘We’re not there yet’
More:Lil Nas X hits back at ‘hypocritical,’ homophobic criticism over BET Awards kiss: ‘i love who i am’
Lil Nas X displayed some of the aforementioned outspokenness while responding to viewers who criticized his “Montero” performance.
“y’all hate yourselves so much. y’all live your lives trying your best to appease straight ppl. y’all are uncomfortable with what i do because y’all are afraid they will be uncomfortable with you,” he tweeted. “work on yourselves, i love who i am and whatever i decide to do.”
In another tweet the rapper revealed his performance was nerve-wracking for him and took “a lot of time to mentally prepare” because he knew he was “performing something like that in front of my straight peers.”
But he said, “if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone you will never grow.”
Contributing: Cydney Henderson, David Oliver