Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga Talk to Barbara Walters
Tonight ABC aired the Barbara Walters special The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009. With intriguing personalities like Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, and political figures Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin, the special easily could have been 2 hours. As it was, each person was limited to mere sound bytes, though Walters is fairly good at giving us unexpected peeks into people's psyches with her strategically placed questions.
I personally loved Walters' and Adam Lambert's conversation about his overtly sexual displays at the AMAs. Lambert's pop performance, which included passionate kissing of both boys and girls, a simulated sex act, and an aura of S&M, was considered too racy to even be shown unedited on Walters' show. His NC-17 antics shocked audiences and caused an uproar in the press. Good Morning America canceled his scheduled performance, considering him too hot to handle.
I assumed Lambert's performance was completely staged and planned to be outrageous, just like shock pop princess predecessor Madonna. But as the AMAs performance was censored for the west coast feed, many questioned why no one knew what he was up to beforehand--after all, they do rehearse everything ahead of time.
Lambert's response to his sexual free-for-all? "Adrenaline." With a sweet smile and sparkling eyes, Lambert confessed "I got excited," indicating that much of his passion rose out of the moment, rather than being designed as part of the spectacle. Which, if true, makes him a lot more charming. Though certainly Lambert has always aimed to push the envelope, the idea that he may have pushed it farther because he was so wound up in the action on stage is a lot more endearing than the thought of him just going through the motions to get a reaction. And the fact that it was impromptu definitely goes along with the idea that the AMAs didn't get the performance it had been expecting. Impulse or strategy? You decide.
No stranger to shocking antics, the soft-spoken Lady Gaga proved to be a surprise to Barbara Walters. Walters may have been under the same impression as Gaga's father, who she confessed thought she was mentally ill the first time he saw her perform. Thankfully Gaga and her family are on the same page now, and apparently understand her mix of music, dance, and performance art that have made her prominently stand out from the crowd.
Like Lambert, Gaga seemed intent to prove purer motives than are usually attributed to her. She said she wanted to be a role model for young kids, to help them feel that it's okay to be their own person. She wanted them to avoid feeling like a freak, the way she did in school. I'm sure there are a lot of people who still find Lady Gaga freaky, but she is very popular and successful, and there are plenty of people who appreciate her self-expression.
Pop music has gone through a long stretch of homogeneous Barbie types, so Lady Gaga's and Adam Lambert's more unusual qualities are definitely refreshing. And if they tilt the world landscape a little more towards acceptance, and allow kids to fly their freak flags proudly, then that certainly can't be a bad thing.
Watch a taste of the Barbara Walters special on the ABC site.
PHOTOS: Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009, screencaps c2009 ABC News, ABC.