CBS, 3; ABC, 0.
There’s really no other way to score it, seeing how Good Morning America lost out on one charming, cheeky interview (read what my colleague Ken Tucker had to say about that) and two bad-ass musical performances from American Idol season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert this morning, handing them all over to its rival Early Show because, um, why exactly? Oh yeah, apparently ABC suits didn’t trust the firebrand singer would understand the inherent difference between a 10:55 p.m. performance at a decidedly racy awards show and an 8:30 a.m. gig at a benign, watch-with-your-cereal-and-coffee news program. [Insert eye-roll here.] This isn’t to say I’ve changed my tune on Lambert’s Sunday-night showing. Some 36 hours later, I stand by my contention that his AMA performance of “For Your Entertainment” was a vocal and aesthetic disappointment. But ABC’s finger-wagging disinvitation — “Given his controversial American Music Awards performance, we were concerned about airing a similar concert so early in the morning” — seems as disingenuous as it does counter-intuitive. (Really? Why not just put a big bow on top of that ratings gift you’re giving to Harry Smith & Co.?)
The good news for the Glambert Nation is their guy sounded terrific on his one-two punch of the heartfelt anthem “Whataya Want from Me” and the effervescent party-starter “Music Again.” From a lyrical standpoint, the former track sounded like it could’ve been written specifically as a response to a nation thrown into a tizzy by Sunday night’s crotch-fondling, beej-simulating hootenanny. The song (co-written by Pink) contains a plea for patience and understanding from a guy still finding his way in the world (“Just don’t give up/ I’m working it out /Please don’t give in/ I won’t let you down”) and a special thanks to the hard-core fans who’ve never questioned his judgment in the first place (“It’s me, I’m a freak/ But thanks for loving me/ ‘Cause you’re doing it perfectly”). I won’t lie: There was a certain poignancy hearing Adam respond to the “too gay”/”not gay enough”/”too racy”/”not well-sung”/”what about the children?” critics with his pitch-perfect refrain of “Whataya want from me?”
As for “Music Again” (my second-favorite track on FYE, FYI), I can’t imagine a more appropriate track through which Adam could send the message “let’s put the focus back on the actual songs, eh?” Adam’s band sounded slightly canned on this number — I’m guessing there was some kind of backing track supplementing the overall sound in the tiny CBS studio — but Adam’s lead vocal was stellar, especially taking into account the song’s rapid-fire wordplay and octave-scaling swoops. There aren’t many artists on the pop chart today capable of pulling that off live. Thanks, Adam, for reminding us you’re a rare bird indeed.
What did you think of Adam’s Early Show showing? Do you understand Good Morning America‘s decision to nix his appearance there? And, in the wake of everything that’s happened in the last 72 hours, are you planning to buy his CD For Your Entertainment? (Or maybe you’ve bought it already?) Sound off on all of the above in the comments below, and for all my Idol-related musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak, and follow this very blog @EWMusicMix! Holla!