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Adam Lambert: 'I'm a performer, not a babysitter'

Adam Lambert was polite, but defiant during his interview on "The Early Show" Wednesday, saying he got "carried away" with his sexually-explicit performance on the "American Music Awards," but he did not feel he owed an apology to anyone.

"I'm a performer, not a babysitter," he said in response to several questions from co-host Maggie Rodriguez in which she gave him the chance to apologize to parents and children who might not have been expecting such a graphic display of sexuality on network TV.

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The awards show aired on ABC, which cancelled a scheduled appearance for Lambert on "Good Morning America" Wednesday. CBS, which has the last place morning show, quickly rushed in and put Lambert on Wednesday morning both for an interview and performance.

Lambert did say, "I can see how some got offended" by his performance. But, he insisted, "That was not my intention." He said his body movements came from an "impromptu place" and that "it just got the most of me."

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Citing what he decsribed as a "background in theater," Lambert said he "forgot" that he was on TV.

"Like 'Idol,'" he said referencing his runners-up performance last season on "American Idol," "I have a tendency to divide. Apples or roanges, either you like me or you don't."

Lambert was working the Elvis Presley vibe Wednesday on CBS with his outfit of black leather pants, black jacket, and his hair poofed up into an Elvis-like pompadour. Co-host Harry Smith cited the connection to one of rock 'n' roll's first sexually  transgressive performers.

I wrote about the strong link to Elvis last spring during the "Idol" finals in this column titled "Kris Allen and Adam Lambert: Ricky Nelson vs. Elvis." I argued that Lambert clearly was the more worthy performer to be named American Idol, and essentially charged that TV, and by extension, American culture wimped out in going with Allen.

And so, I was a little disappointed to see the Lmbert who apperared on CBS Wednedsday. He has become quite the TV huckster, constantly popping up through the Wednesday morning show to let the crowd gathered for his outdoor concert see him while he schmoozed with the co-hosts. For a minute there, I thought he was was going to do the weather forecast as he stood their chuckling with the weather guy.

I guess Sarah Palin is not alone in embracing the "Shill, Baby, Shill" ethos of American life and television these days. Somehow, last spring, I didn't think it would happen to Lambert. But in retrospect, I guess he was cutting it both ways throughout "Idol" when he was purposefully ambiguous about his sexual identity.

Even in his interview Wednesday with Rodriguez, Lambert seemed to want to have it both ways: be both transgressor in violating the normal boundaries of network TV expression, and the victim. To sell the victim part of the equation, he re-iterated his claim that there is so much blowback against him because he is male and gay.

"It's a double whammy," he said.

He does have a point about mainstream bias and hypocrisy when it comes to homosexuality  -- and it is a point that seldom gets made in mainstream media. So, maybe it is worth being a dancing bear for the last place network morning show to get the chance to make that point with an audience of millions.

As for the performance of the first song "What Do You Want From Me," it was technically proficient and as emotionally flat as the top of Kate Gosselin's hair-do. But then, it was 8:45 a.m. on the set of a news show -- not exactly the perfect conditions for rock 'n' roll.

CBS brought Lambert's mother on to the set after his performance of the first song, and it was a deft bit of clean-up-the-image, PR work.

Rodriguez asked his mom what she thought of the AMA performance, and mom cut it both ways, too, just like Adam.

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"I was a little taken aback at first," she said. "But then, I just went with the flow...and it felt good."

Thanks, mom. CBS loves Adam, too.

ABC, with all the complaints from angry "AMA" viewers, not so much.

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