Broadcasting organisations were flooded with complaints about an S&M-themed performance by a reality show star at the American Music Awards, which included him kissing a male keyboard player.
ABC was taken by surprise when one of Adam Lambert's dancers stuck his face in the singer's crotch during the performance in New York of For Your Entertainment - a moment that was cut out when the awards show was broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on the US West Coast on Sunday.
During a rehearsal last week the openly gay former American Idol star thrust a male dancer's face toward his crotch, though the dancer did not get as close to Lambert in the rehearsal as he did on Sunday night.
At one point during rehearsals, Lambert also caressed a male dancer's upside-down face, but he kept his hands off the dancer's cheeks on Sunday night.
"A lot of what I do is kind of freestyle," the singer said last week about the routine's choreography. "That's how it was on Idol. That's how I perform. I like to have a framework, and just do stuff. So that kind of came about because of the connection that I had with that dancer."
Both hostile and supportive comments were posted online about the glam rocker's performance.
While prowling an elaborate set during the number, Lambert also fondled one dancer and briefly led two dancers around on a leash. It followed the song's lyrical theme in which the singer warned: "It's about to get rough for you."
For Your Entertainment is the first single from Lambert's new album, which went on sale yesterday.
Lambert's kiss recalled the MTV Video Music Awards moment in 2003 when Madonna and Britney Spears briefly locked lips.
Lambert had even talked before going on stage about pushing the limits on how provocative male performers could be.
He later told CNN that his kiss was "in the moment" and that if people were upset about it, "that's a form of discrimination and it's too bad".
ABC said more than 1,500 people complained, in what it termed a "moderate" response, and the Parents Television Council also said members had complained.
"They're outraged," said Timothy Winters, the council's president. "They just can't believe the nature of the content, the explicit nature, and how much graphic content there was."
"These programmes are wholly unsuitable for children now and it's pathetic, given the amount of economic support that children and teenagers bring to the industry today."
Lambert's performance was a subject for the "hot topics" segment of ABC's daytime talk show The View yesterday, but apparently too hot - Barbara Walters said it was too racy to be shown on daytime TV.
ABC spokeswoman Hope Hartman and Lynda Dorf, a representative of Dick Clark Productions, which put on the show, did not comment on how producers and network executives felt about the performance.
Ms Dorf said Lambert had not kissed any of his fellow performers during rehearsals of the song.
But Entertainment Weekly writer Ken Tucker praised Lambert for being "an event unto himself".
"As a TV viewer, I thought Lambert's performance was a gas, a delight, a blast of brash vulgarity in the midst of merely ordinary vulgarity," he wrote.
And a Boston Globe television critic called the performance "pretty harmless".
"It's all posing and mugging and selling, not real honest provocation," Matthew Gilbert said on a Globe blog.
Lambert said later, "I had fun, my dancers had fun, the audience that was in the Nokia (Theatre) had fun. Anybody else who was watching it and enjoying it, thank you for being entertained."
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