US singer Adam Lambert says 'wild displays' are in the past
Naughty or nice?
When US singer Adam Lambert headlines the the Celebrate 2016 countdown show tonight, the big question on everyone's minds would be whether he will bring any of his infamous sexually provocative antics to the stage.
Will he lock lips with his male keyboardist or thrust a male dancer's face into his crotch like he did at the American Music Awards in 2009?
Will he reprise the smooch he shared with his male bassist back in 2010 at an F1 concert here?
After all, it is this burning concern that drew over 20,000 signatures from dissenters to an online petition that called the openly gay artist an "inappropriate choice" for the show at The Float @ Marina Bay. They also called for his removal from the line-up.
Celebrate 2016 is due to be telecast live on Channel 5 at 11pm.
But the American Idol 8 runner-up yesterday hinted that he is over those displays of wild abandon.
Asked if he's tired of creating controversy, Lambert said: "I think controversy is in the eye of the beholder. In the past, I did one or two controversial things on purpose.
"But my mission now is really about honesty from the heart.
"Depending on where you are from in the world, certain things may seem controversial to you, but it is not my intention to provoke. My intention is to reflect and be honest and real.
"Fear over difference is something that is bound to happen, so I try not to worry too much. I focus on what unites, not divides, us. So I sing my songs.
"I'm a little bit more grounded than when I started out. Then, I had a different idea of what I wanted to discuss, and how I put it out there. It has now evolved, not for better or worse.
"As for my music, I think it explores more nuances that I might not have delved that far into."
When probed about his risqué performances in the past, the 33-year-old said: "I'm not worried about the past because what is the point? I'm worried about the present and the future, and 2016 will be amazing."
Following the anti-Lambert petition, two counter-petitions followed, one denouncing and condemning "the obvious sexual orientation discrimination demonstrated" and the other a "backward mindset".
So what does the man himself think about the brouhaha from a select group of Singaporeans?
"I was actually flattered that people cared so much," he said, adding that his Celebrate 2016 gig has been "specially created" for the local audience.
It also kicks off his Asian tour, in support of his third and latest album, The Original High, released this year.
Lambert will next head to Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
"Over the past five years, whenever I did a TV performance, I worked very carefully with the producer and with my team to figure out what's appropriate for the programme so that's what we did for this," he said.
"I wanted to do something special for Singapore, the TV programme and the audience here. So I thought very hard in figuring out which songs can speak to as many different people as possible and which songs best represent me, my album and my mission statement."
Lambert was last here in 2013 for a concert, which received an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the Media Development Authority.
Throughout the 25-minute press conference yesterday, the pop-rocker often stressed the message of unity and finding common ground among his diverse audience through his music.
He also explained that his album is a reflection of the human spirit and the shared struggles that we all face.
"Everyone wants happiness, love and success in one form or another. The Original High talks about this journey, how you sometimes go the wrong or right way," he said.
"I'm excited that it's an album that could potentially help people understand themselves."
In a message to his fans as they ring in the new year, he had this to say: "I hope we can look ahead together and celebrate the things that make us united and the things that make us the same. That's what I hope for with the human race."
In the past, I did one or two controversial things on purpose. But my mission now is really about honesty from the heart.
- Adam Lambert
Tonight, 8pm (doors open at 7pm)
The Float @ Marina Bay
$38, $88 and $168 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)