Sunday 29 November 2015

Petition war over Adam Lambert's appearance in Countdown 2016 show

Row over gay singer Adam Lambert performing at Celebrate 2016
By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, 28 Nov 2015

A petition in support of American singer Adam Lambert performing at Celebrate 2016, MediaCorp's New Year countdown concert, was launched on Thursday and garnered more than 12,700 signatures in one day.

Titled "We want Adam Lambert performing in Countdown 2016", it has 12,747 signatures as of 6pm yesterday. It is a response to an online petition launched on Wednesday, asking organisers to remove the openly gay singer from the show.

The earlier petition addressed to MediaCorp, the Singapore Government and Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Grace Fu, other organisers, partners and sponsors of the event, called Lambert an "inappropriate choice" to "send off our historic Jubilee Year or to usher in the new year". It aims to get 20,000 signatures and, as of yesterday, has garnered more than 14,400.

Both petitions are on the website iPetitions.

Those behind the counter-petition call themselves "the moral majority of Singapore". They "utterly denounce and condemn the obvious sexual orientation discrimination demonstrated by the other petition on this site that is against Adam Lambert performing in Countdown 2016". Support in the comments section include one by commenter Soh Yu Da, who says: "Singapore is an inclusive and secular society. Bigots do not speak for me."

Kuhan Mani says: "His music has nothing to do with his sexual preferences. And even if it did, I don't see why it should matter. If you don't like him or his music, don't watch it! Stop ruining it for other people."

The first petition cites various incidents involving Lambert that its organisers object to, such as kissing a male band member on stage during the live telecast of the American Music Awards in 2009.

In response to queries from Life, a Media Development Authority (MDA) spokesman said "free-to-air TV broadcasters have to ensure that their programmes comply with the Free-To-Air TV Programme Code".

The code indicates that "programmes over free-to-air television must at all times maintain a standard that is acceptable to the community".

In a statement on Thursday, Ms Debra Soon, MediaCorp's head of its English-language family and premier segments, said: "Celebrate 2016 will be suitable for family audiences and conform with broadcast regulations."

Lambert has performed in Singapore several times over the past five years, with concerts at Resorts World Sentosa in 2010 and the Formula One Grand Prix at the Padang in 2011. Following a complaint, his last concert here in 2013 at the Star Performing Arts Centre received an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the MDA.

The singer released a statement through his label Warner Music Singapore that reads: "My performance at Celebrate 2016 will not only be a spectacular one, it will also celebrate the entire human family in all its diversity. I am a uniter, not a divider, and I believe in celebrating the human heart and spirit."

Singer Adam Lambert unfazed about dissent
American singer Adam Lambert says his shows are about love, acceptance and honesty
By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, 30 Nov 2015

Singer Adam Lambert has performed in Singapore three times over the past five years.

But some Singaporeans are not happy that the 33-year-old will be the headline act at MediaCorp's 2016 New Year countdown show, with an online petition started last Wednesday calling for him to be removed from the show. Saying that the openly gay singer is an "inappropriate choice" for the show, it has garnered more than 19,000 signatures.

However, an opposing petition in support of him performing appeared online the next day and has since surpassed the first petition with more than 24,000 signatures.

This is not the first time objections have been raised to Lambert performing in Singapore.

Ahead of his concert at the Star Performing Arts Centre in 2013, the National Council of Churches of Singapore received a complaint about a church-owned venue hosting the openly gay singer.

The show was given an "Advisory 16 and above (some mature content)" rating by the Media Development Authority.

Singer Adam Lambert unfazed by ongoing petitions: Shows are about "love and acceptance and freedom and honesty," he says. "I don't see how that's offensive to anybody, no matter what religion you follow."
Posted by The Straits Times on Sunday, November 29, 2015

In a phone interview last Thursday, ahead of the latest petitions, Lambert says he was not aware that there were dissenters to his 2013 performance.

Speaking from his home in Los Angeles, he seems unfazed, saying his shows are about "love and acceptance and freedom and honesty".

He adds: "I don't see how that's offensive to anybody, no matter what religion you follow."

The American Idol 2009 runner-up, who told Life last Thursday that he would be spending time with his family over Thanksgiving this past weekend, says he is fine with not ringing in the New Year with his loved ones.

"I love it. I've had the opportunity to perform on New Year's Eve the past couple of years and I always do it in a different place," he says.

"When I heard we were going to do it in Singapore, I was so excited!"

Last year, he performed in London with British rock legends Queen for Rock Big Ben Live. The New Year's Eve concert was aired on national broadcaster BBC One.

Lambert has taken over as the flamboyant frontman of Queen, having performed and toured with the band since they sang We Are The Champions together at the finals of American Idol in 2009.

He is the second replacement frontman for the band since vocalist Paul Rodgers, of Free and Bad Company fame, ended his stint with them in 2009.

Both Lambert and Rodgers have served as stand-ins for the original frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury, who died of bronchial pneumonia resulting from Aids in 1991.

Lambert insists that "as much as I love Freddie, I don't try to channel him. I play myself". While he admits he was intimidated at first about taking on Mercury's mantle and Queen's formidable catalogue, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor were "there the whole time to guide me".

He adds: "What I loved about working with Queen was that they've songs that everybody knows and loves. They've been a part of people's lives for a very long time."

But being a part of rock royalty has not interrupted his own musical pursuits. In June this year, he released his third album, Original High.

With Swedish hit manufacturing duo Max Martin and Shellback at the helm as executive producers, the album has spawned hit pop singles Ghost Town and Another Lonely Night.

The choice to work with the duo was a no-brainer for Lambert. Martin and Shellback were also responsible for his first American Top 10 hit single, Whataya Want From Me (2009).

"When it came time to figure out who I wanted to work with on this album, I was like, let's go with what works," he says.

For his show in Singapore, he says there will "definitely be lots of new songs and lots of my old favourites as well as a couple of surprises".

When asked if there will be a Queen song or two thrown in the mix, he says: "You'll just have to come and see."

Singer Adam Lambert says he does not do controversy on purpose

By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, 30 Dec 2015

American singer Adam Lambert says he does not "do controversy on purpose".

He was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (Dec 30) in response to the petition drama that took place last month over his scheduled performance at Mediacorp's New Year's Eve concert, Celebrate 2016, at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

"I was actually flattered that people cared so much," says Lambert, 33.

"Depending on where you're from in the world, certain things may seem controversial to you or not, but my intention is not to provoke - it's to reflect, to be honest and to be real."

He also insisted that his preparations for the show were no different from those for other shows.

"Over the past five years, whenever I do a TV performance, I work 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 says.

During his performance at the American Music Awards in 2009, Lambert kissed a male band member and simulated sexual acts with dancers on stage.

For the show here tomorrow, Lambert said that he had created it "especially for Singapore".

"I took a lot of time to figure out which songs were going to speak to as many different people as possible, which songs best represented me and my current album and mission statement."

Last month, some Singaporeans objected to the openly gay singer performing at the countdown show, which will be broadcast on free-to-air television, started an online petition to remove him from the programme.

The online petition against Lambert performing here closed on Nov 29, four days after it was started, securing 20,065 signatures.

In a note on the page, the petition organisers - who signed off as "Concerned citizens, Concerned parents, Concerned individuals" - said that the petition was closed because: "Thankfully, the performer himself has responded that he will be putting on a different show, which is hopefully in better taste and shows greater restraint."

An opposing petition in support of him performing here, started one day after the first was launched, received more than 24,000 signatures. It closed with a note that said: "The opposing petition has lost, Adam is still going to do the concert."

After his stop in Singapore, he will be heading to China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. As the stand-in lead singer of iconic rock band Queen, he is also set to headline the Isle of Wight festival in the United Kingdom in June next year.

Even his stage outfit - sandals included - seemed designed more for comfort than controversy
Posted by The New Paper on Friday, January 1, 2016

* Adam Lambert treats Marina Bay crowd to extended New Year show

By Anjali Raguraman, The Straits Times, 1 Jan 2016

The crowd at the Marina Bay floating platform was treated to a mini Adam Lambert concert as they welcomed 2016. 

Mediacorp's Celebrate 2016 countdown show on New Year's Eve saw over 10,000 people in attendance as an eight-minute-long fireworks spectacular filled the night sky.

As of yesterday morning (Dec 31), 10,000 tickets had been sold, according to organisers.

Despite the intermittent rain from 7pm, the crowds powered through, even sharing ponchos and umbrellas.

Members of the crew helped to mop up the wet stage between performances.

Decked out in tropics-friendly sandals and sporting perfectly coiffed hair, 33-year-old Lambert peppered his set with hit songs Ghost Town and Lonely Night before the live countdown portion of the show.

The singer and his band of six played another half-hour-long set after the live feed on free-to-air television ended, with tracks such as Mad World and a reggae version of If I Had You.

His set ended at around 1am.

An estimated 300,000 people attended the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown celebrations as a whole, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The celebrations included all the events that happened around the Marina Bay Area, including Mediacorp's Celebrate 2016, the Celebrate December concert, food trucks at promontory, and spectators standing all around the Marina Bay waterfront enjoying the fireworks and projection show on Fullerton Hotel's facade.

As many of the crowd attempted to file out, the hosts warned of bottlenecks.

Mediacorp stars such as Shane Pow and Ian Fang, as well as local acts like Taufik Batisah and Inch Chua also performed at Celebrate 2016.

Lambert's show segment was followed by a dance party on The Float helmed by DJ Tinc.

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