Let me say first of all that I genuinely think Lambert has star quality out the wazoo and the kind of vocal chops that only come along once in a generation. But if all I had to convince someone of that was last night’s hyperactive, unnecessarily complex and (dare I say it?) amateurish performance, I’d certainly have my work cut out for me.

Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. I was not in any way offended by the content of the number. I do think certain parts of it exceeded the bounds of good taste in a primetime, network television setting just to make a point. (In fact, ABC reports it has received more than 1,500 complaints already.) I was also definitely offended by its quality, because I know Adam is capable of better.

Where to begin? There were too many people on the stage, the set was too complicated and the choreography required Lambert to focus the majority of his attention on moving from place to place and hitting his marks. (And we won’t even discuss the awkward, completely un-sexy, boy-on-boy kiss.) As a result his vocals suffered. It sounded like he was about half a beat behind the band and he was out of tune for most of the song.

Here’s a clip of the number, “For Your Entertainment,” so you can hear for yourself what I’m talking about.

The singer was quick to respond to critics of the racy number, telling Access Hollywood he’s the victim of a “double standard” because “female pop artists have been doing things provocative like that for years, and the fact that I’m a male, and I’ll be edited and discriminated against could be a problem.”

Really? You’re going to play the discrimination card already Adam? I don’t think the decision by producers of a show broadcast on an open network, during primetime to edit out a shot of you shoving a male dancer’s face into your crotch constitutes discrimination. This knee-jerk reaction proves the point I made last week when I said Lambert lacked perspective about what truly constitutes a struggle in the LGBT community.

“People are scared and it’s really sad, I just wish people could open their minds up and enjoy things, it’s all for a laugh, it’s really not that big of a deal,” the singer continued.

I’ve spent a good deal of time since the American Music Awards went off the air last night reading the reaction to Lambert’s debut. And if by “people are scared” he means of his sexuality, he’s dead wrong. The overwhelming bulk of the criticism I’ve seen, from fans and non-fans alike, has nothing to do with the “sexy” nature of the number. People just seem to recognize a less-than-dazzling performance when they see one.

Lambert also told Access Hollywood that he believes “in artistic freedom and expression, I believe in honoring the lyrics of a song, and those lyrics aren’t for everybody either.”

This is an interesting statement coming from someone who just last week was trumpeting his intention to avoid “alienating anybody.” And I believe that you’ll find many of the people who are negatively reviewing last night’s performance are also in favor of “artistic freedom and expression” – as long as it doesn’t suck.

Lambert’s honesty about his sexuality at the beginning of his career puts him in an unprecedented position to break ground for out entertainers – whether he wants to lead that parade or not. (As anyone who grew up the oldest child will tell you, being the one who carves the trail for those who come after isn’t fun most of the time, but it’s the role fate has chosen for you.) Last night’s performance felt like he’s willing to throw that away for shock value.

Maybe – as people like “Idol” blogger MJ Santilli, Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Slezak and MTV’s Jim Cantiello have surmised – the pressure of living up to a mega-hyped debut, live on network television in front of millions of people no less, was too much for Lambert.

Since he’s spent a good portion of his life literally center stage and in the spotlight, I’m inclined to be skeptical about that line of reasoning. I believe what happened last night was the simple result of overreaching. Despite the fact that the singer was very vocal last week about not having anything to prove, it seems like that’s exactly what he tried to do – with spectacularly disastrous results.

I really hope that this whole thing has been a learning experience for Lambert and that we can all look forward to witnessing what he’s really capable of achieving on stage soon.