The glam rocker from "American Idol" said on "The Early Show" that his performance would not have caused as much controversy if he weren't openly gay. He also said there were other "adult" moments on the show that caused no outrage.
"I admit I did get carried away, but I don't see anything wrong with it," he said Wednesday. "I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it."
Lambert kissed a male keyboard player, dragged a female dancer around by the ankles and had a dancer simulate oral sex on him while performing "For Your Entertainment," a song with a sexual edge. ABC received many complaints about the performance and that network's morning show, "Good Morning America," canceled Lambert's scheduled appearance on Wednesday because it said it couldn't trust what he would do.
"The Early Show" on CBS, perennially third in a three-network morning show race, happily gave him a platform and milked it - interviewing him, having him interact with fans and asking him to sing. One of the show's hosts, Harry Smith, tied the flap to rock history, noting that camera operators were only allowed to shoot Elvis Presley from the waist up during a network TV appearance generations ago.
Lambert admitted he didn't rehearse some of the more risque elements of his award show performance - a point that particularly upset ABC, which said it was taken by surprise by what he did. In the future, he said he'd try to get these issues cleared before the show.
But he noted that Lady Gaga smashed whiskey bottles during her performance, Eminem rapped about rape and Janet Jackson briefly groped a male dancer.
"Janet Jackson, crotch grab," he said. "I haven't heard one peep about that."
He said that "if it had been a female pop performer doing (his) moves that were on the stage, I don't think there would be nearly as much of an outrage."
"I think it's because I'm a gay male," he added.
Offered a chance to apologize, he declined. He said he didn't consider that there may have been children watching because his American Music Awards performance came at nearly 11 p.m., and that it's a parent's job to monitor what their children are watching on TV.
"I'm not a baby sitter," he said. "I'm a performer."
Asked what he'd do differently if he had the chance, Lambert said, "I would sing it a little bit better."
"I guess I have a tendency to divide people," he added. "Apples and oranges - you either like it or you don't."
"For Your Entertainment" is the title cut and first single from Lambert's new album, which went on sale Monday. He didn't perform that on "The Early Show," opting instead for the songs "What Do You Want From Me" and "Music Again."
He said before performing, "Parents, this is appropriate, I promise."
Lambert took questions from fans surrounding CBS' midtown Manhattan studio, including one who said she had traveled from Japan to see him. None of the questions were about Sunday's performance.
Lambert's mother came on stage between his two songs, and was asked what she thought of her son at the American Music Awards.
"I was a little taken aback," she said. "But, you know, I just went with the flow. It's all good."