'The Voice' has openly gay singers: Where are they on 'American Idol'?

Voice-gay-contestants

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

NBC’s The Voice has only aired two episodes, but already viewers have heard something that viewers have probably never heard on Fox’s American Idol: “I’m gay.”

The Voice featured two openly lesbian contestants during its premiere, then two openly gay men during its second episode. While there have been gay Idol contestants, most famously Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken, they’ve either publicly acknowledged their sexual orientation after their respective seasons concluded, or that aspect of their identity was ignored on the show itself. In fact, out of hundreds of contestants that have appeared on TV’s biggest series over 10 years, openly gay portrayals are either nonexistent (nobody contacted for this story could remember one), or at best, extremely rare, let alone in numbers like The Voice has depicted in its first two weeks.

This isn’t to suggest Idol and/or Fox is secretly enforcing a closeted agenda — producers hired the openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as a judge and Fox airs Glee, perhaps the most gay-friendly drama on broadcast. But watch The Voice pre-audition interviews, where contestants casually reference their sexual orientation and hug their partners after passing to the next round. It raises an interesting question: Why don’t we see this on Idol? And should we?

When crafting The Voice, executive producer Mark Burnett said the choice to present singers’ sexual orientation was discussed, and said he was surprised having openly gay singers wasn’t already familiar territory on Idol.

“It didn’t cross my mind to do anything but be authentic,” said Burnett, whose first season of CBS’ Survivor was not only groundbreaking reality TV, but also featured an openly gay contestant, Richard Hatch, who won the competition. “It’s fun television and this is a diverse population. You need to be reflective of the authenticity of the contestants. It wasn’t something we did, it just is what it is.”

So how come on The Voice contestants are coming out during the show, yet Idol contestants typically come out after? Idol certainly gives viewers the biographical background of its contestants — their hometowns, their childhoods, their dreams, their hardships, their families. How attractive singers are to the opposite sex is sometimes remarked upon. And since there have been many gay singers on the show, there’s clearly a choice being made at some point in the Idol process by somebody to not include that information.

American Idol is about finding the next singing superstar,” said Fox in a statement to EW. “While sexual orientation is irrelevant to the competition, the decision to reveal sexual orientation has always been a choice made entirely by each individual contestant.”

It could simply be a difference of production style: That producers on Idol, as Fox’s statement suggests, don’t think sexual orientation is relevant to a singing competition and so they don’t really see a reason to go there with contestants (“I don’t care if a singer is gay!” is a reaction that plastered comment boards whenever Lambert’s sexuality was speculated on by the press during his season). Whereas producers on The Voice, as Burnett’s comment suggests, think such information is relevant because it’s part of showing a person “authentically.”

And there’s other possibilities too: Idol singers may feel discouraged from being candid about their lives due to the show’s format, since they depend on votes from viewers and could be concerned that being candid might hurt their chances of winning. (Lambert, who like several Idol contestants was widely presumed gay during the contest, said after he came out, “I wanted the focus to be on my ability as a singer and as an entertainer — not on my private life. So I chose to kind of ignore the issue until after the voting ended.”) Also, The Voice allows older singers to audition than those on Idol, which might boost the number of contestants who are comfortable being open about their sexual orientation on a TV reality show.

Ironically, after presenting four openly gay contestants across two episodes, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation denounced The Voice because coach Blake Shelton tweeted what some interpreted as a homophobic song lyric. (Shelton said it was a misunderstanding and apologized.) Asked about this matter, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios told EW: “With more and more Americans embracing openly gay singers like Adam Lambert, Idol voters would clearly support a talented openly gay contestant if given the chance today. If American Idol expects to continue leading in the ratings, Idol producers should recognize that positive gay inclusion on television not only fosters acceptance but, as evidenced by the popularity of shows like The Voice and Glee, is a smart programming move.”

What do you think? Why is there a scarcity of openly gay singers on Idol? And should producers and contestants do anything differently then they are now?

Here’s a clip of Tyler Robinson, one of the openly gay The Voice contestants from last week:


Comments (388 total) Add your comment
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  • JB

    Wait, that Tyler Robinson guy is gay? I had no idea. If only he’d given us some clue…

    • Cygnus

      I always thought Idol was gay. There’s an irony that shows like Glee and Idol have so much success on a conservative network like Fox. I guess money supplants their right-wing “morality”.

      • Ann

        Fox News and Fox Network are two different things. Get your facts straight.

      • kate middleton

        Nice try. Fox Broadcasting is totally different from Fox News Channel.

      • nick

        but they are both owned by murdoch… so yes, it’s all just money to him.

      • Anna U

        Fox Broadcasting and Fox News are NOT totally different. Both are part of News Corps. When there is important news, the fox news anchor takes the lead on the Fox. Everyone knows their news outlets are conservative but I guess they know they will lose money if they try to make boring conservative shows and movies. That’s why their entertainment ventures don’t lean right.

      • Ian

        I agree with ABC family rules! Who cares what the sexual orientation is of the singers! I think the media and the general public make a big deal about “sexual orientation.” Just like the media and the general public make a big deal about race. You know, I lived in France for a couple years, and I can tell you–hardly anyone there makes a big deal about race or sexual orientation. Not like the U.S. where where everything is broken down according to race, such as 10% African-Americans liked this, 30% Latinos liked that, etc. Same goes for sexual orientation. I think Europe is more of a melting pot than the U.S. The U.S. is more of a tossed salad who seems overly concerned about a person’s race and sexual orientation. Again–who cares!

      • James

        Could be that after Adam Lambert on Idol and the show Glee – maybe the door was opened for Voice to be more up front.

      • Templar

        It may also be that Idol is on during “Family Hours” and The Voice is on later at night.

      • Mac

        @Ian: Didn’t France just outlaw burquas (and not the habits nun’s wear?) – don’t kid yourself, it’s an attack on the people with brown skin. France and Europe in general are much less racially diverse than the U.S. and less tolerant, of non-Continentals, too.

      • tom

        don’t forget clay

      • LK

        yeah Fox News Network and The Fox Broadcast Network are both owned by FOX (come on it’s in the name!) which is subsequently owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.

      • @Mac

        Keep your conservative, anti-Europe crap talk to yourself. Have you ever lived in Europe, like Ian has? No, so stop getting your news from O’Reilly the liar. Banning the burqua had nothing to do with racism but with islamic extremism, which all leads back to 9/11 and the wars that followed. Wars that were led by, oh wait, the US.

    • Javabooknut

      Actually Ann Cygnus has a point. Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch who also owns Fox News. I worked at the New York Post and Most of Murdoch’s papers are considered “Conservative”. However they tend to be more focused on Economic Conservativism. Most of all Murdoch knows how to make money. Which is why in England there’s topless women in his “conservative” papers and his networks have often pushed limits starting with the Simpsons and Married w/children. Also being conservative in Australia is different from here where “morality” issues have dominated since Roe v. Wade. So you’re both right.

      • rey

        if you noticed. no one on fox news criticizes fox programming. but fox tv shows lambast fox news all the time.
        the reason, money is king. the simpsons bring in more money and ratings than the enitre fox news staff.

      • Anna U

        Didn’t read your response before writing mine above, but you are so right

      • Joey

        Actually, rey, that’s not totally true. Glenn Beck completely hates Glee and thinks its a terrible show. Bill O’Reilly has talked about American Idol in a negative light before as well.

      • JayNYC

        Joey – Glee *IS* a terrible show, sorry to break it to you! I like most of the musical performances, but take those out and it’s a C- high school drama.

    • faithfulfan

      it seemed to me blake was not too happy when he turned around and saw what he had chosen…did anyone else get that impression…he covered well…but that first reaction was pretty telling to me

      • Mike

        I noticed that too. Shelton could not hide it at all. I felt bad for the gay Mormon kid. He’s probably dealt with enough hassles, and now he’s trusting his career to Shelton. I’m glad the guy with the beard chose Ceelo.

      • Anonymous

        Not sure if Blake’s reaction was because the guy was gay or because the guy was not commercially good looking. The guy was a little awkward looking. Sorry Mormon guy.

      • rerun

        God loves Mormons and God hates gays. This fact does not compute.

      • sherrip

        rerun, you are an idiot, We’ve never said God hates gays, disapproves of choices and lifestyles, yes, but God is all about loving everyone

      • it’s really true

        @sherrip – “God is all about loving everyone” until they die. Then they can burn for eternity (or just a couple of years — shout out to the Catholic purgatory!). Umm…yeah, that sounds quite nice of G-O-D.

      • faithfulfan

        @it’s really true— just to get you on board with the truth… if one is lucky enough to get to purgatory, you are guaranteed eternity in heaven… if at your particular judgment you have ‘chosen’ hell, then hell is where you are forever

      • Sharon

        I think Blake was shocked, as most people are, when you hear a strong voice and the person doesn’t fit the picture in your mind. Look at Susan Boyle-perfect example.

  • waxon

    What??? Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken are gay??

    • JT

      Thanks goodness all the SYTYCD and PROJECT RUNWAY contestants are straight, because otherwise I’d never be able to watch.

      • denise

        The contestants have to “come out” as straight on Project Runway.

      • Squishmar

        denise.. you are so right! It’s almost assumed most of the men are gay… until you find out otherwise.

      • LK

        denise…I think he was joking.

      • Squishmar

        Of course Denise knows JT was joking… she was embellishing on that. As was I.

  • Chucklehead

    Other than the fact that these people have no talent, I won’t watch because I object to the alternative lifestyle. There, I said it. I’m a hater. So sue me!

    • amanda

      sigh. It’s a free country. You are allowed to be a hater. sigh.

      • mama

        Very true… and there are also many gay haters.

      • Zakry

        Just because there are “many” gay haters doesn’t make it okay. If slavery was left to popular opinion in the 1860s, it would never have been abolished.

        You have to think with your own brain and stop hiding behind what “lots of other people” think.

    • Jay

      Unfortunately we gay people are quite limited in our ability to sue. I would like to sue the government for the lack of inheritance, tax and social security benefits the government fails to provide me and my partner. But I don’t have those rights.

      • Debbie

        So true Jay. I wouyld like to pay taxes commensurate with the benfits my partner and I receive!

      • knobjob

        Yeah, you can sue God too while you are at it.

    • SD Deutscher

      Alternative Lifestyle, when I was born this way? Too bad that so many Americans are uneducated Jesus Freaks, that justify anything with the bible. But when they reach 300 lbs, that is not “gluttony” one of the 7 deadly sins sending them straight to their hell.

      • Jane

        Unfortunately, a group of people have led you to believe that thats what anyone who calls themselves Christians are like. Christianity is not about God sending a person to hell when they commit one of the 7 deadly sins or any sin for that matter. It’s about realizing that our sin separates us from God & that Jesus died on the cross so we could have eternal life. Yes- I totally agree with you on your comment if you are implying that those Jesus freaks are hypocrites. I’m a Christian & dare I say Jesus Freak (although I am from Canada) & I get very upset about these judgmental people you are talking about. But in the end I believe that God is perfect & only He is the ultimate truth. Christians aren’t perfect & therefore they do really stupid things but that doesn’t change that God is the ultimate truth. If you don’t believe that He is then that is another conversation.

      • Kat

        Don’t stoop to his level. Don’t lump all “Jesus Freaks” together. Don’t assume that all socially conservative idiots are 300 pounds or vice versa. There are a ton of religious people, Christian and otherwise, who firmly and whole-heartedly support gay people and their right to all the same legal rights that straight married couples enjoy. Lashing out with stereotypes doesn’t help your cause.

      • Marcus

        Kat – I’m so sick of hearing about all of these mythical gay-positive Christians. Where are you when your religious leaders harass the government to keep me a second-class citizens? Oh right, tithing to the Catholics and the Mormons and all the other overarching organizations that sponsor anti-gay political campaigns.

      • Mary

        @Marcus: I’m so sick of hearing how Christians cannot be pro-gay. I’m a pro-gay Catholic (!!!) who signs the petitions, marches in the marches, speaks out loud and proud in support of gay rights, and supports my gay friends every single day. How I reconcile my pro-gay stance with my Catholic beliefs is my business. Suffice it to say that I am Catholic, pro-gay, and no myth. Deal with it.

      • Color Me Impressed

        I’m a pro-gay Catholic and I exist! My sister and her parter are both gay and, guess what?! They’re both Catholic! Don’t lump us all togther.

      • Lois

        I’m also a straight, pro-gay Catholic. I support same-sex marriage, and am happy that my state, New York, seems to be heading towards making it legal here.

      • allen

        @marcus — You need to get out more. Just as not all muslims are building bombs in their basement and plotting the demise of innocents, not all christians are hysterical haters who beat up every gay person they can find. But then again, the media only covers the extremists of any group, so it’s probably not a surprise that you believe there aren’t any pro gay rights christians. But there are many of us.

      • Anya

        I’m a pro-gay Episcopalian. I stand up for gay rights all the time. Also several members of my church are gay and no one cares. At all.

      • Squishmar

        marcus…where are all the ‘secular’ non-gay people when those issues are brought up? Most people just accept gays but aren’t going to march or protest about something no matter what it is. (Except celebrities.)

      • Hi

        Why does the Gay issue always have to end up w/ people bashing “Jesus Freaks” and “Bible Thumpers?” As a Christian, I take as much offense to those terms (& the derogatory context in which you’re using them) as you do to the gay “f-word.”
        If it’s called intolerance when I call you names then what is it called when you call ME names?? Live by the standard you preach!! If you expect me to embrace and accept your lifestyle and beliefs, then you must do the same for me! I have the same right to free speech as you do!

      • Zakry

        @Hi – get over yourself. When has being a Christian cost you a job; denied you benefits; got you beaten up in a parking lot; bullied; shunned by your family; unable to visit your partner in the ER, let alone marry them?

        How dare you place yourself on the same level as gay people? You are coming from ENTIRELY different frames of reference. Jesus asked you to be selfless. Do you think you are doing that?

      • Michael

        If you don’t march, sign petitions or speak out, you can’t call yourself a supporter of gay rights. At best, you can consider yourself ambivalent.

      • CMS

        @Zakry you ignore the point Hi made namely that you cant call every Christian names and expect to have them be offended when someone uses a gay slur. Its hard to be sympathetic so someone who thinks that because they are persecuted (whether real or perceived) that they can retaliate without thought. And by the way agnostic person who believes that people should be able to do what they want as long as it doesnt really hurt anyone else and so long as they are willing to bear the consequences themselves (ie eat all you want but pay for your health bills when you are obese, etc).

    • wakeforce

      Who cares about you, Chucklehead! The show’s a hit. It doesn’t need you.

    • JB

      Chucklehead: I object to your lifestyle. Actually I object to your mere existance. So sue me.

      • AZLadyWolf

        JB – your response is absolutely the best!!! Love it!

    • derby

      Good of you to take the time to comment on a show you don’t care about. Maybe you should get a hobby.

    • lori

      I agree with you, Chucklehead, except that I love to see them lose. I had a party last Thursday night when Jacob was booted off.

      • Darvy

        everyone had a party and it had nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with his terrible singing.

      • Teresa

        If you’re looking to hate someone, then Jacob offered plenty of opportunities. You could hate him because he read as gay. You could hate him because he seemed like an uptight Jesus freak — what with refusing to sing about doing the nasty. You could hate on him for oversinging. You could hate on him for his ridiculously arrogant remark about America “looking in the mirror.” You could even hate on him for being black if you really wanted to.

        Or you could treat him like a human being, be happy he got to entertain us for however many weeks, or be sad that he didn’t get to do it longer.

      • Petra

        Part of Jacob is disconnecting his gayness, blackness, toolness, style of singing from his performances themselves. Good or bad.
        In my case I decided early I couldn’t stand the guys “all about me and my oversinging vocal gymnastics!!” performances.

        Since it is an elimination, I was not happy he was still around when performers I much preferred, like Thia, Pia, Naima, and Stefano (I warmed to him late for the 110% efort he gave) were gone, while Jacob who had me diving for the mute button was still around.

      • lori

        Oh, I hate him for all of those things. I love to hate.

    • candacetx

      objecting to a lifestyle does not make you a hater. Part of the great part of this country is everyone has the right to object to everything… but what we can not do is discriminate. So, please feel free to object. Feel free to live the lifestyle that suits you – as long as you do not advocate discrimating the rights of others – it’s all good.

      • Troy Soldier

        Gay is not a lifestyle. Your orientation — whatever it may be — is part of who you are, a very small part, actually. Your lifestyle is how you choose to live.

      • James C.

        There’s nothing to object to. “I object to your red-hairedness” is a ridiculous statement, and so is “I object to your gayness.”

      • Petra

        Gay is a lifestyle for many…and it involves public display of a libertine culture many object to. That is the distinction between the gay couple next door that doesn’t bother anyone and a gay couple with butt-cheek panels cut out of their leather pants doing a lip-lock on one another in a train station in DC.
        Or the guy showing up for free care who has AIDs, herpes, anal parasites and says he has had 30 “partners” in the last year. (When the extreme gay lifestyle becomes a public disease charge we all pay for).
        Or the chickenhawks.
        I think if people get together and are honest they will say gay is a condition people are born with and then part ways without giving in to gay agenda pressure that it must be characterized as “normal” “wonderful!” any more than born at birth conditions like mental retardation, left-handedness, autism, photographic memory are. Depends on one’s views.

      • @Petra

        That’s not really the gay lifestyle as much as it is just a sl utty lifestyle. Straight people do that stuff too. All the time. Just go watch MTV for like 5 minutes. It’s like the learning channel for how to get yourself a venereal disease, and most of the networks stars are straight. Though I do understand where you are coming from.

    • mrclean

      so, what…you watch Broadway shows instead? If you boycott gay artists you will end up with nothing but Walker Texas Ranger

      • Pierce

        Sure, boycott gay people. Then you can watch Chuck Norris with your really awful haircut.

      • Dominic

        I can virtually guarantee gays worked on Walker Texas Ranger. I mean, someone did makeup and hair, right?

      • Mycatsleepstoomuch

        @Dominic – there are people that do hair and makeup for The 700 Club also. They’re called women.

    • Marcus

      Your loss.

    • HTC

      The lifestyle engaged in by chuckleheads is highly immoral and offensive — a true sin against nature. Why can’t chuckleheads stay under their rocks so we don’t have to look at them? Why must they CHOOSE to be chuckleheads anyway? It is written (right here): Chuckleheads are destined to burn in eternal hellfire! Unless…they agree to participate in chucklehead rehabilitation progams. Repent now!

    • TOM

      ok so when was your last wet dream about a man?

      • TOM

        was talking to chuckle….i am a gay man….i love their idiotic sense of life…..get over it chuckle….there are gays…asians…blacks…whites….etc….someone made us….not getting religious….but…do you think we gay men and women woke up and said….”PLEASE MAKE ME DIFFERENT” same for all!

      • Reality check

        Oh please stop. When a child is born they care and know nothing of sex. They are born Asian, black,white or whatever their race is, just as you are where born to one of the many races. But you were not born gay you made a choice to be gay. You were not made different, you made the choice to be different by deciding to be with someone of your same gender instead living the life your body was designed to live. It took a man & a woman to bring you into this world & that is how life continues on earth which is something you cannot do with a person of the same sex ever. I am not trying to judge you but I am also not the person who will just smile it off as if everything is ok. Please do not try to make the gay style as if it is a race of people, when it clearly is not. It seems that so many people just want to be in denial about the fact that they made the choice to be gay.

      • dead not sleeping

        @Brenda, so true! And dont forget that gay men and lesbians can of course breed should they choose to. Or they can adopt or foster children. So, you know, that could be a “product” of their love.

  • Sean D

    American Idol has done wrong towards the gay community; pretending the show is about vocal ability is lunacy. This is a show that mines its contestants’ lives desperately trying to find some personal drama, some personal obstacle they’ve overcome, and the fact that there has never been a contestant open about their sexuality on Idol shows how deliberate this discrimination and censorship is. Idol must change in order to survive; their social attitudes are looking more and more antiquated.

    • Kevin C.

      “The Voice” (from what I’ve seen so far) also “mines its contestants’ lives desperately trying to find some personal drama, some personal obstacle they’ve overcome”.

      They add an extra gimmick for the first episode or two, but the sob stories galore remain.

      • Snsetblaze

        Actually, so far, while the The Voice does mention some back story – it highlights positive ones as well (the backup singer’s story for example) and limits the time it uses to tell the story. It may mention a dead relative (like the one who’s mother died) but doesn’t hammer us over the head with it like Idol does. So far, that is since the show is only on for two weeks. I notice that the time limits are one or two minutes on a backstory before the contestant sang. Idol often had the stories going for ten minutes or more, often longer than the singer spent before the judges and it became more about the back story (Danny Gokey, Chris Medina and Angela, the single mother with a special needs child for example). Rarely, did Idol ever highlight a positive story that I can remember (Casey Abrahms audition comes to mind). We’ve also only seen one “nut” on the Voice who was just bad not clueless like many on Idol. Because of that, on The Voice, I remember the singer more than the back story.

      • Snsetblaze

        Oh yeah, I can do without watching the parents though but I do appreciate the calmness of the singers and their relatives after the auditions instead of the obviously faked screaming and hugging on Idol afterwards.

    • matt

      Totally agree. There’s gotta be some “my parents kicked me out of the house at 15 because i’m gay” (and the like) storylines they’ve ignored. Not really sure I want to see that kind of exploitation on Idol, but if they wanted to there’s tons of gay material out there.

    • crispy

      Right on, Sean. I haven’t watched Idol in years, but there was one season when a dude made it all the way to the finals based solely on a “dead wife” backstory. Clearly, it’s not just about singing ability.

      • fg

        This is my problem with Idol. If Danny Gokey was gay and his long time partner had just died, would it even have been mentioned. Idol can’t pretend it is just about the singing when they continue to pimp contestants based on their sad backstories (as long as there is nothing gay about them)

      • Kiki

        You are 1000% correct. Neil Lambert once made a comment about how the producers could have made quite a sob story about Adam’s difficulties being a gay male in the US. Adam clearly has no interest in focusing on that, but I also doubt that Idol would ever have the guts to take a chance on offending the white southern Christian bible-thumpers who vote for Idol like it’s a pageant to crown Best Good Ole Boy.

      • sunny

        fg you make such a good point!!!! It has always bothered me about idol that the contestants can’t be openly gay, and the Simon/Ryan your gay banter drove me up the wall!!! I think Ellen came in and changed the tone a bit, but they are still not upfront about a persons sexuality (cough cough Jacob cough cough).

      • Jennifer

        Whatever one might think of Danny Gokey’s talent or the manner in which the producers milked the dead wife angle, it is not true that he made the finals on that story. He did not make the final two – that was Adam Lambert & Kris Allen, one gay and the other with a perfectly nice living wife.

      • Angela

        Sigh. You know, there are some of us that actually thought he was a good singer.

    • Cee

      And once again it’s happening this season. They have one contestant who can’t sing in pitch to save his life. I mean he’s a trainwreck vocally but he has the Tourettes foundation and every foundation out there voting for him. The show is a joke.

      • Cami

        ITA. I have read on a bunch of mothers’ message boards pleas from mothers of kids with Tourettes and Asperger’s to vote for James to prove that their kids can succeed too. And how Durbin “needs” the votes to win or he’ll never succeed in the industry without an Idol win.

        Oh please. How about the mothers get together and buy Durbin the singing lessons he badly needs?

      • da

        James is anything but a trainwreck vocally. I’m voting for him because I think he’s the best singer and peformer this season.

      • SuperMusicFreak

        @da Durbin is this season’s charity case. His performance last week was laughable. The critics panned him as an emotional and vocal wreck. Flaming pianos and marching bands cannot hide the this dude’s poor performances.

      • Angela

        Grrr. Yeah, ’cause they talk about his Tourettes all the time. I think he’s definitely the most talented contestant this season. Aside from this most recent week, he’s been extremely consistent, and he’s almost always given one of the best performances every week. Until recently, when some of the others have started to improve, he was pretty much the only contestant with any stage presence and who seemed natural up there. Plus, though there are sometimes some off-notes but that happens for almost everyone when they’re singing live, he has a really good voice. Disliking someone just because they have a sob story isn’t any better than rooting for someone because of the sob story.

      • Amy

        James is amazing vocally. He’s the only reason I get excited to watch the show this season. And pretty much the only time they mentioned his Tourette’s was during the audition. He gets votes because people think he’s a good singer, not because of his backstory.

      • Jason

        Durbin is by far one of the worst vocalist they have ever had on the show. He is consistant alright. Consitantly bad. The producers cover up his poor vocals by putting on a distraction each week ie marching bands etc. He spends more time sobbing hysterically than he does singing on key. However, once again he has the sob story behind him. He has mothers with kids who have disabilities vote for him, he has the tourettes foundation voting for him. If he just stood there on stage and actually sang he would have been voted off ages ago. He’s a mess.

      • @Jason

        Two weeks ago, he sang a capella, and that was widely (and deservedly) considered the best performance of the week. He wasn’t voted off that week.

    • Darvy

      Nigel Lythgoe is very anti-gay on his shows. He himself is obviously gay, tap dancer hello, but he’s old and of the mindset that it’s soemthing to stay hidden, that people don’t accept the gay community. The first thing he did when he got back on AI was fire the open lesbian.

      • ian

        He’s gay because he’s a tap dancer???

      • Troy Soldier

        Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, the Nicholas Brothers…all gay? I don’t think so.

    • Amy

      It is about the vocal ability. I’m not saying AI isn’t superficial because it definitely is, but at least I judge contestants based on their performances. Yes, physical appearance and personality can be a factor, but that’s unavoidable. Personally, the whole concept of The Voice is just shallow and patronizing; by emphasizing how apparently appearance doesn’t matter, they’re saying that it does.

  • Moo

    It’s a singing competition. Why does anyone’s sexual orientation matter?

    • Lauren

      Yeah but Idol always talks about fiances, wives (dead wives!) and boyfriends to bring human connections to what they’re singing. It does seem odd that same-sex partners are never mentioned in this light.

      • linda

        Lauren, These contestants are on live tv. If once they make the show, they want to mention their sexual orientation or partner on live tv, how could anyone stop them. But these contestants buy into the Idol machine. Why couldn’t Adam or Clay mention their partners or that they were gay during their “after-performance” interview. They didn’t want to. Whether it was because they felt it wasn’t anyone’s business or because they wanted the attention to be on their vocal abilities, that’s their business. It doesn’t matter what Nigel or any producer told them, they could have taken that chance. Isn’t that what choice and free will is about.

    • Chet

      Idol has always been big on showing back stories of its contestants to pull on the heart strings. They’ve done it this year with James. Imagine if Jacob has a bf back home or a child or a strained relationship with his family. I don’t think they would have shown that

    • Kiki

      If it doesn’t matter, then why talk about wives/husbands and girl/boyfriends on the show? Clearly focusing on heterosexual orientation is just fine and part of a contestant’s promo.

      Either no one’s sexual orientation matters or no one’s does.

      • Amy

        Your sexual orientation isn’t a way to promote yourself or whatever. AI has a bunch of sob stories because, as reality TV shows do, they think it’s a way to create ‘drama’. Personally, it’s my least favorite part of the show and this season, I fast-forwarded through all of that.

    • Chet

      LOL you mean every movie with a straight woman and her straight boyfriend, straight friends, straight parents, siblings, coworkers etc. Oh my heavens she has one gay friend??? What if they stuck in a black friend instead, would you be sick of the blackness?

      • April

        why do blacks always get an honorary mention in gay discussions. being black and being gay are two different things. one has to do with race classification, the other with sexual orientation. and they always have a whole bunch of white ppl in a movie with one black friend. but i’m pretty sure black ppl see right through that. its all about trying to make a stink over equality which it so noticeably transparent

    • Peter

      I think that’s exactly gag’s point, Chet. It’s called tokenism, and gay people should be insulted by it.

    • Darvy

      Yes because in this era, we’re all only concerned with our entertainers’s talents and not their personal life (not sarcasm) sad as it is.

      • Darvy

        notE sarcasm. I was being sarcastic. Hope that was obviouis lol

  • SD Deutscher

    It’s also age, and with that knowing who you are. AI’s contestants are much younger across the boards vs. contestant on the Voice.

    • kate middleton

      Yeah, I think that is definitely part of it. The folks on The Voice are much older, by and large. I do think the voting aspect comes into consideration as well – a contestant may not want to only be known as being gay and risk alienating some viewers, which is their prerogative. I don’t think it’s a concerted effort on the part of Idol producers (and certainly not Fox) to keep people in the closet.

    • Martin

      On “The Voice”, Tyler Robinson is 20 and Vicci Martinez is 25. That’s not old.

      • @Martin

        Do you not understand the difference between “old” and “older”?

  • K

    the problem for gay singers on AI is that if they come out on the show that is all they would be known for…fox picks one thing about a contestant and beats it to death a la danny gokey’s dead wife…adam was clearly comfortable with his sexuality and was not hiding it – and he said it was his choice to wait till the voting ended to talk publibally about it…unfortunatly,it was probably wise….i like that on the voice they share about the contestants life then move on to focusing on the music

    • JackieB

      I agree. And Idol makes it ALL about their story. The Voice seems to making it about – of course – their voice.

      • Amy

        Idol doesn’t make it all about the story. Once you get past the audition rounds, it’s more about the singing. Personality certainly plays a part of it, but that’s pretty much unavoidable, and if we’re being honest, personality and stage presence play a big role in having a successful singing career.

  • r

    What does it matter if the person is gay or not? It’s a singing competition, gay-ness shouldn’t matter.

  • saint of E. 69th st

    why is this an issue..just let people be themselves (whatever that may be..cool!) but let’s not have everything be about what type of shindigging u like to do!

  • whatevs

    If people want gay people to be treated the same way as straight people, then maybe taking this “openly” nonsense out of the equation would be a good start.

    • wakeforce

      Then stop talking about your wives, husbands and girlfriends. If it didn’t matter to some people why did almost everyone who hated Jacob’s singing on Idol also have to mention his sexuality?

      • whatevs

        I don’t mean to talking about your partners, I mean actually saying that you’re gay. Geez, relax.

    • Kyle

      Nakia (I hope I spelled his name right) only referred to his partner as his partner. I think that’s a start to being “treated the same.” It wasn’t even an issue. Being “open” about it means being able to be in public with your partner without needing to hide it. Straight people do it every day without question. When we stop needing conformation that someone is gay is the day we’ve been treated the same.

      • Kyle

        Crap I meant confirmation.

      • Chet

        Same with the older lesbian. While yes it would have been obvious to most she did bring her girlfriend. There was no need to come out and say she is a lesbian.

  • John D

    Whats the big to do? Who cares if there gay. Everyone should just learn to respect others for their accomplishments and not who they sleep with. Big Deal, it wouldnt sway my vote in the least. Anyone who sounds good and moves me gets my vote. Period.

  • Felix

    Problem is, the moment people learn a contender is gay, it becomes their main defining trait, whether they want it or not. Being gay, I know that the American public WILL base your entire persona around your gayness, especially if you’re on TV.

    • Peter

      Yeah, but is that different from having “the Tourette’s one” or “the one with the fiance in teh wheelchair”?

      • HTC

        To me, it would be equally annoying. I hated the fact that Gokey wouldn’t stop pimping his wife’s corpse — and he was a lousy singer. Medina seemed more willing to put the story of his fiance aside. He brought her to the original audition (I’m sure FOX encouraged that), but when Steven Tyler mentioned her during H’wood week, he seemed a little uncomfortable.

      • Amy

        I liked Danny. I don’t care what other people say. He got as far as he did because of his singing, not because of his backstory or religion.

      • Squishmar

        Amy, I’m with you. I thought Danny had a great voice…unfortunately, he then chose to sing “Dream On.”

  • Joanie

    I wish gay orientation was rammed down viewers throats more. Payback for the centuries we have endured having your breeder lifestyle rammed down ours.

    • The Truth

      Careful, a bear will only tolerate being poked so much. Wasn’t there centuries of open lifestyles in Greece and Rome? How did that work out?

      • Cee

        @The Truth, sorry but that’s the silliest argument I ever heard.

      • Darvy

        more than silly, just ignorant. You tell us the truth, how did it work out? The Greek and Roman empires flourished much longer than you think. Longer than we have so far. And everyone is alreayd talking about the end of the world. Some say weeks some say next year. I say morons.

      • The Truth

        Historical fact is silly? Oh well, those don’t learn from it are doomed to repeat it. Rome and Greek Empires (mutliple times for the Greeks) fell when their ethics and morales degraded into what’s in it for me and I should have everything my way. That process only took a few centuries. In the modern world we move things along at a more rapid pace, so it will not take as long. Compare were America is socially, economically etc we match up very closely to Rome in its fall. At what point are we specifically is up to some debate and if it is reversible. I don’t have to sit here and give evidence, there are plenty of books written on this with factual data and historical facts. And yes you should read arguments supporting and disclaiming so you can make your own decision based on the evidence and facts. You can read and learn or bury your head in the sand, your choice.

      • Kent

        @The Truth:
        Some of us prefer our “facts” to be grounded in reality.
        You say there are “plenty of books” that support your (grossly misinformed) understanding of the fall of Rome and Greece. Name one. Just one…

      • Squishmar

        The Truth… you are absolutely correct about the comparison to America and the Roman Empire… however, their “fall” (and ours) had/has absolutely nothing to do with people being openly gay.

    • Peter

      Yes, agression and division makes the world a better place.

    • trent

      Joanie, I love you.

      • Squishmar

        That was an ignorant statement by Joanie. By “breeder” lifestyle… you mean the normal, human condition? Were your parents not breeders?

    • Kat

      Yup, calling straight people “breeders” is a great way to gain equal rights. I’m not saying you need to suck up to anyone…but maybe try NOT to piss people off, and you’ll find that they will like and understand you more. For what it’s worth, I have nothing against gay people, I was thrilled when one of my friends finally came out and was able to be open about his relationship, I have been in favor of gay marriage since researching it in high school government class…I just don’t like being insulted for the way I was born by being called a “breeder”, any more than gay people like being called gay slurs.)

      • Kate

        Here, here! I totally agree & feel the same way – i believe everyone should be treated equal and i do take offense to being called a “breeder” – what about the fact that i’m a 40 yr old heterosexual woman who has NO children, by choice. what does that make me?

      • starla

        Kat – do heteros worry about pissing off the gays with their slurs and deragatory comments? No they don’t. The reality is nothing that a gay person says and no behavior that they exhibit which “conforms” will change the mind of a bigot and pretending that it will is naive.

        I like that the voice allows the contestants to be open about who they are and I wish Idol did the same thing but the shows are completely different. It remains to be seen how the gay contestants on the voice will fare once the voting goes to the public but I think we’ve seen two instances where obviously gay contestants lost at the end to less deserving winners on idol and the argument could be made that perhaps they wouldn’t have even gotten to the finale had they been open about their sexuality.

      • Peter

        starla, you’re talking about bigots. A gay bigot has no higher moral ground than a straight bigot.

      • whatevs

        starla, that’s what Kat is saying. Responding to gay slurs with “straight slurs” is really not going to help. You’re right that a bigot doesn’t change, but calling people breeders will only isolate those who are already on your side.

      • Shannon

        lol, I agree. Plus, the term “breeder” is golden. We’re not all breeders, though… Some of us can’t or just prefer not to breed. Still a great word that I hope catches on. Though, not necessarily from the gay community… Taking the high road tends to work best.

      • Reality check

        @Starla, honestly I would rather be a breeder than a dead end. Which is exactly what a gay union is because no life can be produced.

      • I(wish)ikilledjenny

        Haha @ all the straighties being offended by the term breeder. Just so you know, that word has caught on, it is very common in many gay circles and it is a joke. Lighten up. Btw, not all gay unions are a “dead end.” Many of us are already parents or plan to be. We can reproduce, just not physically with our partners. Would you call an infertile straight couple a dead end? Or say their union is unnatural because it doesn’t result in children? This shouldn’t be an Us v. Them situation. I say, Breeders and Dead Ends unite! Oh wait, PFLAG has already been saying that for years…

    • Reality check

      Joanie, They are already doing that & using children to promote it. And that’s when things went too far. When the children are affected you can believe that there are going to be some changes and not in the way that you want either.

      • I(wish)ikilledjenny

        @reality check- Actually the overwhelming majority of scholarly research and literature on the subject of GLBT families shows that parental sexual orientation has no affect on children. Many children of GLBT youth actually outperform other children academically and are more accepting of diversity. Also, if you are so worried about protecting children, maybe you should start with banning straight white males from being near them, as about 90% of child molesters fall into that demographic. Boom. Pwned!

  • Sara

    No wonder they never came out during Idol. The show made fun of potentially gay auditioners and Ryan and Simon made horrible jokes about gays. It was a lot worse when Clay was on than it was for Adam. By then Idol had been smacked down by GLAAD.

    • em

      This was my first thought. The Ryan and Simon interaction would have discouraged anyone from coming out imho. The jokes were bad to begin with, but then they became borderline offensive later on.

    • Bruce

      In interviews since coming out, Clay Aiken has said that he was still in his “questioning” phase while he was on “Idol.” During the competition, he pushed those questions aside and just focused on his singing. Many people assumed he was gay because he wasn’t macho, but he himself was still struggling with his identity. People, even famous ones, should be allowed to work things out in their own lives before they are yanked out of the closet.

    • mama

      How about the gay Idol this season… Jacob?

  • Derek

    Yes their sexuality doesnt matter when it comes to the power of their voice however it does matter in when youre talking about the mainstream success they are wanting to achieve. They have have to reach across most platforms and middle america who will be turned away by their own ignorance. Its funny to me that its usually the ignorant using the excuse that sexuality doesnt matter in singing but yet probably would buy the album because of it.

    • jaded

      Lambert wasn’t officially “out” but he suffered anyway. He had talent but there was no way the gay man would win, Kris did. And tonight, Tyler, the gay man wasn’t the one chosen by Blake on the Voice. However Vicci Martinez was chosen by Cee-lo which also proves the rule that if the lesbian is pretty, it’s much more acceptable to mainstream America. Lesbians as a rule are more accepted than gay men, I dare anyone to tell me otherwise.

      • LynMarie

        Lesbians more accepted? By who? Their parents, their bosses, their friends, the government, the chuch. Lesbians get the same crap as do gay men unless they happen to be in pair on some X-rate video for a straight man to enjoy!! Amd we all know how real that is!!

    • cafenitro

      Elton John

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