American Idol and The Voice – Sexuality and Openness

And the only ways Adam is “diverse” is his religious background and his sexuality. And Adam’s religion never really came up during Idol, any more than the fact that his parents were divorced. We knew that six of the ten finalists were church singers of some sort, but nothing about the remaining four.

For whatever reason, Idol wanted a gay finalist that year. Maybe it was because of what happened the year before, when David Hernandez was kicked off on suspicion of gayness (stripping for men does not mean one must be attracted to men.) Maybe they wanted to show that they weren’t homophobic. I don’t know. But they knew Adam was gay when he walked into the room. Probably before in that it was in his file, but they’d have known anyway. I just can’t even guess their reasoning. But if Adam had wanted to, I’m sure he could have made a simple statement about being out and proud and left it at that. Although it’s ridiculous that he would have had to say anything – which may also have been why he didn’t.

It’s really the only reason I can give as to why Norman Gentle was allowed to get as far as the group rounds. He’s NOT that good or that funny and that joke only really works once anyway. But they wanted that sort of diversity.

Only Adam made it through the group rounds – Nick and Nathaniel weren’t even given wild card slots. The pictures came to light between Group 2 and the top 13 show, and we all know what happened on that episode – the judges praised Adam extravagantly enough to send a message that they wanted Adam on the series. Which is why Adam cried at the judging.

They didn’t object when Adam changed lyrics slightly. Simon gave him “One”, which is about a gay man and Simon Fuller gave him “A Change is Gonna Come”, which Adam had already interpreted as a gay rights anthem years before. And Simon and Ryan even eliminated their gay banter that season – thank goodness. Can you imagine how awkward that would have been? Adam said he would have “opened [his] big mouth” if they had, and I suspect they knew that. Or at least felt inhibited with the outspoken gay man standing right there. Plus you could tell they respected him.

But all this makes the Jacob situation even more confusing. The ground has been broken – it’s no longer newsworthy that there is a gay man on American Idol. Jacob’s sexuality should be a non-issue. Oh, there would always be haters out there, but basically, why hide?

Of course, Jacob, mannerisms or no, could be straight. I know no one believes that, and even Adam called him “sistah”, but it’s possible. So he really ISN’T hiding.

He could also believe he’s closeted. Adam and Jacob come from vastly different backgrounds and cultures. Adam grew up with liberal, supportive parents, was a big enough guy to not get physically bullied and spent his adult life in West Hollywood, where he didn’t have to hide anything. He was also a grounded, secure 27 year old who had been on his own since he was 19.

Jacob grew up in a more homophobic culture, he’s smaller and he’s only 23 without Adam’s live experiences. He’s also deeply religious – religious enough that he refused to sing a song expressly about sex. In fact, I think Jacob may have more in common with Clay than anyone else. If he is gay, he’s deeply closeted, if not in active denial. Jacob has the right to not talk about his personal life, of course, and he should not have to out himself on national television if he doesn’t wish to do so. Certainly, I do not expect him to get a magazine cover out of the deal. It’s frustrating that he might feel he has to hide, though.

A person’s sexuality should be treated matter-of-factly – only really relevant in terms of who they date/marry. Kris, Lil, Michael and Danny all spoke about their marriages; Scott had a girlfriend during his auditions. Last year, they made a huge deal out of the birth of Big Mike’s baby. This year, we had Chris Medina’s injured girlfriend and the mother of James Durbin’s baby. (Funny thing, though. Naima is married but they never talk about her husband. I thought she was a single mother.) If these relationships are relevant, then it’s kinda sad that Adam’s then-boyfriend was not.

The people on the Voice were cheered on by friends and family, including spouses, and that’s how the same sex partners were treated. This is the way it should be. And, maybe, if Idol stays another year, they MIGHT even have a contestant who talks about their wedding to their same sex partner and who makes it as far as their voice can legitimately take them.


About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
This entry was posted in Adam Lambert, American Idol, The Voice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s