What does a person's sexuality have to do with a singing competition? Adam Levine, who is both a judge and singing coach on NBC's “The Voice” and lead singer for Maroon 5, seems to think it's pretty important, and he's calling out “American Idol” on the issue.
Levine, 32, told OUT magazine that his pro-gay views were formed as the result of having a younger brother who is gay.
“The fact that gay marriage isn’t legal everywhere at this point is a joke," he said. He then took on the wildly popular show “American Idol,” but was careful to interject a statement of respect for singing competition show into the discussion.
“I can’t f--- with American Idol,” he said. “It’s a cultural institution. On The Voice, we just care about a different list of things. It’s for a different type of person, I guess.”
“What’s always pissed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken. C’mon. You can’t be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break. You can’t hide basic components of these people’s lives. The fact that The Voice didn’t have any qualms about being completely open about it is a great thing.”
“American Idol” was the number one most watched television show of the 2010-2011 season and boasts seven consecutive seasons prior in which the show was ranked number one among adults 18-49 years of age.
Gary McCullough, director of Christian Newswire, wrote in a release today that he believes Idol has been trying to address the anti-gay label for some time.
He claims that Idol used former judge Ellen DeGeneres, one of the country's most noted gay celebrities, to appease “a flaming Hollywood minority,” but that later “profit-minded heads prevailed and the gay-activist was replaced after one horrendous season.”
“Should Levine get his way and Idol steps up its promotion of identifiable homosexual contestants, I guarantee that will not be the final demand,” he wrote.
Idol's producer, Nigel Lythgoe, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the accusations, saying that sexuality shouldn't be an issue at all for the show.
“To be frank, I didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay. I don’t go into my dentist and say, 'Are you gay?',” Lythgoe explained. “If somebody wants to say they’re gay, it’s up to them. You don’t expect us to turn around and say, 'Are you gay?' Why would we do that? – 'By the way, he’s a Catholic and he supports Obama and here’s his sexuality' – what does that have anything to do with singing talent? Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me.”
He then defended the show by pointing to Idol's season eight runner-up, Adam Lambert, who “came out” after his run on the show.
“He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn’t talk about it on Idol. And why should he?...There’s no reason that I would see why anybody that goes on television should start coming out with who they are, what they are, what they’re sexuality is, who they’re going to vote for or what their religion is.”
“American Idol” has sustained ten successful seasons on the FOX network.