‘American Idol’ Producer Responds to Anti-Gay Claims

by | August 17, 2011 at 3:06 PM | American Idol, TV News

'Idol's Nigel Lythgoe, 'The Voice's Adam Levine (Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

'Idol's Nigel Lythgoe, 'The Voice's Adam Levine (Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe addressed comments made earlier this week by Adam Levine, in which the Maroon 5 singer insinuated “Idol” isn’t as gay friendly as his NBC hit “The Voice.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lythgoe skirted the issue somewhat, claiming the sexuality of “American Idol” contestants is irrelevant.

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“To be frank, I didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay,” Lythgoe tells EW. “I don’t go into my dentist and say, “Are you gay?” I don’t say to contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, “Are you gay?” What does it got to do with me? What does it got to do with anybody? When does privacy stop in this country? 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.”

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When the EW writer cited gay “Idol” contestant Adam Lambert as an example – Lambert once claimed he wasn’t allowed to discuss his sexuality during his time on the show in Season 8 – Lythgoe balked.

“He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn’t talk about it on Idol. And why should he? Is every actor going on television going to say, “I’m only playing the part of a straight man, I’m really gay”? 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.”

Levine had made the pointed commentary in a cover story for Out magazine, in which he alleged that “American Idol” closeted gay contestants.

“What’s always pissed me off about American 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,” Levine said. “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.”

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