American Idol, a show which has a tradition of being very closeted with regard to gay contestants, has finally come out of the closet to allow its very first openly gay contestant to pronounce her orientation on air. While there have been numerous Idol contestants who have come out as gay after leaving the show, this is the first time a person actively competing has admitted to being gay—at least on camera, that is.
On last night’s show, contestant M.K. Nobillette was called into the judges’ chamber to face them and learn of her fate. As she spoke to them about possibly being in the top 30, the topic was broached regarding the fact that she would not be a “typical” American Idol. Without batting an eye, and as if she’d been saying the words on national TV in front of an audience of millions her whole life, Nobillette bluntly explained “I’m very obviously gay.”
She went on to say that even though her sexual orientation is rather apparent, and that some people may feel uncomfortable about that, she feels that there is plenty of room for her in the competition. “There are always gonna be people in America and everywhere else who are definitely going to hate,” she said, “But I think that in the last two years there have been a lot of things that have really changed that, and have really made it a positive thing.”
J Lo looked as though she were trying to hide a rather stunned face while Harry Connick departed from his temper tantrum of last week when he criticized another gay contestant, Keith London, on London’s song choice, which was If I Were a Boy. At that time, London did not come out on stage, but after he was booted from the show, he revealed that he is, in fact, gay. When Nobillette publically came out and became American Idol’s first openly gay contestant, Connick Jr. whispered “thank God.” Keith Urban, the third judge, looked almost teary eyed and he seemed sincere as he smiled at Nobillette’s decision to reveal her sexual orientation.
The move on the part of the show’s producers to air the footage is significant because they have never before allowed the word “gay” to even be insinuated about any of the contestants. The only time anything about being gay has been mentioned on American Idol prior to this is Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest’s jokes to each other, which many considered to be very offensive at the time. The show has fallen under intense criticism for its treatment of homosexuality.
Two past famous contestants, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken, were widely rumored to be gay while they were competing on the show, but no mention was ever made of it while they were in the running for the ultimate prize. After each of their respective seasons ended, both chose to come out as gay.
It’s about time. The popular show has finally come out with the show’s very first gay contestant. Welcome to 2014, American Idol!
By: Rebecca Savastio