Adam Levine slams ‘American Idol’ over treatment of gay contestants

“The Voice” judge and Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine recently blasted “American Idol” to Out Magazine over the way they treat gay contestants.

“What’s always p***ed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken,” Levine told the magazine. “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.”

On the premiere season of “The Voice,” there were four openly-gay contestants, two of whom made it to the finale. So the topic is fresh in Levine’s mind. Levine also said he has a gay brother so he’s always been passionate about gay rights and acceptance.

‘Idol’ has never had a contestant openly say they’re gay while on the show, including Season 9’s Adam Lambert.

Levine does recognize that “The Voice” still isn’t in the same league as “Idol.”

“I can’t f*** with ‘American Idol,’ ” Levine said. “It’s a cultural institution. On ‘The Voice,’ we just care about a different list of things.”

Do you think Levine is just taking shots at his competition or do you think he makes a good point? Should a contestants’ sexual orientation matter enough to be hidden or put out in the open?




  1. I am so sick of this being a damn issue…they dont make an issue out of someone who is straight either!!! what someone does in the privacy of their own bedroom, should be just that, shouldnt be broadcast for the world…thats what a lot (not all) gay ppl do, they think they have to shove their sexual preference down our throats and thats not right…I, as a heterosexual woman, dont think I have to tell everyone in the world that I am a heterosexual woman….do you get what Im sayin!!?!???

    • Who said anything about the bedroom? Alot of ppl have insecurities about normal, everyday public appearences of a homosexual. Sexual actions aside. They should be able to point to an audience member and introduce this same sex individual as their mate. Just like the rest of the contestants get to. The fact that you say it should be private is silly, nobody is asking permission to induldge their sexual actions. Just simply not hide.

      • Well, I for one, leave my sex life in the “bedroom” ..thats where it should be but for some reason, gay people think it should be out in the public. They wear their hair a certain way so that people can identify them as being gay. They wear certain clothes so that people can identify them as being gay. They do all sorts of things to GET ATTENTION..its not about equal rights, its about them wanting to be the center of attention. They can be gay all they want but, I dont need to know they are, but for some reason they think everyone has to know. I know numerous people that are gay and theres a few of them that dont make it their lifes work to broadcast it to the world! They love their partners and show one another affection in public but its no different than when a heterosexual couple show affection. They dont make a big production out of it….they save it for the BEDROOM!!!!

      • Jen, I totally agree with you, if indeed it stops short of induging their sexual actions while performing. Case in point: Adam Lambert. I totally loved and supported Adam, As I stated, I didn’t believe his sexual orientation had anything to do with his performing. However, Adam has proven me wrong. Starting with his disgusting sexual routine on the AMA’s, and when he was apologetic, I forgave him chalking it up to inexperience. The next thing I know, I’m watching his videos on tour, and He’s making out with his keyboard player. I cannot justifiably defend him anymore as he does make his sexuality an issue. I am not homophobic, I don’t want to watch any entertainer make out with anyone, I am there to see them perform. Not watch the equivalent of soft core porn. I believe this has affected Adam’s career. He just got to big for his drawers, which is sad, as I could see him as another Elvis.

      • Jodi Mueller….I have to agree and disagree…..I remember we were all such big fans of Adam when he was on Idol……We knew from the beginning he was gay but he never come out publicly until after the show. Yes, what he did on the AMA was not cool but it was Adam……Adam is a performer. I also saw Adam on his Glam Tour…totally agree he is flamboyant to say the least but I didn’t see him kiss anybody on the show that I went to see. He is a great entertainer and if he choses to kiss a guy, who gives a flying leap. Madonna kissed Britney Spears, so who cares. They are all very talented people no matter what their sexual preferences are……No doubt that Adam is out there but as long as his talent and shows are still fantastic, then I will buy his cds and go see him in Concert. I’m a Fan……period.

    • I have to say I support Carla all the way. We as straight people are not welcomed to voice our opinions without the gays being offended.You are who you are,and that is fine.Just don’t cram it down our throats.

  2. Theres going to become a point in time where the idea of being in the presence of a homosexual individual will no longer make people feel the need to express an opinion, point out the obvious/make assumptions, or belittle and embarass. I am a married woman, to a man, and I honestly couldnt care less if a contestant is gay. They shouldnt feel the need to expose, or cover up for that matter, their relationship status for the show. Equal rights. If in fact that is the case, shame on my fav show AI for contributing to judgement.

    • Adam Lambert made a production out of his homosexuality. He wanted to make sure the entire world knew he was gay….Whereas, Clay Aiken didnt..they are both gay, but Clay was as “normal” as you can get, he didnt try to shove his sexual preferences down the audiences throats like Lambert did. Who cares who they like having sex with….the show is about Singing ability and not about Sex!

      • Adam didn’t come out verbally until after Idol but really who cared….I couldn’t wait to watch Season 8 just to see and hear what Adam was going to sing that night….Just like James this season….These are entertainers who capture their audience and want to see and hear more….NOT the same old boring singers (and you know who they are)……

  3. OO My GOD it seems this issue is the MOST important ProBlem of the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!…Hey Com’onNNNN…whAt’S gOing On in thIs WorLd!!!!!Just watch Around, the World is eXploding by A LOT OF Serious ProblemsssS and they Try to hide the pRoblems bY repeating and repeating these kindS of ISSUES…!!!!

  4. Adam was spot on with his comments and they were justifiable, Carla people have the right to express an opinion
    you are just being infantile. Grow up and stop the name calling i’m straight but gay people have rights too, what if your kids were gay? Stop being a NASTY stupid FUGLY wench!

  5. Not being “out” on Idol just makes good business sense. Pre-teen girls, teen girls, cougars and grannies make up the bulk of the voting block. They’re not going to fantasize about an openly gay contestant. Coming out would hurt the singer’s chances. It’s just business. And for the record Adam Levine is a twit. The Voice has a different target audience than Idol, the 18-49 demographic and the contestants are already in show business. Orientation matters less there.

    • I must say that I agree. As an American Idol fan, I would probably not watch the show if it openly promoted certain sexual agendas.

      • Elizabeth & Templar……No one is promoting sexual agendas….I get what Adam L. means is that we should’nt care about peoples sexual preferences but their ability to sing. Make no mistake…pre-teens, teens, cougars and grannies know all about gay & straight people, but the operative word here is PEOPLE…..We are all just people living different lives…..Its called AMERICA!!!!!

    • Well, I was going to say who cares who they want to sleep with if they can sing great! If I vote for anyone on Idol (I’m not a Tweenie girl either) I vote only based on how well I like their voice! I hadn’t considered the business angle as stated by Templar, but I guess that makes some sense too. It’s supposedly still a free country, and I think personal choices should be personal and private and not made a big deal of. Everybody seems to want to be so politically correct about gay people, it seems like we’re supposed to put them on a pedestal or think of them as some new species that deserves special treatment. Nobody gives me any special perks because I’m heterosexual. All people should be treated equally-with kindness, courtesy and respect while we still live in a country that allows it.

  6. American Idol does go into the backstory of the contestants. On Idol we meet the contestants parents, siblings, grandparents, spouses, boyfriend/girlfriend. Also contestants also talk about the people who influence them and serve as inspriation/support.

    I am of the belief that a person’s sex life is their business. I personally don’t care if a contestant is gay, straight, or bisexual. However if they have a significant other in their life weather it be a spouse, or boyfriend or girlfriend and they site that person as being inspiration and/or support they have a right to point that out.

    Like this past season we knew that James Durbin was in the competition because he was doing it for his fiance and son. He always sited his fiance and son as the reason why he was there. So if James Durbin was able to point to his significant other as the reason why he was in the competition then why can’t a gay guy or a lesbian do the same?

    I admit that I didn’t watch Idol when Adam Lambert was a contestant so I don’t know if he was in any kind of relationship when he was on the show, but I do know that while he was on the show that photos of him making out with a guy appeared. From what I’ve heard(I haven’t yet watched Adam Lambert’s VH1 Behind the Music) that he wasn’t even allowed to release a statement addressing it. He could have been at least allowed to release a statement saying “Yes I’m gay and so?” or something along those lines stating that yes he is gay but that is something that really shouldn’t matter.

    I will once again state that a contestant’s sexual preference shouldn’t matter, but if they want to site the people who serve as inspiration or support they should be allowed to do so, even if it’s a spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend not matter if that person is of the same sex or not.

  7. I think it should be the contestant’s choice about whether they mention their significant other, regardless of gender. While I’m sure the Idol machine would have balked if Adam had come forward and said “I want to have this person introduced as my partner and I want to talk about him in a video segment”, I also think that Adam was a smart cookie who knew that it would severely hurt his chances of winning if he publicly made any sort of statement like that — simply because of who the voting demographic is.

    I, myself, couldn’t care less about Adam’s sexuality, but it shouldn’t be the producers’ choice to silence the contestants on the issue– if the contestant wants to make it known, and is comfortable with coming out to the world on television, then it should be their choice to do so.

  8. Levine has no point whatsoever to make on this non-issue. Contestants have ample opportunity in their profile time on Idol to express who they are and what they value. There was one openly and obviously gay guy on the show last year who could have won, had his song choices not gotten so wonky. All watching knew he was gay. So what does Levine want…a sign hanging around their neck announcing their sexual orientation? That is reverse discrimination towards gays and lesbians. They alone have the exclusive right to express that value. In f act, sexual orientation has nothing whatsoever to do with picking talent. Levine can return to thumb sucking and promoting hi low grade show, using his deceitful tactics, if that is what he wishes to continue to do.

  9. It’s true I read the rules last month when my daughter was trying out for American idol! You aren’t allow to talk about yourself also there was some fine print that I read carefully that also said in so many words that american idol has the right to make up anything they want about you an publicly advertise it! I will never watch that show again! VOICE all the way!

    • Funny how they have that when last season the judges would go on about how they want the contestants to show America who they are. The contestants aren’t allowed to talk about themselves, or what or who inspires them unless of course it’s a sob story, like surviving a car accident, being moved by the death of a family member, or the wish of a dying parent or grandparent. Anything else that might have inspired the contestant to try out for this show shouldn’t be talked about. That’s utter rubbish. How are we supposed to “get to know” a contestant if they aren’t allowed to talk about their life, friend, or family or anything else about them that might give the public an idea of what this person is all about?

  10. I’m 80 years old, had the same friend for 48 years. I never thought I had to advertise my sexuality. Friends knew and didn’t care, accepted us as we were. What anyone else thought was of no importance. I just don’t understand what the big deal is, we either are or we’re not, so what ??!!

    • Larry…Good for you….thats the way it should be….and many more years together!!!

  11. American Idol is about talent … not sexuality! There is no legitimate reason to parade one’s sexual preference …sexuality has nothing to do with one’s singing ability! It is a NON-ISSUE!

    • I agree with you on that, that ones sexual preference shouldn’t be put on display on this show, but when you have contestants who talk about their families, namely spouses or girlfriend/boyfriend as American Idol has a tendency to show the backstory of the contestants, so if a gay or lesbian is a contestant and they have a girlfriend/boyfriend shouldn’t they be allowed to mention them in the backstory segments?

      • @ Shawn…Several good points. Sexual preference should very well be a non-issue…but…with “Mainstream America” voting we end up with the Scotty McCreery’s and NOT the Adam Lamberts or decent rockers like Chris Daughtry or James Durbin. jmho Hello to Sherry K. and Phyllis G. Whoo Hoo 🙂

      • Rose A. You rock too!! We get a bit out of control if it’s about ADAM!! love Daughtry, Love James Durbin. seems like AI want’s Vanilla? jmho too! It is so nice to see your whoo Hoo’s again. 🙂

  12. Adam Levine definitely has raised a good point.
    It does not surprise me that the homophobes ar out in full force. America Idol is not about talent, as I witnessed on Season 8 and this past seaon. I attended the AI on Tour this past Sunday. Was hoping Scotty could change my mind. Thought he would have access to better material, but no, it was boring. He’s a nice kid, but boring. Kris Allen is also a nice kid, but boring. The Tour is flashier and louder with the performers competing with the band. I want to hear the singers, not the damn band.

    American Idol is for Americans who are biased. They don’t vote on talent, they vote with prejudices. This past season is the last I’m ever going to watch it. I’m going with the X-Factor, and definitely the Voice. And my friends are following. To silence contestants about their sexual orientation is just wrong, and disengenuous. And those of you who think that teens don’t fantasise
    about a gay guy, you are so out of touch, because they do.

  13. Personally I think it should be up to the contestant whether its announced or not. Unfortunately though, I feel it could take away votes based on their personal life rather than their talent. We have to remember the show is about finding talent.

  14. eriskay Cavan….you made some good points…..Season 8 was the perfect example of prejudices in America……That season was Adam Lamberts from beginning to end. Kris Allen was a great guy and nice singer but he was no Adam and because he was (obviously) gay, he lost…..A terrible injustice. People on this blog were so against Adam because he was gay and that was sooo wrong….Who cares what anyones sexual preference is….He was soooo talented. I could go on and on about this injustice but middle America will never change, not in my life time anyway…..Its just a shame.

    I truly enjoyed The Voice and didn’t even realize that there was more than one gay person on it…and really who cared…..I listened to them sing…..not who they date!!!!!! Elton John, one of the greatest singer and entertainer of all times is gay…who CARES!!!!!

    • I have to agree with my good friend Phyllis G! We both love ADAM Lambert. He is extremely talented! And Kris Allen is boring. Like Phyllis say’s people on this blog and a lot of other blogs were against Adam! SAD! To me the show is about talent. Period!! I still love ADAM. I will continue to buy his CD’S. And I can say for certain that a LOT of ADAM’S fans are women!!! Yes Phyllis, it is truly a shame that in our life time this homophobic stuff is not going to go away. I have friends who are gay. They are some of the nicest people you could ever want to meet!! They would give you the shirt off of their backs.I don’t really pay any attention to what their( the contestants ) sexual preference is either.I am just looking for the most talented! Like ADAM Lambert for example!! I didn’t know anyone on the voice was gay! I just enjoyed watching it. I have been a fan of Elton John since he first started. And I don’t care one bit that he is gay! What has that got to do with his amazing talent? I am like you about Elton John and Adam Lambert. WHO CARES.I was not going to even comment on this matter Phyllis. Until I kept reading and getting a bit mad. Then I saw your post and thought if girl friend is going to say something ~Well then so am I. Have a nice week end Phyllis. See you later. So to speak! Sherry K

      • Woops!!! SORRY! I guess it is still there. I looked three times???? OK, I am out of here.

    • Phyllis G. You go girl! I was happy to see your post. And I wrote a long one. I saw it post! Now it is gone??? But I agree with everything you said. Lets see if this one stays on here. Take care and have a great week end!

      • Sherry K. Always nice to see old friends on the blog……We were always big fans of Adam and I will always be a fan of his talent…..
        and I’m sure you will too.

        Enjoy the rest of your summer, looking forward to seeing you on the XFactor site….should be fun with Simon & Paula reunited again….

      • @ Sherry K. & Phyllis G. Haven’t been on in awhile…agree with you both. and YES, Adam Lambert has to be one of my all time favorites and still is. looking forward to the X-Factor as well. Take care dear friends. 🙂

      • Rose & Sherry…so good to see you back on the site and its not even Idol season…LOL….

  15. Ok let me explain to everyone how it works when you try out for American idol. 1st you register.. Than 3 days later you wait with 12,000 other people. You film 5 hours of the show with everyone. Than you wait in your seat till they call you section. There are 10 tents with one producer per tent.. Each tent takes 4 contestants at a time. They are not really looking for talent at this point they are only looking for the “Jackass” of the show.. They pass up on ALOT of talented people an let 1 or 2 go per every hundred that actually have talent. About 300 people out of about 12,0000 get pick to go to the next round. Than they have to attend a class.. To go over the rules! Yep this is where they say don’t talk to people about the show.. A few days later the same 300 people audition in front of executive producers than those pick about 150 mostly again the the “Jackass” of the show. So in all reality the 3 judges think this is what this town has to offer as far as talent! Which is a complete lie. You would not believe that most incredible talent that is let go. But let’s not forget the poor people that they are letting think have talent all so they can humiliate on national tv. I will never support this show again.. I’m not really sure how anyone that’s involved with the show can actually sleep at night. So believe me when I tell you once you are picked to go through the rounds they own you an you gave to go by their rules. Think about what I am sayin before you decided to ever watch that show again!

      • Yes, my cousins neighbor went through this and the 1st thing I said was how can these terrible singers and annoying people go before the judges and act like they have a chance??? She said the same thing, when they get through, they think they are through because of talent! The initial rounds are all about who will look good on tv, who will be the guy we love to hate, who will be the one we sympathize with, etc…. Talent, well, just a few of those so we can at least get a decent top 10. Not at all fair to the real singers in the 12,000.
        As for the openly gay issue, umm… what does this have to do with singing? Keep what you like to do in the bedroom to yourself, thank you. You should not have special consideration/laws/privledges just because of where you like to stick your d*#% !!!!

    • Funny if stuff like this becomes public how this show has stayed on the air for so long. I’ll definitely be paying more attention to X-Factor and the Voice now, because at least on the voice you don’t see the ones that can’t sing the ones who get to do the blind auditions on the Voice can actually sing, and the Voice doesn’t tell it’s contestants to “show America who you are” after telling them not to talk about themselves.

    • Hi Rose! How are you doing sweet Ladie? You know that Phyllis and I love you!!! And all three of us love ADAM LAMBERT!!! Rose, I am looking forward to the X/Factor too!
      I am looking forward to seeing Simon and Paula there together to see if there is any chemistry with the two of them again. Wonder if Simon still has a fiance?? She was quite Pretty. But, I think Simon is afraid to get married!! He is like George Clooney. Afraid some chic is going to take a Bunch of his money! Take care Rose! Sending luv along the wire, or satellite I should say!!!

  16. Its a flippin family show!!! Better off not announcing it.. the f**s would b voted off even early. I know i wouldnt vote for a f*g if i knew for sure they were gay. Just my opinion.

    • So basically you’re saying that it’s ok for a straight person to be able to talk about his or hers spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend but a gay person it isn’t?

    • It is a singing show!!!! Not a gay/straight beauty contest. While holywood would like us to think 1/2 the world is gay, truth is, there are less than 1%. Of those, not all are truely gay, some are just perverts (NAMBLA for example), the perverts give true gays a bad name and then you have what you call the homophobic people… oh, what does homophobic mean… fear of gays? NOT, just because you belive in the bible, or feel marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman, does not mean you “fear” gays. So Get it straight… Is the person really gay, or just jumping on the ban wagon for attention, perversion, thinks it is the popular thing to do or what… because they are making it much harder for people who are genuinely genetically gay. If you are genuinely gay, I accept you, if you are a pervert shoving it down my throat, get help, stop calling everyone a homophobe, climb back into the closet because America won’t tollerate it any more than they do child abuse, rape, or any other perverted behavior that you engage in for your own pleasure.

      • First not all gays are perverts. It’s what the media shows us about gays that gives that image. I know plenty of gays who just want to lead a decent life and they have nice loving relationships with their partners that they have been with for years, and they don’t believe in running around in their underwear or sleeping around or clubs or drugs. Not all gays are child molestors, in fact most men who sexually abuse a child are straight.

        This issue is if a gay person is a contestant on American Idol then they shouldn’t have to hide it. Not they don’t have to flaunt it or push it on us, but they shouldn’t have to pretend to be straight, and if they have a partner there supporting them shouldn’t they be allowed to at least be able to acknowledge that partner as their partner, especially since they show the straight contestant’s spouses or partners.

  17. talent is talent.And if you have great talent then it doesnt matter if you are gay ,lesbian.its the person you are and why’s not our job to judge.if you got a great voice, talent then thats all it takes.if you advertise your gay or lesbian and make it a issue and dont put your talents first then you shouldnt be on the show .for there is a time and place for everything.

    • Shawn, You are just so right dude! Yah for you. What you just said above was great. I wish I could write like you! You tell some of these people like it really is!! And they need to hear it.

  18. I don’t care about gay people being out of the closet. I do wish Carla would keep her bitchy personality in the closet!

  19. Why can’t people just talk about the SINGING on singing shows for once. Adam and the voice aren’t even close to Idol in the SINGING category yet.

  20. Branden….as usual your column inspires us to comment…..agree and disagree, so argumental…I love it…..Thanks…..

    • Phyllis G. is right Branden! Your column was so hot last year I think everyone got burned! It was actually kind of funny Branden! And I mean that in a good way!

  21. Wow! An egg could be fried from the heat coming out of some of these comments. I get the issue, and I understand how frustrating this is for people because it’s right here to see. I watch these shows to hear good voices and watch good performances. I also watch to see the contestants grow in their versatility and ability to perform. I would rather the shows would not get so much into the background of the performers. Many of the contestants have had difficult life experiences, but revealing this sometimes seems like looking for a sympathy vote. Let the shows keep it about singing and less about personal information and then maybe the best singer can win.

  22. When I read Adam Levine’s comments, I began to wonder if there might be an underlying reason for his taking a “shot” at Idol other than the reasons he gave. So, I went into the Voice fandom and read that the 4 judges would be back and that they would be competing more closely with Idol in regards to time slots, etc. Now all this begins to make a little more sense. Take a sensitive topic like Levine did, remind people of past experiences with Idol and their favs, and this undermines Idol in the eyes of the public. What do people who are displeased with a situation like this do? They watch the competition which happens to be The Voice. While Levine has a point, I wonder what the real motive for this was. Perhaps it was to bolster the audience for his show. I expect to see more comments to demean Idol in the eyes of the viewers from The Voice.

    • I don’t believe the Voice can hurt the juggernaut that is Idol. I don’t doubt that Levine may have a hidden agenda, but the format of Voice lacks the drama and excitement of Idol. Voice is like Dr. Pepper [different] but Idol’s Coke {it’s the real thing].

  23. I feel American Idol picks talent, as you see this years tour. I saw it twice, Sacramento,and in Los Angels. Best ever,contestants most improved ever, Singers who really are going to have a future in singing.
    Now, re the sex issue, I have & know gay friends, let us drop the bias issue. I feel, for the sake of the person singing it is unwiae to elaborate on your sex affiliation. Many right wing people would mob & vote against you. Sing, that is what is about, if you are good, your song choices are good, you will win. Perhaps not come in first; but that has not hurt lots of singers who have received
    contracts. This season was the BEST..Keep them coming!!!!!!!! All time breaking records. Appreicate you got the chance, as many never get this opportunity!!!!!!

    • Carol Cooley……I am soooo jealous…..I just don’t get why they don’t come to Vegas on the tour….The last time was Carrie U.’s season……This year was chock full of talent…..Glad you enjoyed the concert…..

  24. I totally agree with Adam Levine I don’t give a care if the contestant is gay if the contestant has amazing talent I am going to vote for them AI is suppose to be about talent but it seems to be more about the image then talent that’s why I love the voice more because they actually concentrate on the talent and don’t give a care if your gay/lesbian or bisexual

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