Gay American Idol 2014 semifinalist MK Nobilette has made history as one of the season 13 Top 30. Although we have had LGBT contestants who reached this stage of the competition in the past, MK is the only one so far to have ever actually come out on the show. Is America finally ready for an American Idol gay Top 30 contestant? We’re not so sure.
MK Nobilette, also known as Emkay Brazil in some places online, gave a strong rendition of “A-Team” by Ed Sheeran in the final solo round of Hollywood Week. Her performance was certainly as good, if not better, than most of the other contestants who made it through to the Top 30 last night.
From the bits we’ve seen of her other American Idol performances, and clips of her from YouTube, it is clear that MK is seriously talented. However, it’s also obvious that she is probably going to be seen from now on just as that “gay” contestant by a large number of viewers. No matter how great her future performances are, she’s been labelled whether she should be or not, and it’s hard to shake that.
We know there is at least one other Top 30 contestant who is openly out in life (and not hard to spot on the show), but so far they are keeping quiet and in a way, we can understand why. Pretty much for the same reason that former contestants like Adam Lambert, Jim Verraros, and Clay Aiken kept mum about their sexual orientation while on the show. Once you’ve said it, you can’t erase how it colors people’s judgement about you as a person and an artist.
We have already seen plenty of negative backlash about MK Nobilette telling the American Idol judges she is a lesbian, despite how relatively unnecessary her coming out was. When MK Nobilette said she was gay, many were outraged at her and producers for “pushing an agenda.” Yet, fans are adoringly sweetness and light when another contestant talked about his four children, thus coming out very strongly as a heterosexual.
What’s most disturbing is how the viewers have reacted to MK’s appearance even more than her sexuality. Apparently it is less offensive when the gays don’t look like they might actually be gay. But a female who crosses gender lines or appears too “butch” is taking it way too far.
We personally witnessed in social media last night how fans mockingly questioned whether “it” was a boy or a girl, even though MK’s voice was definitely feminine. Some feigned horror when “she” was put into the Top 15 “girls” group. We even witnessed American Idol get it wrong themselves when they originally put up MK’s “Road to Hollywood” video on YouTube with male pronouns attached. (They were later corrected.)
Sadly, it appears we are just not quite ready yet to hear a gay American Idol contestant actually come out on the show. Especially not if she doesn’t resemble a typical male fantasy of what a lesbian should look like.
Just saying the word “gay” about a contestant is still apparently considered force-feeding something nasty to people, no matter how many times producers might talk about a singer’s wife, husband, kids, etc. when they are straight.
We hope viewers can actually just sit back and listen to MK sing and base their votes on that alone, but somehow we don’t think it is going to happen.