In a recent interview with Out Magazine, "The Voice" coach Adam Levine criticized "American Idol" for not promoting openly gay and lesbian contestants. "What's always pissed me off about 'Idol' is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken," says Levine, who also discusses his gay brother in the interview. "C'mon. You can't be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break."
Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of "Idol" as well as "So You Think You Can Dance," has now responded to the Maroon 5 leader's charges by denying that the show has ever stifled gay contestants.
"To be frank, I didn't understand why we're talking about contestants being gay or not gay," says Lythgoe in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "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."
When asked specifically about Adam Lambert, who publicly stated that he was gay after finishing second in season 8 of "Idol" but never confirmed his sexual orientation on the show, Lythgoe replies, "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.
Along with "The Voice," "American Idol" faces stiff competition when the U.S. version of Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" premieres next month. "I think it will do well," says Lythgoe of the show. "If it continues the production values it had in the U.K., it will be superb."
As for the return of "So You Think You Can Dance," which has yet to be renewed by Fox, Lythgoe confirmed that the show will likely return for a ninth season. "It's not official. But I'm told it's imminent," he says.