The Autostraddle Roundtable: Adam Lambert – First Gay American Idol?

Topic of the Week:
“Could Adam Lambert be First Gay American Idol?”

Forget Swine Flu. Every newspaper everywhere has a much more important topic on its mind — one that miraculously enough was raised initially by The New York Times (more commonly known to place dead last in the trend-reporting race) on April 12th and is now making the rounds all over again with April 30th’s Reuters piece “Could Adam Lambert be first gay American Idol?”

We thought this would be an excellent kickoff to our new feature “The Autostraddle Roundtable” (like The Algonquin Round Table!) where the whole Team gets together to share our thoughts & feelings regarding a Hot Topic mainstream media presentation of GQBLT peoples. We’ll have special guests chiming in too for future segments! Ready?

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“Adam Lambert wears eyeliner and diamond stud earrings, sings like a dream and has won a rare standing ovation from tough-minded judge Simon Cowell. With three weeks to go before the “American Idol” final, Lambert, 27, is favored to win the No. 1 U.S. television talent show and become, possibly, the first gay or bisexual singer to be handed the “Idol” title by millions of Americans.” (read the whole article here)


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Riese:

There’s some linguistic problems here. Adam Lambert is not the first prospective gay American Idol. IMHO, Lambert has “come out” in so many words, so I don’t have an issue with that aspect of the article. He’s sort of pulling a LiLo, and that’s fine. He’s not pulling an Aiken — Aiken denied his homosexuality for a long long time, you may recall. Adam hasn’t denied anything.

BUT here’s what I do have an issue with: “Hollywood awaits its first big gay star”? Oh honey. He’s not our first big gay star. “Out” and “gay” are certainly not mutually exclusive, and claiming otherwise is irresponsible and ignorant. If we were a different type of publication—if I had pink hair and a lot of nerve, I might talk about the plethora of gay and lesbian stars we’ve already got. And I don’t mean Ellen and Elton. Not to mention the handful of openly bisexual glam rockers we’ve been enjoying since the 70’s. This writer needs a fact checker. A FAT checker!

That being said, I’d much rather see Adam working on a more edgy label than the crapmongers that packaged the underwhelming careers of Fantasia, Ruben Studdard et. al. (Kelly Clarkson broke her contract with the AI peeps to become a top recording artist, I think?) So if he doesn’t win, I’ll still look forward to his possibly more promising career on another label.

I actually have only seen his show because A;ex is obsessed with Adam and I felt left out of her monologues about him. Also I watched the Ruben season, because I was depressed that summer. Oh! Here I am talking about myself again.

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Robin:

First off, I think this kid needs to actually come out and THEN, MAYBE, an article like this could be REwritten and in front of the word gay, it could say OPENLY. Then it would sort of make sense. I think I’ve seen maybe 5 male contestants on this show… ever… whose orientation was not questionable. In fact, one American Idol who was also not openly gay but not claiming to be straight, now walks the red carpet at the GLAAD awards. So yea, this would not be the first gay Idol. MAYBE the first openly gay American Idol, IF he comes out before the show ends.

Does this article really say “Hollywood awaits its first huge gay male star”? I have no words for such a ridiculous statement. Just the word ridiculous.

Also, how is this at all a comparison for anyone to Obama being elected President? In ANY way? Maybe if the race to Presidency was more like the race to be the next pop star who doesn’t write their own music. But for now, sadly, being President has a less to do with snazzy outfits and vocal range than perhaps the American public would like.

Was this is really written before this kid has officially come out? That’s pretty ballsy, Jill Serjeant, don’t you think? Way to out a boy who maybe just likes playing with eyeliner.

Lastly, good for him … I guess? I can’t really be excited about a still closeted (to the media, at least) gay American Idol when we have bigger things happening, like gay marriage in IOWA!!! And even more things NOT happening!!!

My number one feeling is, yawn.

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Alex:

I can’t say much about an article that uses the term “sexual preference.” Really? Maybe Jill Serjeant and Sarah Palin should hang out and coffee tawk-it-up. Here, I’ll give them a topic: respecting my preference to be Puerto Rican (I’m half! Really!)

I will instead engage you in a 3-paragraph lovefest for Mr. Adam Lambert, as I’ve ritualistically tuned in every week since he did “Satisfaction” (Rolling Stones cover) at the very beginning of the season.

There’s a reason people are buzzing about Adam and it doesn’t have to do with his sexuality. It’s because he’s awesome. I want to say terrible/AWESOME since that’s a combination we love here at Autostraddle, but he doesn’t have much ‘terrible’ in there to make that a fair equation — though he surely grasps the concept of ‘camp’ with his theater background and all.

It’s difficult to get me to sit down and watch anything at all unless its Intervention or Survivor and I’m a slave to Adam’s 6 minutes each Tuesday night.
I can’t stop watching him. I want to drum for him (anyone want to hook that up? Seriously.)
And I’m rooting for him in many ways.

In conclusion, American Idol is one of the gayest things I’ve ever seen anyway. So whatever, Bill O’Reilly/Yahoo News/New York Times!

P.S. Here are my favorite performances from Adam thus far:

Mad World (Tears for Fears) – in which he receives a standing ovation from Simon Cowell.

Born to be Wild

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Crystal:

My first reaction was ‘Adam who?’ But after reviewing footage, I hope he wins. Not because he might be gay or bisexual, but because I dig his cover of Mad World and his emo fringe. Anywho. It doesn’t really matter who he is, because I’m going to weigh in on the article and not the performer.

When a gay or bisexual person stands on a stage, or any platform, and is seen as an equal to the heterosexual person standing beside them then this is clearly a positive step forward. However – this dude is not openly gay or bisexual or anything, which in my opinion makes this entire article unnecessary and a waste of time. I don’t believe that the media should speculate on someone’s orientation. People have the right to stay in their closet, and while we may not always like it or understand it, it’s not our place to make the announcement for them. If this guy wins, good on him. But it’s a talent show, so let’s just focus on his talent.

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Green:

Groannn. I have so, so many feelings about this article. Let’s start with the fact that Adam Lambert has not officially come out to any of us. His friends and family, perhaps, but as far as we know he simply is who he is. I won’t even touch on the debate of whether or not he’s obligated to come out to the public… However, having said that, I also believe that the more exposure we have, the better. Especially when it’s positive, accepting exposure. So now I’m very torn and angry/happy. Blerg.

I see what Jill’s trying to do here, and I appreciate it, I think. I do wish she had a decent editor, though. “Hollywood awaits its first huge gay male star”—honey, are you serious? Been in the business long? There’s a veritable chorus line just full of “huge gay male stars” [rowr!]. That’s right, I said chorus line! I’m using stereotypes to make my point!

In closing, I say: bring it home, Adam! Then, if you find the time, maybe think about officially coming out to your adoring fans? There’s always some queer in Nebraska who needs your help, you know.

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Stef:

OK – I know that these are confusing times and gay rights are a very hot issue, but I have trouble understanding why exactly it would be such a huge deal to have a gay American Idol in the first place. I would consider it a huge deal if say, Adam Lambert was out, proud, had a boyfriend cheering him on in the first row every night and the voters treated him the same as all the other contestants and never made an issue out of it – when we get there, we’ve finally gotten somewhere as a culture. This kid’s NOT out, so what we have here is basically another Clay Aiken situation – and until this kid confirms one way or the other, America is going to be stuck wondering…

Another thing – is this show even relevant anymore? I stopped watching once they made the audition specials like eight hours long; I can’t handle that much Seacrest at once. The last several Idols have had severely lackluster album sales, and have failed to have the longlasting impact that the show seems to promise its contestants. Winning American Idol no longer guarantees anyone a successful or even moderately notable career, and all we can really predict for Adam Lambert’s career at this point is that he’s going to have to do that godawful Top 10 tour they’re all contractually obligated to do. Gay people have sold millions of records to the American public, won reality shows and charmed the nation, and I’m not really sure anybody needs American Idol to do that. Visibility is nice, but all this speculation over some kid who MIGHT be gay just comes off as patronizing.

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Tinkerbell:

Hello America this is Tinkerbell, the most beautiful dog in the Americas. You can vote for me on your Nokia. I have many feelings towards the songs of the idols and also towards Littlefoot my boyfriend who does not believe in gender. However one time I thought that Kelly Clarkson was a lesbian. My number one band is Uh Huh Her and they were never on American Idol and they are both gay. Kelly Clarkson is gay. Ruff ruff. Thank you America my name is Tinkerbell please vote for me and for Uh Huh Her Common Reaction on your Nokia. Also AfterElton was created because of a gay man who sang with glasses on. I love littlefoot and obama and adam is a very beautiful person though not as beautiful as me Tinkerbell but I liked him for his talent as the other ladies said and also for his moves and outfits. Thank you love Tinkerbell.

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Carly:

I don’t really understand this article. This was clearly not written by a gay person, because a gay person wouldn’t refer to the GQBLT community as “gender-benders.” I don’t watch American Idol but I’m really confused: isn’t this a show about finding a person who can sing really well and has a good personality, a “music” “star” if you will? Who gives a shit what this kid does in his spare time? There are queer people on competition reality shows all the time, which is awesome for people like us getting to watch that on tv. But I feel like the media is putting quite a bit of pressure on this kid. It’ll be cool if he wins, being an assumed gay person and all, but there are lots of gay people who are on tv (they’re called “actors”) or who are singer or who have won a competitive reality show. This article was mostly terrible? I think?

Stef: um, we all have the same opinion. we need a hasselbeck or whatever her name is, can somebody get miss california to weigh in?

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26 Comments

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    Love this new addition!

    I don’t have much to add, although there is one huge difference between Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken.

    And that is one has significantly better hair than the other.

  2. Pingback: Twitted by thepopidol

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    I’m not really a huge Adam fan. I find his performances a little over the top and to be honest not that great.

    Maybe he’s an acquired taste… but for someone that has worked with him, i’d say he is meh.

    i also really don’t think a cd of his would sell right now.

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      ahh eric, you’ve crushed my little heart. Where have you worked with Adam? I’m curious, do tell. Also, can you hook me up (re: being his drummer) ?
      .
      Sincerely, semicolon

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        a:ex, I doubt that eric has worked with Adam, infact I would bet my house on it. Just another Adam basher. It’s amazing how many of his detractors say they know him or have worked with him. He must have been a very busy boy.

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    i disagree with all of you, I’ll have to get back to you on a reason why though. All I know is I want to be Elisabeth Hasselback for today.

    With that said, I remember sending the NYT article to Riese awhile back- and just from the title alone thinking, really?

    Also, fantastic idea with this roundtable addition – love it. I especially love thank Tinkerbell is involved because obviously I am interested in hearing Tinkerbell’s thoughts on anything and everything

    I might get scorned for this, but I have to say (as an avid Kelly Clarkson fan) the two times I’ve seen and met her . not such a friendly gal.. then again one of those times was like the day after her Idol performance that everyone was speculating she was pregnant and that article where she had to deny she was a lesbian again. I’ll blame it on a bad mood… but still

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    semi:

    idol. duh. jk.

    i was with him during the whole hollywood week to top 36 portion. idk i’d rather seem him stick with theater… i just feel like although he has talent, i’m just not sure i see him making it. so many idols have been loved and then the love leaves after the season.

    you can so be his drumer. i would come to the concert then.

    in other news… youtube took my music out of my 1234 video. so sad.

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      With all due respect, Eric, I think in this instance I will take more notice of Simon Cowell’s opinion that Adam is the only Idol with a chance of being an multi-million selling international artist.

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      As I suspected, a basher. No one who has actually worked with Adam has a bad word to say about him.

      How classy to use the opportunity to promote your own music!

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    First of al I just want to say that i love this website and i think the idea of having everybody contribute their opinion is genius. I think the question as to if Adam Lambert is gay or not should not even be brought up in a competition like American Idol, he is talented and thats all that matters. oh and i also have met Kelly Clarkson twice and she couldn’t be sweeter or more down to earth plus she’s got a kick ass voice!

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    I am speaking for both myself and Tinkerbell when we say Adam will absolutely be a star. We need a little more theater in our music. Look at Lady GaGa! I think music and pop music especially should be as fun and exciting as possible, and that’s what Adam seems to represent to me. The fact that he’s gay or bi just makes him more edgy, in my book, and more likely to bring a passionate emotional backstory to his work and performances.

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    I trust Simon too with what he has to say, I just don’t think Adam is as great as everyone else does… just my opinion.

    I just think with so many idol artists there is so much love for them on the show and then they go out and make cds and they just don’t sell. Only time will tell with Adam (or any this season).

    I personally don’t think the whole gay thing is an issue, if it was he would not be getting the amount of votes he does.

    oh btw… i wasn’t promoting my music (if that was directed towards me)… it was a silly dance video i did that semi once liked…

    just my two cents… oh well.

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      I will say though…

      maybe I will like Adam more after he releases his own music. I was not a huge David Cook fan on the show, but after releasing his own stuff, he grew on me a lot.

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    I would buy multiple Adam CDs. I’ve already downloaded all the songs he’s done for AI. I know lots of other ppl that have also. I think he’s a real class act and an awesome singer….gay…bi…straight…who cares? He’s wonderful!!!!!!

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    Even if Adam doesn’t win – he stands to have a pretty darn good career. He’s gotten so much exposure from this Idol thing that you can’t walk 2 steps anywhere w/o hearing his name.

    From his interview, he sounds like he knows what he’s doing and getting into also. I wish him lots of luck.

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    I have been an Adam fan since I saw his AI audition. I download everything he does…his voice is addicting. His sexual orientation is pointless, he is sexy no matter what. I will buy his forthcoming cds. I think he has raised the bar for subsequent AI seasons because it will no longer be a ballad snooze fest. The point I think might be important in this particular conversation is that I have read that people are voting for Danny Gokey in response to Adam’s perceived sexual orientation and I feel it should be a performance/singing competition only. I am hoping that aspect will dilute in our human conversation.

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