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Nigel Lythgoe Responds To Adam Levine's Gay 'American Idol' Criticism

NigelLythgoe Singer and The Voice judge Adam Levine didn't hold back in a recent Out magazine interview in which he accused rival show American Idol of covering up its contestants' homosexuality.

"What’s always pissed 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.”

Now Nigel Lythgoe, an American Idol producer and judge on So You Think You Can Dance, has responded, telling Entertainment Weekly that he doesn't consider contestants' sexuality to be a relevant issue for his shows:

I didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay. 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. You don’t expect us to turn around and say, “Are you gay?” Why would we do that? — “By the way, he’s a Catholic and he supports Obama and here’s his sexuality” — what does that have anything to do with singing talent? Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me.

Lythgoe goes on to discuss Adam Lambert, an American Idol runner-up who came out after his season had ended. "He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn’t talk about it on Idol," said Lythgoe.

He went on: "And why should he [talk about it]? 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."

For his part, Lambert says he felt like his sexuality was "out of my control" during his time on Idol, primarily because he was not allowed to do any solo interviews.

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  1. His entire argument crumbles with two simple words: DEAD WIFE

    Posted by: nodnarb | Aug 17, 2011 10:07:44 AM

  2. I'd buy Lythgoe's argument if these shows didn't delve into other aspects of the contestant's personal lives and back stories. They try and be as sappy as they can, with personal family stories and tragedies and they interview the contestants about their upbringing and all sorts of stuff. You don't have to ask "are you gay", no, but you also don't have to hide it if they were to say yes.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 17, 2011 10:10:43 AM

  3. Nigel makes alot of sense, seems like Adam Levine stirring up you know what for publicity for his gig The Voice.

    Posted by: katie | Aug 17, 2011 10:12:05 AM

  4. Are you kidding me? Half of Idol is about the contestants' back stories, histories, family lives and spouses. It's even more conspicuous on So You Think You Can Dance, where most male contestants are clearly gay -- yet they "flirt" with girls and pretend to be attracted to them. Queen please!

    Posted by: Scott | Aug 17, 2011 10:17:42 AM

  5. What a bigoted prick. All these shows do is talk about the contestants personal lives. Why spend so much time showing the background of the contestants and their families if it wasn't important. Obviously, some families don't count for Nigel.
    Now I feel better than ever that I still refuse to watch either Idol or Dance. Now maybe I can finally convince my partner to stop watching.

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 17, 2011 10:17:53 AM

  6. NIgel makes no sense, Brian's point is spot on.

    Idol, and the other talent shows, all delve deeply into the contestant's background talking about their family, significant others, and personal trails and triumphs.

    It's ridiculous for Nigel to talk about some kind of concern for the contestants privacy when they sign agreements with his production company that removes any expectation of privacy, or even choice. Those kids sign away their life to the show and it's producers.

    Posted by: badlydrawnbear | Aug 17, 2011 10:19:57 AM

  7. Lythgoe probably thinks that sexuality is none of anybody's business - but only if it's a gay sexuality.

    Posted by: jason | Aug 17, 2011 10:27:14 AM

  8. Isn't this the same guy who had the dust up about the two men dancing together?

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 17, 2011 10:28:28 AM

  9. I agree with Nigel in that a contestant's sexuality is not relevant to their ability to sing or dance; however, it is also true that if a contestant was raised on a small farm in Oklahoma or lost their father at age 6 or served in the military or works at Starbucks or has a wife and 2 kids - none of that is relevant either, yet these shows are constantly reminding us about the back story of their participants.

    Unless of course that back story contains a same sex partner. You can't have it both ways Nigel. And Nigel, dear, can you please find a gay man to fix your hair? That look has not been in style since the late 70s.

    Posted by: Chadd | Aug 17, 2011 10:33:17 AM

  10. Nigel totally diverted from the topic which was why are you secretly trying to cover up gay contestants sexuality which Adam was talking about. Look at the hell Adam lambert went through, it wasn't until Idol was over when he finally came out. I agree with Adam

    Posted by: Larry | Aug 17, 2011 10:44:10 AM

  11. Nigel totally diverted from the topic which was why are you secretly trying to cover up gay contestants sexuality which Adam Levine was talking about. Look at the hell Adam Lambert went through, it wasn't until Idol was over when he finally came out. I agree with Adam Levine

    Posted by: Larry | Aug 17, 2011 10:47:32 AM

  12. I could not agree more that his shows delve into the personal lives of the contestants so what he says does not make any sense and it's a bunch of bull. I will give him some credit and say that they may be genuinely concerned that gay contestants on idol will be judged based on their sexuality rather than singing. I think the idol voting audience is a more conservative group.

    However, Lythgoe is a liar for acting as if he does not consider the sexuality of contestants on his shows. I specifically recall seeing his discomfort with two men who danced a love story together on "SYTYCD". He could not get past the fact that a man was dancing such a feminine role and voted against that person in the duo. This angered me and completely turned me off. Mr. Lythgoe, sir, you are a liar! You do care about the sexuality of your contestants!

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 17, 2011 10:47:40 AM

  13. Nigel should not have responded. It's been evident from most of the shows he's on, he wishes the "gay thing" would never come up and that on his dance show he favors the straight dancers (which speaks volumns about his self-view.) Once you start doing these fluff pieces on your contestants and you bring up people's spouse, families, friends, etc., to hide someone's sexuality is disingenuous at best and is a lie at worst.

    Posted by: Bart | Aug 17, 2011 10:52:19 AM

  14. The girlfriend in a wheelchair, the girlfriend brain dead, the dead wife, the american soldier, the poverty stricken, American Idol delves into peoples personal life all the time Nigel is lying when he says he doesn't

    Posted by: Larry | Aug 17, 2011 10:52:26 AM

  15. The top two finishers on So You Think You Can Dance had so-called "back stories". And one of them is a confirmed lesbian. But you won't hear that on SYTYCD! Meanwhile they foist all manner of straight relationships-as-storyline all the time.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Aug 17, 2011 10:56:25 AM

  16. I found it:

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 17, 2011 10:56:55 AM

  17. @nodnarb lol that is so freakin funny cuz that entire season me and my friends referred to that kid as DEAD WIFE cuz thats all they talked about on every damn episode. i dont even know his real name i wonder wear DW is now?

    Posted by: sean | Aug 17, 2011 10:57:08 AM

  18. Lythgoe is being disingenuous. His shows trade on heterosexuality, either teen idolatry or steamy dances. 99% of the partnerings on SYTYCD are male/female and tell heterosexual stories of love, sex and breaking up. Whenever there is a same-sex pairing, it is either asexual or they make it amgibuous as to what it is about, like the women who danced as "frustrated 50s housewives". As for the dancers themselves, Cat Deeley makes a big deal of how appealing the boys are to the girls in the audience, or questions the girl dancers about how hot they think the boys are.

    I think Lythgoe knows the rap against his shows, and that is why he included so many gay judges this year on SYTYCD, and he made the revolting display of sitting on Jesse Tyler Ferguson's lap and pretending to be gay for laughs.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Aug 17, 2011 11:02:43 AM

  19. Is every actor going on television going to say, 'I’m only playing the part of a straight man, I’m really gay'?

    Uh....I think pretty much all straight actors who plays gay makes their sexuality clear at every opportunity in the media. That alone exposes an undercurrent of homophobia.

    Posted by: clifford | Aug 17, 2011 11:07:09 AM

  20. Spoken like a straight man (or a closeted one).

    Posted by: Steve | Aug 17, 2011 11:15:03 AM

  21. All these statements tell me are the differences between someone who gets it (Levine) and someone who doesn't (Lythgoe).

    Posted by: Francis | Aug 17, 2011 11:16:47 AM

  22. Well, this whole affair has proven one thing beyond question. Nigel Lythgoe and KATIE are clueless, blithering idiots.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Aug 17, 2011 11:21:55 AM

  23. Wait. Nigel's supposed to be straight?!

    Posted by: Lewis | Aug 17, 2011 11:24:57 AM

  24. Lythgoe is being disingenuous about this which is almost comical given the degree to which Idol and the contestants pimp out their life stories for sympathy or votes. Good lord, that guy with the dead wife should have been charged with abusing a corpse after the way he shook her in the audience's face all the time! Shaken Dead Wife Syndrome!

    But let's face it, the show should really be called Red State Idol since almost inevitably it becomes a battle over who Jesus most wants as a sunbeam instead of singing talent or commercial viability. That's why the person in the #2 spot consistently (for the past several years) outperforms the winner in terms of actual success. That's why I've stopped watching it. At some point in the process the voting becomes more about political/social/religious ideology.

    Posted by: Codswallop | Aug 17, 2011 11:38:40 AM

  25. I stopped watching Both shows over a season ago

    Posted by: Gay American | Aug 17, 2011 11:44:25 AM

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