When I left the Gospel Soundcheck blog for my little hiatus last fall, the hot topic was (besides Katy Perry), homosexuality (which, I suppose, includes the singer who kissed a girl and liked it). I know. What on earth does being gay have to do with singing?
Well, apparently a lot. Ray Boltz, American Idol, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Knapp, Katy Perry. All of the posts about those artists drew huge numbers of viewers along with some … er … lively discussion. Turns out that music fans really do care about their favorite artist’s sexual orientation, even outside of Christian music circles.
Adam Levine, frontman for Maroon 5 and coach/judge on the last spring’s newest competition, “The Voice“, told “Out” magazine recently that it’s “always pissed me off” that Idol hides the fact that some contestants, like Adam Lambert or Clay Aiken, are gay.
Er … just for the record, Idol might have hidden it but I’m pretty sure viewers were clued in. But I digress.
I confess that I don’t give a rat’s arse about who’s gay and who’s not on “American Idol” or “The Voice” or the radio. I pick who I listen to by whether or not I like their music. Same goes for the Jesus fish.
But I also think that the music industry, knowing that it causes controvery, keeps the spin cycle at full speed by speculating on who’s in the closet. Case in point: Adam Levine’s own interview about gay contestants on singing shows. In a gay style and culture magazine.
When asked about his own sexuality, Levine responded, “There’s no way to hide my straightness … but if people didn’t think there was a small chance I was gay, then I wouldn’t be doing my job very well. Look at the best ones, guys whose sexuality was always questioned. Bowie. Jagger. Freddie Mercury. I wouldn’t be the front man of a band if that question hadn’t come up at some point.”
For the record, Levine, like the other artists he mentioned, is also wildly talented. That he makes both guys and girls feel all swoony inside is just a bonus.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that music fans do support the lifestyles of their artists when they buy their music. Remember back in 2007, when the parents of Amy Winehouse’s husband pleaded with music fans to stop buying her music to force the couple into rehab? Whether it was a good way to address the couples’ drug problems is up for debate, but it does point to the fact that consumers can send a message with their dollars.
So if you really, truly, honestly do find an artist’s lifestyle at odds with your own values, then by all means don’t listen. This is America. The TV, the radio, your iPod, they all come with an off button. (Which I was happy to use this last season of “American Idol”.)
Which brings us back to the beginning. “American Idol”, “The Voice’, gay contestants – who cares? When “The X Factor” hits the air in September, reuniting our beloved Simon Cowell and the delightfully flightly Paula Abdul, no one will be paying attention anyway.