Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

American Idol

Yes, I’m talking it about here.  Why?  Well, I feel like we are an open community.  So, this has nothing to do with torture, taxes, or Rush Limbaugh, but I posted this at my private blog and I wanted to share with all of you this little piece of me…

As soon as I saw the stats this morning, I knew that Adam Lambert wasn’t going to win.  And that’s okay.  Last week, few votes separated the top 3 and Danny Gokey’s fans were more likely to go to Kris Allen than Adam Lambert.  But still…

I had a very personal reason for hoping that Adam would win.  And it was actually very selfish.  I grew up in rural WV, raised in a conservative church were gay is bad.  I remember being told in church that many of the Nazis were homosexuals.  At the some time, I love and revered the church leaders.  So for me, the idea that somebody could be labeled “gay” and still win a popularity contest astounds me.  If America can choose between a gay and straight, why would America ever vote for the gay?  I guess that for me and perhaps for so many others, homosexuality is still so wedded to shame that I cannot see it as mainstream.  We still live in a country where THIS is mainstream.

Yeah, Will and Grace was funny.  And every body laughed at the Fab Five (Queer Eye for a Straight Guy).   But even if you are amused by and tolerate gays, can a gay still be the American Idol?  Even if he’s gay, he could win?  

I cried last night during Adam’s performance because I just could not fathom that the gay community had gone from “me being beat up in the locker room” to Adam Lambert in LA.  Wow.  I mean, I know gays and lesbians who still have to pretend to be straight when they go home for Christmas.  Roll your eyes and laugh, but WOW.

Still, it’s not fair that we put this on Adam or Kris.  From a career perspective, it’s probably a good thing that Adam didn’t win American Idol.  He won’t have to do all of the obligatory winner bullshit and he can release his first album on his own timetable, not the “Oh my god, you won, we have to get something out there now before America forgets you” timetable.  And many of his “fuck the establishment” fans will probably appreciate that he isn’t mainstream enough for the conservative Idol crowd.

A part of me actually feels sorry for Kris Allen.  He may be doomed to be plagued with the “Do you think you won because Adam Lambert is gay?” question.  He is going to be asked that repeatedly over the next few months, and that is a shame because he is a damn good artist.  There will be an astrix next to his name on the American Idol Wikipedia page.

So, it’s not really fair that I attach my hopes and dreams to Adam Lambert.  He’s just an artist.  He deserves the opportunity to pursue a career without anyone trying to attach some symbolic meaning to his run on American Idol.  He should be able to live his life and pursue the career he wants without being tagged as “the gay almost-Idol.”

But still, imagine if we lived in a country where identity didn’t matter.

What a beautiful thing.


  1. I must admit, I don’t watch AI, so I can’t comment on the talent involved, but I did catch some of this discussion on talk shows and in posts on blogs. The only person I saw that thought it should matter was Bill O’Reilly.

    I don’t get why you think this is significant. I didn’t notice prejudice or anti-gay sentiment hurting Elton John’s career.

    You could argue that having a successful career isn’t the same as getting votes in an AI type competition. That would be true, but it would ignore the demographics of the AI voters. I don’t know how those demographics breakdown, but I’ll bet they are predominately young. The younger audience might be more likely to vote for him so they can make a statement about the gay issue.

    This will probably be considered somewhat controversial, but that’s never held me back before. 🙂

    I think homophobia, just like any other kind of prejudice, is overrated and its prevalance is overestimated. I don’t doubt that I would feel differently if I was gay, or black, or a member of any other group that faces discrimination. But I’m not a member of any of those groups, which gives me the ability to view this with some detachment.

    I am not trying to say that homophobia or racism don’t exist. I’m only arguing that they aren’t as prevalent as it would appear to be. A gay person might interact with dozens, if not hundreds, of people during a regular week. Most of those interactions are perfectly civil. None of them really stick in your memory. However, let one homophobic asshole spout off and it is proof that homophobia is alive and well in our society. Add up all of the thousands of interactions in a typical year and then add up the number of homophobes encountered and you can point to lots of assholes.

    Let’s face it, a lot of us just don’t give a shit whether someone is gay or not. A lot more people have negative attitudes towards gays that are only loosely held. Those negative feelings would disappear if they got to know even one gay person. Then there are the true homophobes who hate gays with a passion and would like to put them all in prison or see them killed. I believe the first two groups outnumber the last by a huge margin.  

  2. i do agree that homophobia did play a factor in last night’s result (and maybe jewiness too!).

    on a personal note – i despised the over-the-top hype that was glambert but was shocked when he didn’t win. oh well, all’s well that end’s well since this way adam will be able to drive his own creative ship now.

  3. GrassrootsOrganizer

    I just spent another half hour watching Adam Lambert videos.  If it was available, I’d already own my first Adam Lambert album, the first album I would have purchased in over 15 years.

    Adam Lambert is in the Sinatra/Elvis/Michael Jackson rare air of the mesmerizing phenomenon– it’s not just that he has signing talent — he moves like a cat, he’s a true cutting edge creative genius and he’s an androgynous thing of beauty.  Unless he flies into the side of a mountain, we are all going to see plenty of Adam Lambert in the years to come.

    Now, to soothe everyone’s soul a bit, the real creative genius talent is NEVER going to win a popular opinion poll  against the averagely gifted cute harmless boy next door everyone in America wants to mother, smother, kidnap or go to the prom with.   None of this is new and I doubt any of this has anything to do with Lambert’s orientation.  

    Imagine an American Idol contest between Ricky Nelson and John Lennon.

    I rest my case.  

  4. GrassrootsOrganizer

    Imagine if the performances were reversed and everything else was the same — so the straight guy came out every week as a different dangerous bizarre persona up to and including KISS boots — and the obviously gay guy came out and sang like Ricky Nelson.  

    I’m tellin ya, even the gay Boy Next Door wins and has for decades.

    Edgy is scary.  Truly creative is scary.  It’s all about comfort levels, how far the performer is going to push us and how well we will be able to accept  being pushed.    Even the preteens in small town Oklahoma know a nice non-scary gay guy in a plaid shirt.  Odds are they may not know any guys with black finger nails and eye liner.  

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