Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine's
criticism of American Idol's policy of keeping gay contestants
closeted rankles Nigel Lythgoe.
Levine took his celebrity to a new
level this spring when he joined Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and
Christina Aguilera as a judge/coach on NBC's singing contest The
Voice, which included four
openly gay contestants, two of whom reach the final four.
a cover story for gay glossy Out,
Levine, 32, calls out American Idol for hiding the sexual
orientation of its gay contestants.
“What's always pissed me off about
Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken. C’mon.
You can't be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing
competition? Give me a break,” Levine said. “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
American Idol Producer Nigel
Lythgoe disagreed, saying sexual orientation wasn't relevant to the
“To be frank, 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 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 told