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.

In 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 great thing.”

American Idol Producer Nigel Lythgoe disagreed, saying sexual orientation wasn't relevant to the contest.

“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 Entertainment Weekly.