Watch 'American Idol' Lovingly Embrace Its First Openly Gay Contestant - Rolling Stone
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Watch ‘American Idol’ Lovingly Embrace Its First Openly Gay Contestant

After Sochi and Michael Sam, the times are certainly a changin’

Is America ready for an openly gay Idol?

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On the heels of the controversy surrounding gay college football player Michael Sam, that’s the question that was raised on Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol. In its 13th season on the air, the show decided it was time to loosen the reins and let viewers decide, by putting 20-year-old MK Nobilette through to next week’s live rounds.

While plenty of other Idol contestants have publicly come out after appearing on the show (see Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken and Frenchie Davis), the key word is “after,” because Idol has never let anyone say, “I am gay” on the show. Until now.

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After performing Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” during Hollywood Round, Nobilette sat in front of the judges to learn her fate, making sure to tell them, “I’m very obviously gay.”

The judges were quick to admit they had doubts about letting her through. “All these questions come up: How do you fit in? Do you not fit in? If we think it, what will America think?” Harry Connick, Jr. asked.

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To which Nobilette confidently replied: “There are always going to be people in America, and everywhere else, that are going to hate. But in the last two years, I think there have been a lot of things that have really changed that and have made it a positive thing.”

From the legalization of same-sex marriage in several states to the Sochi Olympics backlash to highly sought-after Sam publicly coming out ahead of the NFL draft, the times they are certainly a changin’. And it all paved the way for American Idol to finally allow an openly gay contestant.

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“The world is changing,” Jennifer Lopez admitted. “And we think you could be an American Idol.”


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