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Controversy
surrounds gay American Idol contestant

Controversy
surrounds gay American Idol contestant

Former British boy-band member and openly gay Harvard alum Tom Lowe auditioned for American Idol 6 in Seattle and earned a spot to the next round, but his impressive audition was not aired on Fox in the United States. Instead, it aired in the United Kingdom on January 19, reports Nikki Finke of Deadlinehollywood.com. One of the reasons Lowe's audition may not have aired, purports Finke, is that during the audition Randy Jackson asked Lowe if Simon Cowell had ever tried to sign Lowe's former boy band, North and South. Lowe replied, "No, but I believe Simon was working for BMG at the same time I was there." The British press quickly ran headlines accusing Cowell of planting Lowe and trying to "fix" the contest.

Some allege that Lowe's past successes with North and South and as a back-up singer for U.K. band Take That make him too well-connected and successful to compete fairly.

Others are concerned that Lowe may not be "wholesome" enough for American Idol because he allegedly posed nude for a British magazine as "Britain Choirboy of the Year." He became a well-known figure around Harvard after competing for the Mr. Harvard title in which, according to TheHarvard Crimson, contestants were "parading in bathing suits, shaking scantily clad behinds to the tunes of Britney Spears, and performing a racy striptease." Lowe also donned a pink lounge suit and black eyeliner in the campus band Tommy and the Tigers.

Lowe courted controversy in December of last year when the Boston Herald reported that Massachusetts taxpayers had shelled out $60,000 for Lowe's six-month contract that he had signed to star in a $400,000 Web-TV tourism promotion. Critics asked why Lowe's contract was as long as six months. However the tourism board backed Lowe and got him a gig singing "The Star-spangled Banner" at Fenway Park.

Idol fans will find out Wednesday if Tom Lowe made it into the semifinalist round of 24 contestants, but early reports, according to Finke, say he did not advance. (The Advocate)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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