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  Versus Lythgoe Says His Show Respects LGBT Privacy

  Versus Lythgoe Says His Show Respects LGBT Privacy


Top American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe says his show is just being respectful of contestants' lives, and that's why there haven't been openly gay finalists.

"When does privacy stop in this country?" Lythgoe toldEntertainment Weekly. "If somebody wants to say they're gay, it's up to them."

Lythgoe suggests that Adam Lambert, who finished second during season 8, decided on his own not to talk about being gay while on the show.

"He must have come out before being on Idol, he just didn't talk about it on Idol. And why should he?" Lythgoe said. "Is every actor going on television going to say, 'I'm only playing the part of a straight man, I'm really gay?' There's no reason that I would see why anybody that goes on television should start coming out with who they are, what they are, what their sexuality is, who they're going to vote for or what their religion is."

Lythgoe was asked by Entertainment Weekly to respond to criticism from The Voice's Adam Levine, the Maroon 5 lead singer who said during an interview with Out magazine that gay people shouldn't have to hide who they are in order to get recording contracts.

"What's always pissed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken," Levine said in the interview. "C'mon. You can't be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break. 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."

Levine helped propel several gay candidates to the final rounds of The Voice. And he talked candidly about what he learned while growing up with his gay brother.

But Lythgoe, who is also a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, seems to imply that Levine went too far when talking about Idol.

"To be frank, I didn't understand why we're talking about contestants being gay or not gay," he told EW's James Hibberd. "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?"

Levine was making a similar point, that it shouldn't matter whether a contestant is gay. But Lythgoe took had a different response to the same premise.

"What does that have anything to do with singing talent?" Lythgoe said. "Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me."

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