Two years after American Idol helped make him a star, Adam Lambert is still forced to answer questions about his sexuality. We’d probably get a little angry if we were him—good thing he’s the nicest guy on Twitter! Today it’s no secret that Lambert is gay, but during his initial Idol days, the constant speculation about this sexuality threatened to overshadow his immense talent and chances at winning the season eight crown. “It felt out of my control and feeling out of control is scary,” Lambert says in his upcoming Behind The Music episode, scheduled to air Sunday August 7 at 10 p.m. EST on Vh1. Because Idol contestants are unable to do any individual interviews until they have been eliminated, Lambert explains he felt confused by the constant conversation about his sexuality—which included a high-profile cover story in Entertainment Weekly before the finale—and unable to speak out himself. Because it’s television, and a shameless Fox ratings whore at that, American Idol attempted to pit Lambert against fellow finalist Kris Allen, using the powers of convenient stereotypes and catchy alliteration to dub the finale a battle between the “guy next door” and the “guyliner.” “The show knew exactly what they were doing, obviously,” Allen says.
Whether or not the Idol audience was ready for a winner like Lambert in 2009, following those “cookie-cutter” winners that preceded him, the runner-up made a point to speak openly about his sexuality after the show. He came out in a Rolling Stone cover story, which went on to be the magazine’s best-selling issue of 2009. “I wouldn’t want to go through my career hiding anything or covering something up,” he says. “I’m proud of my sexuality, I have no hang-ups, I have no shame. But for me, it’s not about wearing a t-shirt saying ‘gay.’ It’s Adam.” To Idol producers, Kris may have been the guy next door, but to us, Lambert will always be the much more fun kid from down the street. And considering Allen is now judging online singing competitions, with no Behind The Music episode of his own in sight, we think we know who the real winner is here.
Watch Adam talk about the Idol finale and more, in a preview for his upcoming Behind The Music episode: