Adam Levine might be known as one of the more competitive coaches on "The Voice" but the lead singer of Maroon 5 also has an opinion about "American Idol" and how the show treats the issue of the contestant's sexuality.
In a new interview with Out magazine, the singer talks about the two competition series. "I can't [expletive] with 'American Idol'," Levine said. "It's a cultural institution. On The Voice, we just care about a different list of things. It's for a different type of person, I guess."
"The Voice" had four openly gay contestants this season, which included finalists Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez. Levine's contestant, Javier Colon, ultimately won the competition.
"What's always pissed me off about 'Idol' is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken," he told the magazine, referring to the public knowledge about "The Voice" contestants' sexuality versus that of "American Idol" contestants. "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."
He later said about "The Voice," "It's a great show because it doesn't alienate anybody. If you're a talented person, and you want a career, and you're trying to join an extremely intimidating and also completely dismantled industry - skip all that other [expletive], and go for what can be immediately effective."
Perhaps the most famous example about what Levine is talking about is that of "American Idol" season 8 competitor Adam Lambert. Lambert came out on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine shortly after the finale, where he lost to Kris Allen.
However, prior to the finale, Lambert's sexuality was the subject of much speculation. He was even featured on the May 8, 2009 cover of Entertainment Weekly as "The Most Exciting 'American Idol' Contestant In Year...And Not Just Because He Might Be Gay."
Lambert skirted the issue in that interview when asked about his sexuality saying, ''I know who I am. I'm an honest guy, and I'm just going to keep singing.''
While competing on "American Idol," photos surfaced online of Lambert kissing an ex-boyfriend. Lambert recalled the meeting he had with a publicist from Fox about the controversy in an interview with Out magazine in November of 2009.
"The publicist from Fox, [Jill Hudson]. She was like, 'You know, stuff like this has happened before, and this is usually what happens?' And I was like, 'Jill, I don't want to deny it, and I'm not ashamed of it. And I don't want to seem like I'm ashamed of it. Because that's not me. That's just not how I am,'" Lambert recalled. "'But, at the same time I really want this opportunity and I want to stay on the show as long as possible. So, I kinda have to come up with a compromise.""
"And she was like, 'Well, is it a big deal to you?' And I'm like, 'No.' And she's like, 'Well, then let's not make a big deal out of it.' And that's what we did. She was like, 'You know, own it. Tell them who you are, and just move forward.' And that's what we did," Lambert said.
He later added he did not regret his decision. "And I'm glad that I handled it that way, because I think that had I immediately said the words and labeled myself -- you know, said 'I am gay" -- I think that it would've been more about that, initially, than anything else," he told Out in 2009. "And the fact that we didn't come out and make a big announcement or anything like that -- that doesn't make any sense to me anyway. It's not an announcement. It's just, it's part of who I am."
Fox had no immediate comment about the issue when asked Levine's remarks.
For Levine the issue hits home because the singer has a gay younger brother. In the interview with Out magazine, Levine talked about the importance of his family acknowledging his brother's sexuality.
"We all really wanted to provide some cushion for him and constantly let him know that it's OK," Levine said. "A lot of people don't want their kid to be gay and will fight it at all costs. But I've got news for you?it's a losing [expletive] battle. The more you fight it, the more [expletive]-up your kid's gonna be. You've just gotta embrace it from the beginning. That's the only way to deal with it as a family. Otherwise, you're just screwing yourself over, and you're gonna make your kid miserable."