Adam Lambert has recalled the negative focus placed on his sexuality during his time as a contestant on American Idol.
The 36-year-old Queen frontman, who appeared on season eight of the Fox show back in 2009, had already come out to his family.
But in an interview with The Guardian, he shared that after successfully auditioning for the show, he found himself under intense scrutiny because of his sexuality, and pressure to come out to the American public.
“Look, I’m not dumb. I’d been watching (American Idol) for years and anyone who’d been obviously gay on the show had been made fun of – (Simon) Cowell would make fun of them and they became jokes,” he sighed explaining why he initially downplayed his sexuality. “I remember when I auditioned I was worried about that. And then it didn’t happen to me and I was like: ‘OK, cool.’”
However, during his first audition judge Cowell referred to his voice as “theatrical”, a coded description Lambert explained was the start of many he heard.
And after an article about Lambert headlined The Most Exciting American Idol Contestant in Years (And Not Just Because He Might Be Gay) was published in magazine Entertainment Weekly, speculation intensified.
“As I started progressing in the competition, and with the article, I started to realise that my sexuality was becoming bigger than what I was doing, which, fundamentally, I felt was f**ked up,” he fumed.
Lambert, who lost in the final to Kris Allen, which came after pictures of him kissing an ex-boyfriend were published, finally came out publicly in an interview with Rolling Stone a month after the show ended.
“I remember the gay press criticised me for not (coming out) right or well enough,” he sighed. “People were saying: ‘You didn’t declare it on the show.’ I didn’t, but I also didn’t realise that I needed to. I’d already come out.”