Could Adam Lambert be first gay "American Idol"?

Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:45pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Adam Lambert wears eyeliner and diamond stud earrings, sings like a dream and has won a rare standing ovation from tough-minded judge Simon Cowell.

With three weeks to go before the "American Idol" final, Lambert, 27, is favored to win the No. 1 U.S. television talent show and become, possibly, the first gay or bisexual singer to be handed the "Idol" title by millions of Americans.

Lambert, praised by "Idol" judges for taking risks with songs like Cher's "Believe", has never publicly confirmed his sexual preference, nor has he denied speculation about being gay -- a striking contrast to 2003 runner-up Clay Aiken.

When photos showing him kissing other men and dressed in drag circulated on the Internet last month, Lambert said simply: "I have nothing to hide. I am who I am."

Lambert ended in the bottom two for the first time on Wednesday night, but viewers have so far shown little sign of caring about his ambiguous sexual orientation.

An army of "Glambert" fans cheer him on, vote for him weekly and have made him the favorite to win.

"Some people are saying, wouldn't it be amazing that in the same year that the first African-American president took office in the U.S., we also elected the first gay and/or bisexual 'American Idol'," said Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.

"I don't think that's comparable. Rather than being surprised, I am thinking 'Wow, have we really got this far without having one yet?'"   Continued...

<p>Adam Lambert, one of the top four finalists of the television show "American Idol," poses at the BritWeek 2009 party in Los Angeles April 23, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>