'American Idol': Did MK Nobilette's Sexual Orientation Get Her Eliminated?
The series' first openly gay contestant looks back on her competition run, including her talk with Adam Lambert and encouragement from Harry Connick Jr.
During American Idol's workshop with Randy Jackson, newly-eliminated season 13 contestant MK Nobilette had a talk with Adam Lambert about revealing her sexual orientation and its place on the show.
"He was proud of me for doing it," the 20-year-old singer told reporters on a conference call Friday, even though the two singers had different opinions on the subject, as Lambert never discussed it during his season because he felt it didn't matter. "For me, I feel the opposite -- I feel like it is part of me, and that matters," she said. "I feel like if I want America to get to know me and who I am, they should know my sexuality."
Nobilette said she was not at all angry that her sexual orientation was the primary focus early in the season, although she was at first taken aback by the attention. She said that being a singer who is also gay was an important subject to address. "I am open about it," she said.
When asked whether her orientation may have cost her votes, Nobilette was diplomatic. "I think it would have affected my votes if I didn’t say it as well," she said. "I think it was good and bad."
For a second, she thought the judges were going to use their save of the season after her emotional reprise of "All of Me" by John Legend. And although judge Jennifer Lopez was teary at the table, the only judge who spoke to her after the show was Harry Connick Jr., who encouraged her to keep moving forward in her career. "He wants me to record and keep trying," she said.
Nobilette does hope to be a "role model for other queer people who are afraid to come out," especially on a show with a platform "as big as American Idol." It was for that reason that the San Francisco native -- who admitted she only watched the show once or twice during season four, when Bo Bice was competing -- chose to perform "Perfect" by Pink, one of the first "extroverted" songs she said she ever performed for other people. She hoped she could use the song as a message, "to say you are worth it and don't give up."
She explained that she doesn't blame the band for her last performance on the show, although she admitted she could have used more rehearsal time, which resulted in her onstage fumble. She also had no hard feelings toward the judges, who she said were right about her needing more stage presence, which she hopes will improve while on tour -- while having fun with fellow prankster Dexter Roberts and this season’s funnyman Caleb Johnson. She hopes to record a folk-rock album, but wants to add strings and horns to the arrangements.
Most importantly, she said, was what she learned about herself as a performer and a musician on the show: "It's the only thing I want to do," she said.