Melissa Etheridge on why The Voice has more openly gay artists

Veteran musician and song writer Melissa Etheridge has given her opinion on why NBC’s The Voice has more openly gay artists than Fox’s American Idol.

Etheridge’s comments come after Maroon 5’s Adam Levine criticised American Idol for the lack of openly gay artists it has featured over the years. Levine praised The Voice, for which he is coach, for its diversity. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter song-writer Melissa Etheridge discussed why The Voice has featured more gay artists and put it down to its format – the blind auditions.

“That’s what The Voice is about. You hear the voice first before you make the judgment………I love that with the Beverly [McClellan] girl… a bald, pierced, tattoo, kilt-wearing dyke. And she’s got this great voice, and you hear the voice first and then your eyes make the judgment……..You start to see, it’s very clear how much we judge,” she continues. “I talked to Beverly actually on my radio show and she said that’s one of the reasons she did the show, because she knew they had to judge her before they saw her.” – Melissa Etheridge in an interview with Hollywood Reporter.

American Idol’s producer Nigel Lythgoe, dubbed ‘Nasty Nick’ by the British press when he was a judge on Pop Stars, later rejected Levine’s criticisms of American Idol. Lythgoe stated he “didn’t understand why we’re talking about contestants being gay or not gay.” and “what does that have anything to do with singing talent“.