Melissa Etheridge Adds Praise To The Voice‘s LGBT Inclusion

Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, out rocker Melissa Etheridge praised NBC’s amateur-singing competition, The Voice, for having more openly gay competitors than Fox’s American Idol.

Echoing comments made by Voice coach/Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine in Out magazine, Etheridge said The Voice‘s use of blind auditions (celebrity judges backs’ are turned when contestants try out) means there’s more room for diversity.

“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.”

“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.”

Rejecting Levine’s criticism, American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has said 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?”

Nothing at all, Nigel. But since Idol makes such a point to dig into contestants’ backstories—disabled wives, car crashes, Tourette’s Syndrome, druggie parents—LGBT crooners should be represented too.