Adam Levine Blasts 'American Idol' for Hiding Gay Contestants' Sexuality

The Voice judge says Idol should encourage stars to be open about their lives -- and he takes it as a compliment when people question his sexuality

Adam Levine is extremely proud of his TV talent competition The Voice -- and not just because he was season 1's winning judge. In a new interview with Out magazine, the outspoken Maroon 5 frontman calls out the show's major competitor, American Idol, for hiding the sexuality of its gay contestants.

"What's always pissed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken," says Levine. "C'mon. You can't be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break. You can't hide basic components of these people's lives. The fact that The Voice didn't have any qualms about being completely open about it is a great thing."

While no one is accusing Idol of conspiracy here, it's hard not to see Levine's point. The show's two most prominent gay alumni, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken, were both in the closet during the competition. The Voice, on the other hand, had four openly gay competitors in its first season, two of whom (Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez) made it to the final round. Their sexuality was discussed casually; it was part of their back story segments, and their partners were occasionally interviewed on camera.

Levine tells Out that he hopes The Voice is setting a good example for the treatment of gay performers in the music industry.

"It's a great show because it doesn't alienate anybody," he declares. "If you're a talented person, and you want a career, and you're trying to join an extremely intimidating and also completely dismantled industry -- skip all that other bull****, and go for what can be immediately effective."

Levine himself has a gay brother, and says that his family can "single-handedly dispel any ideas that sexuality is acquired."

"Trust me, you're born with it. My brother is gay, and we knew when he was 2," he says with a laugh. "We all knew."

For his part, the "Moves Like Jagger" singer says he's absolutely straight -- but takes it as a compliment when people question his sexuality.

"If people didn't think there was a small chance I was gay, then I wouldn't be doing my job very well," he argues. "Look at the best ones, guys whose sexuality was always questioned. Bowie. Jagger. Freddie Mercury. I wouldn't be the frontman of a band if that question hadn't come up at some point."

The often-shirtless Levine is certainly doing his job well -- and he looks good doing it, too! Watch the behind-the-scenes video of Levine's Out photo shoot, below.

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