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Friday, May 4, 2018

American Idol is not Discriminatory, just because it doesn't have Affirmative Action



Last week on American Idol, the elimination of contestants Ada Vox and Michelle Sussett caused predictable outrage. Accusations of homophobia (in the case of Vox, a drag queen) and racism (in the case of Sussett) came flying through social media platforms. For long time fans of Idol, there is indeed nothing new here. I mean, top 7 week in Season 3 (2004), which saw the elimination of Jennifer Hudson (who still went on to have a great career by the way), provoked even greater controversy. Somehow, people always want to find evidence of American Idol (or should that be America itself?) being discriminatory.

It is true that American Idol doesn't have affirmative action. Therefore, it doesn't particularly protect minorities from being eliminated through voting. But neither does this mean that Idol is discriminatory. Quite the opposite, in fact. Idol has had many non-white winners (Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks, Candice Glover), and has also been the launching pad for gay musicians like Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert. In fact, Aiken himself took to Huffington Post to say that he believed Ada Vox was eliminated simply because she was not the best singer, not because she was a drag queen. Plus, the fact that Ada Vox entered the top 10 already represents a better result than the first-ever Idol drag queen anywhere in the world, Courtney Act, who was on Australian Idol 2003 (and who later became one of the world's most famous drag queens). I'm sure Ada will have a similarly successful career.

So, calm down and enjoy idol. After all, even though Idol is often about singing old songs, it is definitely 'not that kind of retro':