In 12 seasons of American Idol, there has yet to be one out queer female contestant to make it through to the top 30. Even gay male contestants like Jim Verraros, Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert didn’t come out until after their time on the show, indicating that the Fox reality contest wasn’t a safe space to be out to the public. Competitor NBC’s The Voice, however, has been home to several queer contestants, and they have fared well, with Vicci Martinez, Michelle Chamuel and Beverly McClellan all reaching the top three on their seasons.
On last night’s episode of American Idol Season 13, 20-year-old out lesbian MK Nobilette performed an Ed Sheehan song for judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban before discussing her being gay with them and finding out if she’d make it to the next round.
MK is moving on as one of the Top 15 women in the competition, and her discussion of her sexuality alone has made American Idol history. She originally auditioned in San Francisco, where she lives with her girlfriend, with Alicia Keys‘ “If I Was Your Woman.” In this video interview, she talks about how passionate she is about music.
There is no reason why MK can’t be an American Idol. In a world full of pop stars that look much the same — feminine, hyper-sexualized, competing to push boundaries with female sexuality on stage — MK would wow audiences in a different way. Much like kd lang, she could be the next person who finds fans based on her awesome talent and then further challenges some of them with the package that talent comes from. For MK to be out and proud and, above all, herself, she’s already altering the idea of what it means to be an American Idol.
You can follow MK on Twitter @Mknobilette or on Instagram @emkay_brazil. American Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday nights on Fox.