"Jeremy. I'm so angry!!! I want to cry. Answer me. Please."
So read the IM I received in the middle of last night from Fernando, my Argentine friend in Mendoza. No, it wasn't something that I said or did. Fernando, who is as obsessed with U.S. pop culture as any of my friends back home, was nearly driven to tears by the American Idol finale.
"Adam Lambert lost," he continued, although I was asleep and unable to respond to his MSN mini-meltdown. "How could it happen?"
Good question. The morning after, pundits and AI viewers were all speculating on what went wrong. How did underdog Kris Allen manage to triumph over clear frontrunner Adam -- the one I, two posts ago, predicted would strut away with the Idol crown -- in what turned out to be the biggest Idol upset (the only Idol upset?) ever. Some blamed Danny Gokey's fans. They figured that Kris attracted the Danny followers who were looking for someone similarly wholesome and non-threatening to get behind. Others predictably reasoned it was because many of Adam's disciples figured he was safe and didn't bother to call in their vote. And a delusional few thought Kris was simply the better singer (as if).
I say it's time to stop ignoring the elephant in the room. While reasons one and two (and for the tone deaf, reason three) certainly came into play during Tuesday night's voting process, the top culprit can be summed up in one word: homophobia. It's the reason Clay Aiken lost to Ruben Studdard all those seasons ago, and it's the reason Adam lost last night (Exhibit A).
It doesn't matter that Adam has yet to come out and say, "Yep, I'm gay." The implications are out there, even if you don't pay attention to the tabloids and gossip websites. The eyeliner. The nail polish. The pomp. The circumstance. Those ever-changing 'dos, and that preening swagger, too. Add it up together, and what have you got? The resurrection of the ultimate rock & roll Queen, Freddie Mercury. If the pop star thing doesn't work out, Adam could always take over vocal duties for Mercury's band, who, fittingly, performed on last night's show with Adam and Kris (see photo, above).
Even if your gaydar is completely out of order, and you have yet to zero in on Adam's sexuality, the implications are loud and clear. Most straight guys, even the most ardently metrosexual ones, just don't play dress up like that anymore. (Even David Bowie cut it out around 1980!) And I don't believe it's the tween girls who objected to Adam. Carrie "Miss California" Prejean aside, young ladies of a certain age tend to be the most open-minded demographic when it comes to sexuality, and I suspect they turned out in droves to support Adam. It's their middle-American moms and dads. The United States may be ready for a black American president, but it's still not ready for a gay American Idol.
P.S. Is it just me or are the majority of Idol finale performers great but over-the-hill pop stars who haven't had a hit in a decade or two? Where's Lady Gaga when you kind of need her. At least the producers pulled Black Eyed Peas for the born-after-1990 crowd.