I thought it was a really telling example of the heterosexist machinery of fame, and I had hoped that three years later, we'd moved on - maybe grown a bit, maybe matured, maybe graduated from the it's-only-okay-to-be-straight brainwashing of a show that has over 25 million viewers weekly. I mean, Adam Lambert came out as gay. Okay, after he was a contestant on the show, but still, I thought things might have changed.
I was wrong.
Last night, American Idol hit a new low. Get this.
So Jacob Lusk sings the heck out of his Motown song (You're All I Need To Get By) and after the judges praise him (and Steven Tyler leaps onto the stage to kiss him on the cheek and hug him, crying out "Baby Luther! Baby Luther!")
Then Jacob goes and kisses his grandmother on the cheek and they hug.
Still sweet right?
Then Ryan Seacrest invites everyone in the front row to come up and kiss and hug Jacob while Ryan runs down the voting numbers.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve girls.
Wait! There's a guy in the line.
And what happens?
Ryan puts out his hand and physically stops the guy from climbing the steps.
"I'm going to have to call it quits... Sir! I'm sorry, we're all out of time, Sir. (audience laughter) I know it's killing you, but I'm going to have to stop you there. Thank you very much."
Meanwhile, girl number thirteen slips by and gets in her "safe" heterosexual hug.
Wow, Ryan (and producers, and that audience!) Is it that horrible to consider that a guy fan would want to hug a guy singer? That funny a notion to consider? That among thirteen audience member hugs, one would be from a guy? Did Steven Tyler's embracing Jacob freak you out that much?
Think about it. 10% of America is queer. So 10% of the hugs on American Idol could be, too.
The studio wouldn't spontaneously combust. The sky wouldn't fall. You might even make me a fan of your show again.
But for now, I'm just angry with you.
Ryan's hand stopping that male fan was a hand stopping everyone different. It was the hand telling every gay kid out there that the only way to be accepted in our culture is to be straight. It was a moment that Gay-bashed our queer hopes and dreams.
Steven Tyler and Jacob's grandmother got in some lovely moments of celebration. But after that?
It wasn't just one hug of shame. It was thirteen.
What do you think? Am I making too much of this, or does this piss you off, too? Let me know.