With the decision about Prop 8 today, the Adam/Kris story will probably get lost in the uproar for a while. That's too bad, because the story makes its own positive statement about acceptance of LGBT people.
No doubt the right-wingers who had religious reasons to vote for Kris Allen are now furious with Kris for talking so openly about Adam Lambert as a friend. Throughout the post-Idol interviews, Kris has been pressed hard to comment about Adam's sexual orientation. But he responded with courage and conviction, with comments like, "I hope that's what me and Adam's friendship has shown people, that no matter how different people are, you can still love them and be friends with them." On "Access Hollywood," when Kris was asked if he thought there was a Christian vote, Kris said that he hoped not. He hoped the voting had been about what the contestants did on the stage.
In the "Larry King Live" interview, host Ryan Seacrest didn't do any overt probing about Adam's sexuality -- no doubt due to policy by the show producers and/or Fox that they steer clear of the G word. In spite of the way Seacrest and the 10 finalists skirted around that word, there was no mistaking Kris's meaning when he talked about "differences" in the group, and the blossoming of friendship in spite of "difference."
Not so "Access Hollywood," which tried to spark discussion of Adam's "sexuality." But Kris didn't take the bait. The highly charged political nature of how some people perceive the "Idol" vote became spookily clear when the "Access" host asked Kris if he was interested in going into politics. When Kris said no, the host (who alleged that he knew the final figures on the vote from a high-up source at Fox) pointed out that Kris could probably win as governor of Arkansas, since he had gotten more votes than the present governor. It's a sad comment on the American scene to know that more people vote on "American Idol" than vote in elections.
The gods and goddesses do have a fine sense of irony, which accounts for Kris and Adam becoming roommates in the Idol mansion. How amazing is that! And how was it decided? Any way you look at it, rooming with Adam was going to be a potential "political problem" for one of the guys. Did they draw straws? Did Kris volunteer? We may never know. During the "Larry King Live" interview last night, the two guys joked about how Adam's hair products took up most of the bathroom counter, leaving Kris just a few inches for his after-shave.
Some gossip columns started malicious rumors that Kris and Adam were having a culture clash, with Kris unhappy about Adam's messy housekeeping and "lifestyle." Right now, however, the two of them are very convincing as BFFs. On "Larry King Live," they traded nudges and grins that didn't suggest any old hostilities about "lifestyles."
On the other side of the gossip spectrum, some LGBT fans fantasize that the two of them are an item. There are "Kradam" fan-sites that scrutinize every byte of news footage for hints of a relationship. (Dream on, I say.)
For his part, Adam has been equally courageous about how the Idol vote came out -- taking the position that he's a winner in his own right, with his own challenge to make the most of his time on the show, and holding to the friendship with his fiercest competitor.
All in all, the two young men have handled their unique winner's situation in a way that sets an example for being dignified, gracious and gutsy.
Yes -- whatever happens with Prop 8 in California will monopolize the headlines for some time. But I hope this Kris Allen/Adam Lambert story doesn't get lost in the national noise over marriage. At a time when bullies are beating up on gay kids at school, when gay people are savaged verbally on a daily basis by red commentators like Rush Limbaugh, and celebrities often engage in sickeningly egotistical and selfish backbiting at one another, the importance of Kris Allen's affirmatives about his gay friend should not be overlooked.
In fact -- while it would have been great if Adam had won, I also think it's great that the heterosexual winner has emerged as such a surprising champion of acceptance. Hopefully, when he's out from under Fox policy, he will be more explicit about it. And hopefully his positioning stays unchanged. I.e. I hope that Kris isn't being browbeaten behind the scenes by the conservative church people, to the point where he starts backtracking.
In the long run, comments like Kris's can do a lot to soften the hard hearts of anti-gay Americans -- especially when he speaks to the young teens who voted for him.
The interviews on "Larry King Live" and "Access Hollywood" can all be found on YouTube, and are well worth watching.