Just minutes after American Idol announced that stand-up comedian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres signed on as its fourth judge, the American Idol boards lit up with comments on the selection of the Emmy Award winner. Much anger was positioned at the selection of DeGeneres as a judge, saying the selection of DeGeneres as a lesbian celebrity tarnished the show’s image as a “family show.”
They further questioned her credentials as a judge, saying that she knew little about music and the music industry in particular. One particular commenter, a person calling her/himself mostdisappointed, said “To be an effective judge, I would think you should know a little about music. Dancing to it doesn’t really qualify you. I have always watched the show, but won’t be watching anymore.” Several people said they would no longer be watching the show as a result of the selection of DeGeneres.
Why didn’t they protest Paula’s much-publicized battle with painkillers & alcohol? Was it because she isn’t gay? Why didn’t they have a problem with Quentin Tarantino’s judging stint, when he was a film director (the theme that week in Season 3 was “music from the movies,” but what right had he to judge? Randy, Simon, and Kara can speak into the contestants’ musicality; I wouldn’t mind having a judge who can speak about a person’s X-Factor, about whether a contestant has a likability or what-have-you that can translate into some kind of career in the public eye. Ellen can do that, and do it well, and do it in a way that can still give a contestant hope.
I think Ellen is a wonderful human being who so happens to be gay. So what? I am a human being who happened to be addicted to porn, cigarettes, and a host of other things over which I was able to claim victory only because of the strength from God’s grace and the gratitude of knowing I am redeemed.
Idol has had its share of gay contestants, including Jim Verraros, RJ Helton, Clay Aiken, Danny Noriega, and, most recently, Adam Lambert; I am saddened that the same kind of self-righteous vitriol spewed at these talented individuals fuels the fire behind a judge who stands to bring the otherwise stagnant Idol franchise to a different market and breathe fresh air into the show.
I do have some reservations about the selection of DeGeneres, but I think many of the comments that say she should not be a judge because she is gay, are totally uncalled for. I think that many of the commentators are probably from the Bible-thumping Southern belt that makes up a good chunk of the American Idol voting juggernaut. Far be it from me to chastise my fellow believers, but I think your hatred is misplaced and the Christian love you are called to mirror is directed at the wrong things.
We need to take a step back and remember that we are called to love each other, issues and all. As a Christian, I know I did nothing to deserve the salvation I claim as a result of Christ’s dying on the cross. Would people love me if they knew of my past, the sinful past that was full of addiction, of failure, of things the Bible calls sin? Many wouldn’t, but Christ did. And Christ loves me. I am sure Christ loves Ellen. He may not approve of Ellen’s lifestyle, but He loves her. Christ wouldn’t approve of a lot of what we do. None of us are perfect. That is why grace is a marvelous thing: it enables us to be forgiven, despite the moments we do something absolutely horrible. Like hate on another human being.
American homophobia has reared its ugly head yet again. I hope Ellen and the ninth installment of American Idol proves this beast wrong. Go Ellen!