As “The Voice” crowned Javier Colon its winner on Wednesday, host Carson Daly said he was proud that this singing competition was unique in its open acceptance of gay contestants.
“The thing about 'The Voice' is no one knew anything about anybody,” Daly (left) told TheWrap just after the finale wrapped. “It’s not like it’s a gay friendly show on purpose ... There wasn’t any bias, but we embraced the fact that the gay community was so well represented in our show, and we were very proud of that.”
Two of the three runners up on “The Voice” – Beverly McLellan and Viccki Martinez -- are openly gay, a stark contrast to other singing competitions like “American Idol.”
Indeed, while gay and lesbian representation on singing competition programs is no revelation, “The Voice” is the first show of its kind to openly address its contestant’s sexual preferences.
The sexuality of “Voice” finalists McClellan (pictured with coach Christina Aguilera) and Vicci Martinez were not ignored. McClellan's partner appeared on camera multiple times throughout the show.
"Voice" coach Adam Levine said other shows should be similarly gay-friendly. "They should be," he told TheWrap. "I don’t know why they ever weren’t.”
Meanwhile, McLellan and Martinez's popularity coincides with increased LGBT media visibility, with New York State’s recent legalization of gay marriage.
"It couldn't have come at a better time, could it?" said McClellan in an interview.
In contrast, "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert, for example, did not feel able to address his sexuality until after the competition ended.
“I chose to kind of ignore the issue until after the voting ended,” Lambert said when asked about the issue by ABC.
“The Voice” has been different. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation applauded the show for its inclusion of openly gay contestants.
The competition’s gay-friendly reputation comes in spite of tweets sent by two judges, country star Blake Shelton and singer Cee-Lo Green, that many considered homophobic.
"Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries touching my behind He’s gonna be beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy..." Shelton tweeted early in the season.
GLAAD demanded Shelton apologize, which he soon did.
Two weeks ago, Cee-Lo Green apologized to gay contestants on the show and issued a public apology after he tweeted to a writer who had negatively critiqued one of his performances, "I'm guessing you're gay? And my masculinity offended you? Well f--- you!"
The "F--- You" singer told Us Weekly: "I most certainly am not harboring any sort of negative feeling toward the gay community. I don't have an opinion on people with different religious, sexual or political preferences."
In the end, McClellan and Martinez fell short in their quest for $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Republic Records.
Colon, the freshly-crowned winner, will now join the seven runners-up on a summer concert tour, which is sure to be attended by an LGBT-laden cheering throng.
Photos by Grant Weinraub