Todrick Hall Says ‘American Idol’ Producers Encouraged Him To Hide Sexuality
Todrick Hall made it to the semifinals on American Idol Season 9 in 2010. However, he was eliminated just before the Top 12. In an interview with Billboard to promote his concept album, Straight Outta Oz, Todrick suggests that this is because America never really got to know the real Todrick Hall.
But why didn’t he express himself more? In the interview, Todrick implies that American Idol producers wanted him to hide his sexuality and “appeal to middle America”. You can read the full excerpt from the interview below, and get Todrick’s full story from the man himself:
When did you decide that you would be openly gay?
After I was eliminated from American Idol. I remember being on there and Ryan Seacrest would ask me questions. I would stiffly wave and try to deepen my voice so that people wouldn’t be like, “Oh, he’s gay” even though some people knew. A lot of the little girls who were voting for me didn’t and I was also encouraged by the Idol producers [to do so]. They were like, “Make sure you do things that appeal to middle America” and so the undertone of that was like, “Don’t be 100 percent yourself because if you come off too gay, then it’s not gonna work out in your favor.” Adam Lambert did that same thing — he was very himself, auditioned in a hoodie and then on the last episode, he had rhinestones all over. In the past four or five years, the world has changed so much. People are a lot more accepting of going on television and being who they are but after I got eliminated from the show, I promised myself I would never be on another show and not be myself because I felt like I got kicked off for being someone else. I don’t know if America would’ve liked me or not because they never really got to know me and I never allowed them to. I just decided I would rather be slightly less famous or slightly less successful and be me, be a role model or hopefully someone to pave the way for some young black kid looking at me, because there were no black gay role models on television my whole life growing up.
I really don’t know why Idol producers would have told Todrick to tone things down when Adam Lambert made the finale without compromising his own personality. Granted, I don’t recall if Adam ever addressed his sexuality during his run on the show, but I feel like his artistry and individuality were always more important than whether he was straight or gay. And I feel like Todrick could have had a similar run on the show had he been as quirky and inventive with his music as he is now. Then again, if I recall correctly, his rearrangement of “Since U Been Gone” didn’t exactly go over that well. So maybe Top 16 was always Todrick’s ceiling on the show. I guess we’ll never really know.
But what do you think of Todrick’s interview? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on American Idol alums, watch the debut music video from American Idol winner Trent Harmon!