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’American Idol’ Eliminates Lesbian Contestant

by Khaled Sayed
Wednesday Apr 2, 2014
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’American Idol’ contestant MK Nobilette, who had a large following in her hometown of San Francisco, was eliminated from the show.
’American Idol’ contestant MK Nobilette, who had a large following in her hometown of San Francisco, was eliminated from the show.  (Source:Courtesy American Idol)

She had made it to the top 10 and had a crowd of supporters at a San Francisco restaurant cheering her on. But in the end, MK Nobilette, an out lesbian singer, was eliminated from "American Idol."

Nobilette, 20, the first openly gay contestant on the show, will go on to perform in the "American Idol Top 10" tour. She was dropped from the show after singing Pink’s "Perfect."

Over 50 people were jammed into the dining room at Cava Restaurant March 19 to watch the Fox show and cheer on Nobilette, including her lesbian moms, Mindy Spatt and Laurie Nobilette, who raised their daughter in San Francisco’s Glen Park neighborhood. She went to Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.

Spatt, communications director at The Utility Reform Network, was not surprised to see her daughter come out on the show right away as the season began.

"We are a gay family, she has two moms and grew up in San Francisco," Spatt said. "I don’t think she realized what a dramatic thing it was to say."

While Nobilette was trying to find herself, she thought about becoming a firefighter, but music was always on her mind. She sang for kids she babysat, close friends, and even on street corners in the city.

According to Spatt, an aunt of Nobilette’s who is a big fan of "American Idol" convinced her to try out when the show was in San Francisco for auditions last December.

Nobilette said on a PopStop TV interview that if she didn’t mention her sexual orientation, it would have been obvious. She was upfront about who she is and wanted the whole world to know that she is gay.

"It would have been on all over the social media. It isn’t something I wanted to hide. Reality TV shows can have gay people on them," Nobilette said.

Spatt couldn’t agree more and feels great about her daughter performing before millions of people.

"We are very proud, not only about her singing, but of the way she conducted herself from the minute she came out, throughout all the press and interviews. She has been very articulate, humble, and spot-on," Spatt said.

Laurie Nobilette, a nurse practitioner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, never saw this coming, although she knew that her daughter had potential.

"I never realized how much she wanted to do this, but I think she didn’t realize it either until she was actually doing it," Laurie Nobilette said.

Although MK Nobilette wasn’t a standout at school academically, she made up for it in music and vocal studies, her mother Laurie Nobilette said.

"We are grateful to SOTA for doing their best to educate her," Laurie Nobilette said. "She got a great music education there, which she wanted to focus on, and I think her voice really developed when she was there. She learned a lot of good techniques."

"American Idol" is a popular show that is watched by millions of people in the U.S., including those living in parts of the country where being gay isn’t accepted.

"Of course there will always be homophobia," Spatt said. "We know it is a conservative audience, but we know that she has a great base of supporters here. Overall, from what she told me, it has been a positive experience."

Judy Garboyes, a close friend of Spatt’s, believes that MK Nobilette became a role model for young gay kids everywhere. She isn’t surprised that Nobilette came out right away early in the show.

"Obviously she had to, she isn’t your typical ’American Idol’ girl, Garboyes said. "People saying she is only getting votes because she is gay. No! She has a voice. The first time I played music with her, I told her mom that she has a voice."

Garboyes played music with Nobilette twice at Dolores Cafe, and once at the Dyke March in 2012.

One thing the "American Idol" judges agreed on about Nobilette was that she has an amazing voice, and she will have a great singing career ahead of her.

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit www.ebar.com

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