Media commentators are asking if America is ready for an apparently gay man to win the country’s most popular contest, American Idol.

Two men are to compete in the final of the talent show which will be broadcast early Thursday morning in South Africa, namely singers Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. The winner will be chosen by public votes.

While 27 year old Lambert has not specifically stated that he is gay, he has hinted at the possibly and not denied the claims. His sexuality came to the forefront after numerous pictures of him kissing other men appeared on the Internet.

In response he said: “I have nothing to hide. I am who I am.” More recently there have been rumours that he is currently dating another man.

The singer’s popularity and talent are undeniable, but some are concerned that his sexuality and Allen’s background as a church singer will galvanise conservative supporters in the US against Lambert.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday in LA, his rival Allen dismissed the concerns insisting that it “has to do with talent. It’s not about religion or all that stuff.”

Lambert, who has a musical theatre background, added, “I’d hope people would vote based on what they hear. It’s an equal opportunity situation.”

Meanwhile, British pop star Robbie Williams has come out in support of Lambert, writing on his blog: “Adam Lambert is my personal bestest pop star right now… If you haven’t been watching American Idol check him out… he’s the real deal.”

Singer Katy Perry also backed Lambert when she recently performed on American Idol as a guest. She shocked producers when she unfurled a cape she was wearing, which had “Adam Lambert” emblazoned on the back.

In 2002, Will Young was the first person to win the original British Pop Idol series and came out as gay a month after he had earned the title. There has never been a gay winner of American Idol to date but the 2003 runner-up, Clay Aiken, came out as gay in 2008 following years of speculation.

The American Idol finale will be broadcast live by M-Net Series in South Africa at 2am on Thursday morning and then repeated on the same day at 7pm.

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