American Idol boss Nigel Lythgoe has hit back at Adam Levine's accusations that show chiefs urge gay contestants to keep quiet about their sexuality.
Levine, who acts as a judge on Idol rival The Voice, slammed bosses behind the hit TV talent show over allegations they prevent gay competitors from openly talking about their personal lives while they are part of the contest.
He said, "What's always p**sed me off about Idol is wanting to mask that, for that to go unspoken. C'mon. You can't be publicly gay? At this point? On a singing competition? Give me a break."
However, Lythgoe - American Idol's executive producer and judge on So You Think You Can Dance - has shrugged off the complaint, insisting a finalist's sexual orientation has no reason to be mentioned.
He tells Entertainment Weekly, "To be frank, I didn't understand why we're talking about contestants being gay or not gay. I don't go into my dentist and say, 'Are you gay?' I don't say to contestants on 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Are you gay?' What does (sic) it got to do with me? What does (sic) it got to do with anybody? When does privacy stop in this country?
"If somebody wants to say they're gay, it's up to them. You don't expect us to turn around and say, 'Are you gay?' Why would we do that?... What does that have anything to do with singing talent? Maybe it does for Adam Levine, but not for me."