An open letter to 'Idol' finalist Mandisa

1274__mandisa_l_1Dear Mandisa:

Everybody’s entitled to their opinions — yourself included. But, of course, so am I. And that’s why even though I always felt you were one of this season’s more entertaining (if not always on-key) Idol contestants, I’ve decided I’m happy you won’t be performing on Tuesday night’s show, having been surprisingly ejected from the competition last Wednesday. Is it because I’m offended by the answer you gave the Advocate when they asked if you’d be comfortable performing in front of a gay audience? ("Based on what I believe, I’m not an advocate for [being gay], so it’s nothing I would take part in," you said, adding you didn’t really know if gay people could turn straight, a theory espoused by your favorite lecturer, Beth Moore, of Living Proof Ministries.)

Well, maybe I’m a little offended.

But more importantly, considering that pretty much every gay person I know personally is an Idol addict, I’d hate for you to have to compromise your beliefs by singing for all of us on the Idol stage (particularly during this week’s ”Queen night”).

What’s more, think of all the homosexual stylists, makeup artists, publicists, producers, and other music-industry types you would’ve been surrounded by if you’d actually gone the way of Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia and won the competition. Yes, it’s better we say goodbye to you now, Mandisa. And better that you bid adieu to any hopes of signing with an indie dance label, the genre in which I always imagined you succeeding.

Anyhow, if I’m being honest, you gave us some good performances, but you’re no Trenyce.


Michael Slezak

Comments (223 total) Add your comment
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  • jcoop

    amen to that! as a straight woman, i couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Tommy G

    Nicely put, Michael.

  • Ryan

    I’m proud that someone stood up for their values, willing to sacrifice his/her dreams in the face of a moral dilemma. It shows that some values can not be compromised and fame is only for the worldly. Have fun Kelly Clarkson, it isn’t going to last long.

  • Bassinger

    Was her voting down just after the gay thing came out? Oops. No I enjoyed her voice and she probably would have had a change of mind once she actually go tot know a gay. Oh well, better luck… well never mind I guess it is over for her.

  • Paul K

    Thank you, Michael. I have commented on this issue many times on my blog as well.
    It is Mandisa’s right to stand by her anti-gay beliefs. But is also America’s right to reject those beliefs and send her packing. This may be the first time in recent memory (other than the success of Brokeback Mountain at the box office) that Americans bucked the anti-gay trend and stood up for inclusive beliefs!
    Bye, bye Mandisa!

  • Laura

    Honestly, who cares if she is anti-gay or not? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just most don’t get a chance to have it heard. I’m not anti-gay, quite the contrary, but at the same time, I’m not about to not vote for someone just because they happen to carry that view.

  • Aramis

    MS – you rock, as always!
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • dma69

    Bravo, Michael!! Bravo!

  • A

    Well said Michael. So Mandisa, it’s wrong for Simon to make comments about your weight but it’s ok for you to make homophobic remarks? Um, isn’t that a bit hypocritical?

  • John B

    Maybe you should get over yourself Michael. You were the first to praise (and love) Mandisa for her powerful instrument. Now that she speaks her mind, you lambaste her. Do you realize that you are practicing the same behaviors that you are accusing her of? You are degrading her for her beliefs just like she did. I would have hoped for better from you. When will people realize that being open minded does not necessarily mean that you have to be open to what is not the status quo. Being open minded is accepting people for who they are and what they believe and not judging them either way. While you don’t have to agree with or support Mandisa, you at least need to realize that she has a right to her opinion whether you agree or not. I find this rebuttal to be fairly close minded in a way. You should be able to appreciate talent for what it is, not be clouded by hatred for those who believe different than yourself. I am sure you feel that people like The Family Council should not be censoring or protesting movies such as Brokeback Mountain, so why should you be doing the same to an innocent American Idol contestant who is just as up fron about her beliefs. If we all want tolerance and acceptance, we have to practice it as well. Personally, I agree with your statement and do not find truth in Mandisa’s beliefs. Still, I can regonize the girl has talent and I am upset she won’t be performing this week (she could have killed Queen). While I won’t buy her CD if it comes out (most likely because it will be Gospel, not my favorite Genre), I do wish her well with her career. Everyone deserves a chance to follow their dreams. Enough of that. Love you TV Watch and your quick wit, just disappointed in the diatribe.

  • Winn

    Right on, Michael! Couldn’t have said it better myself! And what exactly has Mandisa sacrificed “in the face of a moral dilemma”? She had to know a significant portion of the Idol audience is GLBT, and it didn’t stop her from auditioning or performing in the competition as long as she could, or taking advantage of the skills of all those makeup artists, hair and wardrobe stylists, publicists, etc that Michael mentioned. If she had really been willing to sacrifice her dreams because of a moral dilemma, she wouldn’t have auditioned for Idol at all, or left the show instead of being voted off. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and to embrace the values their faith dictates to them, but when you’re trying to make it in a competition, it isn’t wise to alienate a significant portion of that competition’s fans, especially when they have been largely supportive of you, a singer who hardly fits the stereotypical pop star mold. Bye bye Mandisa!

  • CommonSense

    What’s really ironic is that the gay community probably would have been a truly loyal and gigantic fan base for her and she probably got the lowest number of votes because she lost their votes with her comment. Judge not lest ye be judged, Mandisa. I guess since you judged, the public judged you right back.. home…
    P.S. Kelly Clarkson just won TWO Grammys, she just might be sticking around for a bit. Maybe…

  • Chrisitna

    I’m surprised it took people so long to realize just how strong a Christian fundamentalist Mandisa is. I read her profile the day it went up and knew there would be some moral problems with her. My question is why did she want to be on a show like American Idol when its well known that pretty much everything in Hollywood involves Gay people in some manner?

  • lola

    I hear you, Michael, but I actually went and read the Advocate article, and Mandisa comes across as pretty okay. There’s a difference between performing for a cause (gay rights) that you don’t believe in and being actively intolerant of gay people, which Mandisa clearly is not. She keeps saying that only God can judge. The Advocate asked her if gay people could turn straight (she didn’t bring it up) and she said that she didn’t know, she didn’t know enough about the subject. And the “lifestyle” shoutout was (as I originally suspected) about her own lifestyle. It seems clear that Beth Moore was a big influence on her life, not the anti-gay stuff but the female empowerment stuff. And the fact that she gave an interview to the Advocate at all should say something about her “intolerance.”

  • Stan

    With due respect to all of you – I believe that Mandisa’s departure last week had more to do with the way she looked and her lame performance. She dressed inappropriately (I am also overweight, but I thought that she looked like a parashute)and for the 2nd week in a row did not sing well. She most probably also lost a lot of votes (including mine) with that “self indulgent” religious song which is not suitable for American Idol.

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