'American Idol' eliminee M.K. Nobilette: Being openly gay on the show was good and bad, but I'm proud of it
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/21/2014
American Idol eliminated M.K. Nobilette during Thursday night's live results show on Fox, determining the thirteenth season's Top 9 finalists.
M.K., a 20-year-old from San Francisco, CA, became the fourth finalist sent home from American Idol's thirteenth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes cast following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 10 finalists performing Top 10 songs on the Billboard charts from 2011 until now.
Idol judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban decided against using their one "The Judges' Save" of the season on her after she sang for survival. M.K. landed in the bottom three alongside Majesty Rose and Dexter Roberts.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, M.K. talked to Reality TV World about whether she was frustrated about all the hype surrounding her sexual orientation, whether she was worried being openly gay might present any challenges and whether she was surprised the judges didn't save her.
Reality TV World: Were you frustrated at all that a lot of the initial attention on you seemed to be about your sexual orientation rather than your singing talent?
M.K. Nobilette: I don't know if I was angry about it. I definitely was a little bit taken aback at first, but also, that does sort of play -- the [topics] are just completely different. I'm a singer and I'm also gay. But I feel like it's important to address that. I'm very proud of it and I'm open about it, so I think it was fine for me.
Reality TV World: Were you worried being openly gay in the competition might present you with any obstacles to face or challenges -- like maybe you thought about how that might/might not affect your votes from the audience or something like that?
M.K. Nobilette: Of course. I think it did affect some of my votes from the audience that I said it. But I think it would've affected my votes from the audience if I didn't say it as well. So I think it was good and bad. I think, yeah, it was good and bad.
Reality TV World: What did Harry say to you after you got eliminated? And did you ever get an explanation from any of the judges as to why they didn't use their save on you?
M.K. Nobilette: I didn't get an explanation at all. But I did talk to Harry about -- he was saying he thinks I'd make an excellent record and he definitely wants me to record and he thinks I shouldn't give up and just keep trying and keep pushing. And that's exactly what I'm going to do.
Reality TV World: When you sang for survival, were you anticipating the judges might use the save? Were you expecting it at all?
M.K. Nobilette: I wasn't expecting them to use the save. They talked for a long time, so I did think for a second they might, but that's alright!
Reality TV World: It seems to be a reoccurring problem this season that the Idol band is off when you guys perform. It's happened to multiple contestants so far. So did that have anything to do with why you got off track a little during your P!nk performance Wednesday night and what do you think is going on with the band? Do you think the finalists needed more rehearsal time with them?
M.K. Nobilette: I definitely think that more rehearsal time is always going to be something that is a good thing. We actually, in the long run, don't get that much rehearsal time. And I think that's why I fumbled. I don't think it was the band for me specifically. I think I came in at the wrong time, and I think that more rehearsal would have definitely fixed that problem.
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Reality TV World: When the finalists imitated one another in the packages last week, the running theme was how chill and relaxed you are. Now onstage, the judges have been criticizing you for not owning the stage and needing to loosen up. Do you think the judges were just confusing who you are and your personality with a lack of stage presence?
M.K. Nobilette: No, I think that they are right. I think that I do need to up my stage presence, and that is something that I struggle with and I hope that that will get better. Actually, I know that will get better because of the [Idol] tour.
And then after tour, hopefully I'll get even better and better. I wish that I had gotten better during the show, and I think it did, but I started from very little confidence. And now I have confidence to at least be on the stage and sing the songs well, and I think that's a start!
Reality TV World: So far this season, only one guy has been eliminated. Do you think that's bad news for the girls and they're kind of doomed at this point in the competition? What are your thoughts on that?
M.K. Nobilette: I mean, the guys are really, really strong this year, and I don't know! There are amazing girls too, so, I mean, it's really too early to tell what's going to happen with the winner of the show. Like I keep thinking in my head, "Oh, it's going to be this person! It's going to be this person!" But the next week, someone does a killer performance and then the whole thing just shifts. So I think it's way too early to tell.
Reality TV World: Were you surprised to see Majesty and Dexter in the bottom three with you?
M.K. Nobilette: Um, I know Dexter had some problems with his in-ears with the sound. So, I don't know how that came across. Also, I didn't watch the show on television. I only saw it live. I know that it's different when you watch it on TV, but I think they both did killer performances, so, I don't know.
Also during the call, M.K. talked to reporters about her Idol experience -- including what her thought process was behind her song choice and what advice she'd give to other same-sex couples.
Do you have any advice for same-sex couples who are struggling with making their relationships public?
M.K. Nobilette: I think if any of the same-sex couples that are listening to this right now are having trouble coming out, I think that the best thing would just to be definitely talk to other people and just be proud of yourself and remind yourself that no matter what happens, you still have you, and that's the most important thing.
Were you surprised to be eliminated? Because it seemed like you thought your P!nk performance was pretty strong.
M.K. Nobilette: I wasn't surprised to be eliminated because I know that I did fumble my lyrics and, at this point in the competition, everyone's so good that if one performance doesn't stand out and is not as good as the rest of them, then that's the one.
Going through the whole American Idol process, did the experience differ much in reality from what your perception was of the show when you were just watching the series on TV?
M.K. Nobilette: I actually have never watched the show before I went on the show. I maybe watched it once or twice -- I think when Bo Bice was on it. So I haven't seen it in awhile, but it was a completely new experience for me.
Did you discuss your sexuality with former Idol finalist Adam Lambert at all when he served as a guest mentor earlier in the season? Did he give you any advice?
M.K. Nobilette: I did talk to Adam Lambert a little bit, and he just said that he was proud of me for doing it and yeah, I think we are both on different standpoints.
Adam didn't talk about his sexuality when he was on the show because he felt like it didn't matter, but for me, I feel the opposite. I feel like it's part of me, and I feel like that matters. If I wanted America to get to know me and know who I am, then they should know my sexuality.
Jennifer looked like she was crying last night when you got eliminated. Did she talk to you at all after the show?
M.K. Nobilette: She didn't.
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