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Outspoken: Kristin Chenoweth, Tony Perkins and more…

Actress Kristin Chenoweth

“I’m attracted to girls and that’s what’s going to make me happy. I don’t even like to label myself. … I’ve actually had two boyfriends but I know at the end of the day who I want to come home to and it’s going to be a girl. That’s what I like.”

“So You Think You Can Dance” runner-up Sasha Mallory, in a recent interview about the Fox reality show, where she said she is “not afraid to tell people I’m gay,” but viewers “didn’t really need to know if I was gay or straight.” (, Aug. 25)

“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 it got to do with me?”

Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” responding to criticism about the lack of openly gay contestants on the shows. (Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 17)

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Rock on!

‘American Idol’ finalist Constantine Maroulis

"Rock of Ages" featuring "American Idol" alum Constantine Maroulis opens at Fox Theatre tonight

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Theater: Fun shows feature tunes from 1980s, ‘70s

‘American Idol’ finalist Constantine Maroulis

The plot of “Rock of Ages” may be light, but the show makes up for that with an abundance of beloved ‘80s tunes. The musical, debuting shortly in Atlanta with gay-friendly “American Idol” contestant Constantine Maroulis, also has a notable gay moment in its second act.

In a legendary rock club in Los Angeles, circa 1987, small-town girl Sherrie falls for Drew (Maroulis), a young busboy with dreams of being a rocker. As local developers convince the mayor to make the area a wholesome environment and get rid of sex, drugs and rock and roll, the club owner coaxes a legendary band to play their final gig there. Along the way, there is plenty of music from the likes of Def Leppard, Styx, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon and more to move its story along.

Maroulis thinks “Rock of Ages” is similar in tone to American musicals of the ‘30s.

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Clay Aiken remains ‘Tried and True’

American Idol finalist Clay Aiken returns to Atlanta Feb. 16

Performing in Atlanta has been special for singer Clay Aiken. It’s not his birthplace — that would be Raleigh, N.C. — but he feels partial to the city.

“I auditioned for ‘American Idol’ in Atlanta so it’s full circle when I return,” says Aiken, who brings his “Tried and True” tour to the Cobb Energy Centre on Feb. 16.

Aiken was featured on the second season of “American Idol,” where he eventually was runner-up to Ruben Studdard. On the show, he was an audience favorite, never once appearing in the bottom three for viewer votes. It helped him, he feels, that he was able to sing songs he was familiar with.

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Clay Aiken to Congress: Stop anti-gay bullying

American Idol alum Clay Aiken calls on Congress to address anti-gay bullying

“American Idol” singer Clay Aiken and two mothers whose sons committed suicide because of anti-gay bullying at their schools appeared at a Capitol Hill briefing Nov. 18 to urge Congress to pass two bills that would require schools to address bullying and harassment targeting LGBT students.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network organized the briefing as a means of drawing public attention to the two pending bills, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

“Like many kids now in middle schools and high schools, I was bullied,” said Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 after winning the runner up title of best singer on the widely viewed television show “American Idol.”

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Pride: Kimberley Locke loves the boys

It’s a warm September day from coast to coast but singer Kimberley Locke is feeling a bit under the weather. Stricken with a cough, Locke is feeling a bit frazzled and distracted. Despite her condition, she politely and warmly engages in conversation, courteously making small talk to get things going.

But that’s part of the appeal of this Hartsville, Tenn., native. She’s always been one to push through even during tough times, as evident from her days on the second season of the reality-TV singing competition “American Idol.”

Surviving weeks of eliminations and harsh critiques from judges like the notorious Simon Cowell and wowing fans across the nation, Locke made it all the way to the final three before being beaten out by fellow contestants Clay Aiken and winner Ruben Studdard.

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Diana DeGarmo does Dolly in ‘9 to 5’

American Idol alum Diana DeGarmo

“American Idol” veteran and local girl Diana DeGarmo grew up idolizing Dolly Parton, so it’s somewhat fitting that she’s now taking on the role the singer played in the film “9 to 5” in the touring version of the new musical.

With music and lyrics written by Parton, “9 to 5: The Musical” debuted on Broadway last year. DeGarmo saw that version, liked it and was naturally receptive to doing the tour. She’d seen the movie with Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin several times, even though it was released before she was even born.

According to DeGarmo, there are subtle differences in the musical but for the most part the plot is the same — a trio of secretaries bond and decide to get even with their boss. In doing so, they practically take over their company. Parton has written new songs for the musical, but not surprisingly the show opens with her popular, titular song.

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Augusta hosts historic first Pride festival

2010 Augusta Pride parade

Grammy winner Thelma Houston closed out the stage for Augusta Pride on June 19, but there was one more inspiring moment awaiting the hundreds who withstood the withering heat to be there for the festival’s finale.

As Augusta Pride organizers took the microphone to thank attendees and celebrate the success of the city’s first-ever gay Pride, a faint rainbow arched across the sky.

“That was like a sign from God,” Augusta Pride President Isaac Kelly said.

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Photos: Augusta Pride festival

2010 Augusta Pride parade

The Georgia Voice was on-hand at the inaugural Augusta Pride festival June 19. Several thousand people attended the event while American Idol contestant Frenchie Davis and Grammy Award winner Thelma Houston performed for the crowd.