American Idol Alum Accuses Show of Gay Bashing, Manipulation

Jacob Lusk Gabriels

American Idol standout Jacob Lusk has opened up about his “harrowing” experience on the show.

He competed on season 10 in 2011. That year, Scotty McCreery took the crown, with Lauren Alaina as the runner-up. Jacob finished the show in 5th place behind 2nd runner-up Haley Reinhart and 4th place finisher, James Durbin.

But while the aforementioned alums have nothing but positive things to say about their experiences competing in front of judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler, Jacob calls his American Idol experience “harrowing.”

“There was a lot of gay bashing that happened behind the scenes”

“It was a lot of manipulation,” he told the BBC in a recent interview on the heels of releasing his new EP with the much buzzed about trio, Gabriels. “There was a lot of, like, gay-bashing that happened behind the scenes. Oh, it was treacherous.”

As a young singer, his uncertainty “about who I was” at the time, clashed with the producers’ need to create a character. “I wasn’t gay enough, I wasn’t straight enough, I wasn’t man enough, I wasn’t black enough,” he said. “For some people, that was confusing.”

After he was eliminated, “I couldn’t even watch the American Idol videos,” he added. “Like, I literally thought I couldn’t sing. It was harrowing.”

After his elimination, Jacob struggled for a time and considered dropping out of music altogether. It’s a good thing he didn’t, because these days, he is riding high as the lead singer of the critically acclaimed R&B/Gospel group, Gabriels.

Jacob is out promoting the Los Angeles trio’s new EP Angels & Queens Part 1, which came out on Friday. Listen to it below, and understand why critics can’t stop talking about them. Sir Elton John called their 2020 debut EP Love and Hate in a Different Time “one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the last 10 years.”

Gabriels – Angels & Queens Part 1 

After American Idol, various deals and managers fell through, the BBC reports. Eventually, he became a choir director working with artists like Diana Ross and Gladys Knight. He met his Gabriels collaborators after composer Ari Balouzian and video director Ryan Hope hired Jacob’s choir to work on a commercial.

Impressed by his work, they persuaded him to record with them, things clicked and the trio began slowly developing the project, which helped him heal from his American Idol scars.

“It allowed me to love music again,” Jacob told the BBC. “Like, remember that? Remember when we used to listen to music and write songs for fun? Being with Ari and Ryan literally changed my life.”

Gabriels performed at Glastonbury, the storied British music festival. Watch their electric performance of “Love and Hate in a Different Time.” The song garnered a ton of acclaim from critics.

Angels & Queens Part 2 is set to come out next year.

About mj santilli 34829 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!