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Gay and Lesbian Singers Take Center Stage on NBC's The Voice

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NBC’s new hit show The Voice is a refreshing new spin on the reality singing competition, and in just two episodes, the judges have selected four openly gay and lesbian singers to compete.

The unique format of The Voice pits the four celebrity judges Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera against each other as they mentor their team of competitors to go all the way to the finals, and the odds of an openly gay musician winning has increased with four incredibly talented gay and lesbian artists in the game.

The first lesbian musician to compete for a spot with the judges was Vicci Martinez, a soulful singer/songwriter from Washington. In her introduction to the audience, she described the difficulties of coming out to her family and finding the courage to pursue her dreams. After her powerful performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” both Cee Lo and Christina fought to get her on their team and Vicci chose Cee Lo as her mentor. Take a look at her performance here:

Next up was out singer Beverly McClellan, who delivered a fierce performance of “Piece of My Heart” that had Adam Levine and Christina competing to call dibs. After choosing a spot on Christina’s team, the powerhouse singer ran backstage into the arms of her girlfriend and best friend to close out the first episode. Here's a clip of her interview and audition:

In the second part of the auditions, Tyler Robinson discussed how growing up gay and Mormon was a challenge, revealing that his estranged father doesn’t know about his orientation and that he’ll find out after watching this episode. His pleasant performance of “Soul Sister” earned him a spot on Blake’s team. Watch Tyler's performance below:

Finally, Austin-based singer Nakia made a gutsy call when he performed Cee Lo’s very own smash hit “Forget You.” Accompanied by Robert, his partner of nine years, Nakia credited him as being the most important person in his life before taking the stage to perform his risky audition. Fortunately, Nakia’s gamble paid off: his performance impressed both Cee Lo and Blake, and after bantering with the judges, he chose Cee Lo as his mentor. Catch Nakia's intro and song below:

The four out contestants will now move on to the “Battle Round,” where they will go head to head against their teammates with the help of their mentors and coaches, including out artist Sia coaching alongside Christina. She and the other coaches will mentor the remaining singers as they move onto the live performances where the viewers will determine who will be safe, who will be eliminated, and who will ultimately be named “The Voice.”

Sia at GLAAD OUTAuction

Sia at GLAAD OUTAuction

An important element in the inclusion of these brilliant out musicians is that each of the hopeful contestants have been selected by producers to perform for the judges; for The Voice to actively and consciously include openly gay artists is impressive, especially when considering that American Idol has failed to feature an openly gay contestant during the competition period in its entire ten year run.  With a 10% jump in ratings for this week, The Voice is this season's only major broadcast network program whose ratings rose for its second episode. With those rising numbers, LGBT visibility continues to rise on NBC since Robert Greenblatt has taken the helm; the studio president was awarded the Steven F. Kolzak Award for his contributions to eliminating homophobia at the GLAAD Media Awards last month.

Tune in and support these incredibly talented gay and lesbian artists in the LGBT-inclusive and wholly entertaining competition to become The Voice, airing Tuesdays on NBC at 10/9c.