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"Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert: "I'm gay"

“American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert has told Rolling Stone magazine he is gay, answering a question that followed the singer for months since he gained millions of fans on the No. 1 U.S. TV talent show.

“I don’t think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I’m gay,” Lambert told the music magazine in excerpts from an interview that were released on Tuesday.

“I’m proud of my sexuality,” he added. “I embrace it. It’s just another part of me.”

The issue with Lambert on the cover hits newsstands this Friday, with the full interview inside.

During his “American Idol” run Lambert was known for his falsetto singing, outlandish costumes, eyeliner and fingernail polish. He was nicknamed “Glambert” and Entertainment Weekly magazine called him “the most exciting ‘American Idol’ contestant in years.”

When he lost in May’s finale to the more buttoned-down Kris Allen, some fan websites and the media buzzed with speculation that being gay cost him votes from viewers, who are responsible for picking a winner.

Lambert, who was widely considered the front-runner going into the finale, had never publicly said he was gay. When photos appeared on the Internet in March of him kissing another man and dressed in drag, he was mum.

“I have nothing to hide. I am who I am,” he said of the pictures.

His sexuality became an issue widely covered in the media because “Idol,” seen by an average of about 26 million viewers a week in 2009, had never crowned an openly gay winner.

Clay Aiken, the runner-up in 2003, hid his sexuality for years after his run on the show, only coming out as gay in 2008.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a group that advocates for same-sex rights, said it hopes Lambert’s “decision to live openly and honestly inspires gay people and opens the hearts and minds of his fans.”

Lambert, 27, grew up in San Diego, California and starred in musical theater before trying out for “Idol” last year.

In the Rolling Stone interview he said a “psychedelic experience” he had at Burning Man, an annual festival held in the Nevada desert, convinced him to try out for the show.

“I realized that we all have our own power, and that whatever I wanted to do, I had to make happen,” he said.

Lambert also revealed a crush on fellow contestant Kris Allen, who was also his roommate for much of the two singers’ run on “Idol.”

“He’s the one guy that I found attractive in the whole group on the show: nice, nonchalant, pretty and totally my type — except that he has a wife,” Lambert joked.

“American Idol” is broadcast by the Fox network, a unit of News Corp. Past winners, including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have enjoyed Grammy-winning careers, but stardom has also touched runners-up such as Chris Daughtry, as well.

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