RJ Helton: “just because I am gay does not mean I can’t love God”

A week after National Coming Out Day, RJ Helton, a contestant on the first season of American Idol, said that he’s gay.

RJ, who placed fifth and made it to the top 10 as the wildcard selection, and whose album Real Life was released in 2004, came out on Sirius Satellite Radio Wednesday morning. He said that he didn’t plan on telling the world about his sexual orientation, but just decided in the moment. Here, thanks to USA TODAY’s Idol Chatter blog, is RJ’s conversation with OutQ in the Morning host Larry Flick:

LARRY FLICK: What made you decide not to do inspirational music anymore?

RJ HELTON: … the industry has just really jaded me…I can have a faith but can’t be who I want to be or who I feel that I am…so a lot of it was just personal things I needed to overcome and just be proud of who I was…just because I am gay does not mean I can’t love God.

LARRY FLICK: Well there you go..congratulations. This is something that I wasn’t sure you were going to talk about on the air today so what made you decide to come out?

RJ HELTON: Today..this morning..3 seconds ago. I’ve never even said that. It feels good.

RJ makes a declaration [Idol Chatter]

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.

Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.