Why was such a big deal made about the whole Chely Wright thing? Most of us hadn't even heard of her. Entertainment news owes me a better lesbian.
—TheYoungestDoll, via Twitter
I'm sorry that Chely Wright doesn't meet your quality standards of gayness. However, Wright's lesbianage is, in fact, news to a large number of shocked, Jesus-loving, fanny-pack-wearing fans who have, until today, never witnessed a mainstream, perky, country hitmaker come out.
In other words, this is pretty relevant—or no. Wait. Dang relevant. Still, you and millions of other people feel disappointed today, and here's why:
It's not so much the caliber of the star who came out. It's the oversize hype that came before.
Our own Marc Malkin, who nailed an interview with Wright that comes out Wednesday, points out that the publicity rollout has been going on for quite a while—since October of last year, at least. Back then, Wright's publicist, Howard Bragman, casually dropped the fact that he was "currently working with a famous musician who is still closeted from the public, but who will come out next year."
The guessing game freakout began immediately.
But the fameballing reached a fever pitch a few weeks ago, around the GLAAD Awards, when Team Wright began setting up advance interviews with the artist in earnest. People around the planet speculated feverishly around what Gawker dubbed Cinco de Gayo. Big names were slung around in the Twittersphere—names which, for legal purposes, I cannot repeat here, but we all know who we were thinking about. And those names—including an Oscar winner—were much more famous than Wright's.
So, of course, by the time Wright came out, some celeb watchers may have felt a little duped. However, to be fair, to longtime country fans, this is huge news.
"This is a singer who had a No. 1 song, 'Single White Female,' in 1999," says Alison Bonaguro, who blogs about the country genre and wrote about this very topic for CMT's website. "Eleven years ago is not that long in country music. Country never forgets."
The only exception being, of course, if you were some sort of child or not-country-fan in the late 1990s. Then this Wright person may seem way small to you.
"If you're new to country music, you may not have hard of her," Bonaguro concedes. "But if you've been around since the Garth [Brooks] years, she was definitely someone who was on the radio and was a huge name at the time."
Still think you need a "better lesbian"?