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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

A timeline of everything Will Young has been up to from his Pop Idol days to calling out homophobia on Twitter in 2019

Will Young’s not impressed with Amazon Prime’s Grand Tour.

IT’S HARD TO believe that it has been eighteen years since we were first introduced to Will Young on Pop Idol. At the time, he was just 22 years old and while we briefly took our eyes off him, he somehow managed to turn 40 just over a week ago. 

As awkward as it might be to watch him sing and dance to Blame It On The Boogie a capella while wearing those baggy and outdated clothes in 2019, this audition was enough to launch him to heartthrob status at the turn of the millennium. 

Source: HighHoe Kermit/YouTube

Little did he know, a few weeks later he’d be in the Grand Final of Pop Idol, opposite Gareth Gates, fighting for the crown. After a lot of drama and a few major run-ins with Simon Cowell, Will Young won the entire competition with 53.1% (4.6 million) of the votes.

If you want to relive the moment when Will Young’s jaw almost hit the floor upon hearing the news that he won, you can watch it here. In the following years, Will released the timeless and perfectly broody tune Leave Right Now which people now associate with him more than his Pop Idol win. 

Source: willyoungVEVO/YouTube

By 2008, Will Young had released four albums and another well-known sad banger for mams who buy Love Song Compilation Albums, entitled All Time Love.  At this stage, he drifted out of the charts and mainstream radio, but that didn’t hold him back from releasing another album in 2011 called Echoes. 

Will Young - Belle Epoque Party Source: PA Archive/PA Images

After Echoes was released, Will Young was supposed to appear as a judge on The Voice UK, in December 2011. At the very last minute, it was announced that Will was pulled from the show and replaced with Danny O’Donoghue – the singer from the script, who recently suggested that Beyoncé and Bono had the power to stop ISIS. For obvious reasons, Will felt very let down after this, and he told the Daily Star: 

Of course I’m disappointed not to be doing the show, not to mention how it’s been handled. But the support from fans has been overwhelming. They really have been amazing. 

In November 2012, Will decided it was time to change record company and move past his roots in Pop Idol, to sign with Island Records. Then, he released an album called 85% Proof which he made under his contract with Island Records, which was followed by an EP in 2016. 

During all of this, Will was also dipping his toe into the world of acting and narrating. You might remember his appearance in Skins back in 2010, but apart from that, he has worked as a presenter, executive producer, actor and the subject of a documentary. 

In 2016, Young was a contestant on the fourteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing, but announced that he had to leave the show for “personal reasons” after it had been on the air for three weeks. 

Nowadays, Will Young does a lot of advocacy and charity work, particularly for teenagers and LGBTQ youth. 

The singer publicly came out as gay in March 2002, after he was blackmailed by a tabloid who threatened to release the story, a phenomenon which was sadly very common in the early 00s, as Shane Lynch revealed on Celebrity Big Brother when speaking about Stephen Gately’s experience with the press. In an interview with News of the World, Will said:

I feel it’s time to tell my fans I’m gay. It’s totally no big deal, just part of who I am. For me it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed about. I’m gay and I’m comfortable with that. I really don’t know what the fuss is about. I’m sure this will not come as a surprise to many people, although I’ve always been discreet and I’m not a campaigner when it comes to my sexuality. 

After realising that he had paved the way for a new generation of young people who finally had some proud LGBTQ people to look up to, Will eventually began working with charities and organisations like Women’s Aid, Mencap (a charity working with individuals who have learning disabilities) and the Mood Foundation – a now defunct charity which aims to build a database of private therapists and alternative therapies to treat various types of depressive conditions. Mood Foundation was actually founded by Will’s twin brother Rupert Young – who was open about his issues with self-harm, addiction and mental illness

In March 2014, Will Young became a spokesperson for the non-profit organisation gAID – which focuses on domestic violence and abusive within same-sex relationships. 

It’s very clear that Will Young understands the issues that LGBTQ people face, as an individual who has been out and in the public eye for the best part of two decades now, while working with other LGBTQ people who are in particularly vulnerable situations. 

So, it’s really no surprise that this man will not tolerate homophobia, because he understands first-hand how dangerous it can be. In January 2018, he appealed to the Mayor of London to help him track down a bus driver who abused him with homophobic slurs while he was travelling in the city

A year later, Will Young’s equally unimpressed with Amazon Prime, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond after he watched an episode of Grand Tour. He prefaced his public complaint on Twitter by saying, “I’ve loved cars, always have, always will. I loved going on Top Gear. Excited about watching new Top Gear, and I’m afraid three heterosexual men are SO uncomfortable with their sexuality that they reference in some lame way, a Wrangler Jeep being a gay man’s car.” 

He then detailed just how out of touch the trio behind Amazon Prime’s series Grand Tour actually are:

However, Will may also have been a little bit out of touch when he said that Amazon is a “wonderful organization”, considering the fact that Amazon’s CEO barely shares any of his $163 billion net worth with charity and pays very little tax, while Amazon’s workers are sleeping in tents, and relying on welfare to supplement their wages. There’s so much wrong with Amazon and the way it operates that it’s not worth fully delving into here, but there’s plenty of evidence and testimony of that online from countless employees.  

Anyway, Will continued by saying: 

How dare they stereotype gay men? I DON’T drive a Wrangler Jeep. I DON’T wear pink shirts. I DON’T wear arseless chaps. You can be honest and funny without this ridiculous ‘lad’ ooh being gay and let’s laugh about it mentality. It’s repulsive, and how DARE you do it and put it out, Prime Video?

For the record – there’s nothing wrong with driving a Wrangler, wearing pink shirts or arseless chaps (in the right context, obviously), which Will Young also failed to point out. Despite his fury, Will Young decided to continue watching the episode of Grand Tour that was bothering, and found that the attitude of the hosts remained fairly ignorant throughout the show. 

Hang on they are doing more HYSTERICAL things. Pink roof now on Clarkson’s Jeep AND they are playing It’s Raining Men. It’s SO funny I can’t contain myself. I mean being gay is just SO funny for those types of straight men.  
And you know what really fucks me off is that this is a DECISION by the producers. Let’s make one of the narratives the ‘gay Jeep’. How dare you, you obtuse bigoted immature babies of men. 

At this point, Will Young decided to tag The Guardian, Pink News and Attitude Magazine into his tweets to bring more attention to the issue. Afterwards, he threatened to get in touch with Ofcom and asked the producers of Grand Tour to “meet young LGBT who want to kill themselves because of shaming and laughter.” 

Finally, Will tweeted, “Is there a legal case? Who knows . ……… watch this space” (sic)

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Kelly Earley

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