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Young, Will (b. 1979)  
 
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Young's route to victory on Pop Idol would also lead to his coming out publicly as a gay man. He had let his family and friends know of his sexual orientation when he was twenty, and he had received their support, although, as he revealed later, his father struggled with the issue.

"It was hard for him when I first came out and he was very honest about it," Young wrote in an article for The Observer. "I think he struggled for a while, probably feeling a little bit ashamed and then guilty for feeling ashamed." Describing his father as a "generous man and a bit of a quiet anarchist on the side," he praised him for his openness and ability to grow.

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The producers of Pop Idol were also aware of Young's sexual orientation, but the general public was not. When Young emerged as a serious contender—if still an underdog—a tabloid publication threatened to out him.

"They had kindly told us [before proceeding], but it was upsetting," Young stated to McLean. "It was something that could prevent the audience from just focusing on the singing."

In a strategy session, he continued, a representative of the production team "said, 'Well, you could lie.' And I said, 'I'm not gonna do that.'"

The tabloid did not pursue the story, allowing Young to come out on his own terms, shortly after winning the contest. In an interview published in The News of the World on March 10, 2002, Young declared, "I feel it's time to tell my fans I'm gay," adding, "For me it's normal and nothing to be ashamed about. I'm gay, and I'm comfortable with that."

At the time of the announcement Young was riding a crest of success: his first release—a double A-side of "Anything Is Possible," which had been written specifically for the eventual winner—whoever that might turn out to be—as a follow-up to the show, and "Evergreen"—had shot to the top of the charts and set a record as the best selling debut to date, with sales of 1.4 million copies in a week.

While Young relished the response to "Evergreen," he acknowledged to Teddy Jamieson of the Glasgow Herald that it "wasn't my kind of song, and you want to sing songs you have a personal investment in. . . . [but] I don't discredit it for what it did. It's so linked to the show, and that's why I think it's a great thing—if I hear it, it reminds me of that winning show, and that's what the song's about. . . . whereas," he continued, "'Leave Right Now' has a moment attached to it, and that's the moment where it's like, 'Okay, maybe he'll stick around.'"

"Sticking around" proved to be a significant understatement, as Young produced a series of hit albums, beginning with From Now On (2002), played to sold-out audiences on tours, and evolved a distinctive personal style.

His next album, Friday's Child (2003), was another top seller and included the haunting "Leave Right Now," which won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in 2004.

Young called his next album, Keep On (2005), "more personal than the last one in every single way," not least because he co-wrote more than half of the songs, moving to become a creator as well as a performer of music.

Young continued his success with the album Let It Go (2008), which went to number two on the U. K. charts. He subsequently earned a top ranking with Echoes (2011), which includes the hit song "Jealousy."

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