'American Idol' has its first openly gay contestant, and it is M.K. Nobilette, who revealed her sexual orientation to the judges before they advanced her to the Top 30. ('AI' alum like Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken did not come out until after they were off the show.)

"I'm very obviously gay, and there are always gonna be people in America and everywhere else who will definitely hate me, but I think that in the last two years there have been a lot of things that have really changed that and have really made that a positive thing," Nobilette told Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban, who were all visibly moved by the singer's courageous approach.

SInce publicly coming out, Nobilette has not only become a favorite on the show -- she was voted into the Top 13 yesterday, Feb. 20 -- but she has also become a hero.

"There have been a few haters, but I predicted that the minute I said it," Nobilette told PEOPLE. "But actually, the response has been pretty positive. Mostly, people have been really supportive."

"People have told me how they are going to change the way that they are going to come out to their parents," she shared. "That makes me really proud." As it should.

Judges Lopez and Connick were both considerably impressed with her voice, but also with her attitude.

"The world is changing, and we think you could be an American Idol," Lopez told Nobilette after she came out to them.

"I lost it," Connick later told Ellen DeGeneres. "I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what a wonderful day in our country…"

Watch M.K. Nobilette Come Out On 'American Idol'