William Lee Adams

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William Lee Adams (born November 6, 1981) is an American broadcast journalist at the BBC World Service. He's most known for founding and administering the Eurovision Song Contest blog and YouTube channel Wiwibloggs.

Early life

William Lee Adams was born in Fayetteville, Georgia on November 6, 1981, to Vietnamese mother Tuyet Ngoc Nguyen (born 1950) and American father Robert Jack Adams (born 1934, died 2015).[1] He graduated from Fayette County High School in 2000, and went on to study psychology at Harvard University. During his time at Harvard, Adams drew national attention for his research into nonverbal cues to sexual orientation ("gaydar"). His senior thesis was conducted under the guidance of Nalini Ambady, a leading expert on nonverbal behavior and interpersonal perception.[2][3] Adams was part of "a small, close-knit social circle of L.G.B.T.Q. students" studying at the university in the early 00s, which existed “a world apart” from their then-closeted classmate Pete Buttigieg. Adams described himself as "the campus drag queen" for having won the Miss Harvard beauty pageant.[4]

While an undergraduate, Adams was an editor at The Harvard Crimson student newspaper. In 2002 he won first place a nationwide journalism contest for an article about taking care of his mentally handicapped and quadriplegic brother, who became ill during the Vietnam War.[5] Prior to graduating he started working at Newsweek Magazine in both Boston and New York City.[6]

After leaving Harvard he received a scholarship to study Southeast Asian Studies and Vietnamese at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.


Prior to becoming a YouTube personality and broadcaster, Adams worked primarily as a print journalist. From 2007 until 2012 he was a correspondent at the London bureau of TIME magazine, picking up bylines in more than a dozen countries.[7] As a roving reporter he visited prisons in Norway and drug slums in Romania, and also covered major UK events including the royal wedding, the London riots and the London Olympics.[8] [9]

He's also written for Billboard, Bloomberg, CNN.com, Condé Nast Traveler, the Financial Times, InStyle, New Scientist, the New York Times, Psychology Today and the Sydney Morning Herald, among other publications. He wrote Billboard magazine's first major profile of pop star Dua Lipa.[10] He also profiled the likes of Maria Sharapova, Christian Louboutin and Franca Sozzani.[11] [12] [13]

After leaving TIME, he collaborated with John Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley—the former chief executive of the energy company BP—on the book The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business. In the acknowledgements Browne wrote that Adams "spent over a year of his life working with me on this book" and described him as "a remarkable professional journalist, researcher and writer with considerable knowledge of LGBT matters."[14]

Adams joined the BBC in January 2018. He reads news bulletins on BBC Minute, a global news programme, and has presented World Service radio documentaries on Madonna and Eurovision.[15][16]


In 2009 Adams founded Wiwibloggs, a news blog focusing on the Eurovision Song Contest and its artists. He did this as "a means to find like-minded fans to discuss the drama and the divas" of the show.[17]

Within a year of its founding The Huffington Post began republishing his blog posts, helping him reach a more mainstream audience.[18] The blog quickly became one of the most-visited music web sites in the world, entering the Alexa rank top 50,000 just three years from the domain's date of purchase. In 2015 Adams won Arts & Culture Blogger of the Year at the UK National Blog Awards. [19]

YouTube helped Adams expand his personal profile, leading to a significant number of media and television appearances around Europe. He has appeared as a guest star or judge on primetime selection shows in countries including Armenia, Finland, Germany, Norway and Romania. He regularly appears as a Eurovision pundit on television and radio, including for the BBC, and in print for publications like The New York Times and Billboard.[20] [21] [22][23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

In 2016, Swedish broadcaster SVT, which was hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, gave Adams and wiwibloggs sidekick Deban Aderemi a recurring segment on Studio Eurovision, its three-part Eurovision pre-show.[29] Adams' journey through the Eurovision 2016 season is one of the main narrative threads of the ARTE documentary Eurovisions, released in 2017.[30]

Eurovision Song Contest national selections

Adams entered the Sammarinese national selection in 2018 with Deban Aderemi, as a participant. Adams and Aderemi were both eliminated in the wildcard round, but did end up receiving enough YouTube "likes" from the public for their entry to be reviewed by the professional jury.[31] The Wiwibloggs correspondents' attempt to represent the micro-nation at Eurovision 2018 was seen as a tongue-in-cheek entry, and not an actual effort.[32] Adams and Aderemi were jurors in Romania's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. The role Adams and Aderemi had in the contest was later the cause for controversy, as the reporters' votes saw fan-favourites Bella Santiago and Laura Bretan lose to underdog Ester Peony, who got the highest marks from both Aderemi and Adams, and two other jurors, but only finished 8th in a field of 12 in the public vote.[33]

Personal life

Adams is married. In fact, his British husband was the person who first introduced him to Eurovision.[34] He lives in London, but travels around the world frequently. He is openly gay, and is known for his extroverted and quirky demeanour, which made him recognisable to audiences familiar with Eurovision. As of 2019, Adams has been present in every Eurovision Song Contest edition for the past decade. His mother lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he visits often.[35] He is the brother of fellow Wiwibloggs correspondent Suzanne N. Adams (born 1975).


  1. "TSGT Robert Jack Adams". https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/152226458/robert-jack-adams. 
  2. "Studying Gaydar". The Advocate. https://www.advocate.com/politics/commentary/2006/07/03/studying-gaydar. 
  3. Lawson, Willow (November 1, 2005). "Queer Eyes: Blips on the Gaydar". https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200511/queer-eyes-blips-the-gaydar. 
  4. Peters, Jeremy W. (2019-07-14). "Pete Buttigieg's Life in the Closet" (in en-US). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/14/us/politics/pete-buttigieg-gay.html. 
  5. "2002 - Awards For Student Work Gold Circle Awards - Collegiate Recipients". Columbia Scholastic Press Association. https://cspa.columbia.edu/recepient-lists/2002-awards-student-work-gold-circle-awards-collegiate-recipients. 
  6. "William Lee Adams". https://www.newsweek.com/authors/william-lee. 
  7. "William Lee Adams - TIME". TIME Magazine. 2007-07-01. http://newsfeed.time.com/author/wladams/. 
  8. Adams, William Lee (2010-07-12). "Sentenced to Serving the Good Life in Norway" (in en-US). Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2000920,00.html. 
  9. Adams, William Lee (2010-09-20). "Eve of an HIV Epidemic in Romania" (in en-US). Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2017055,00.html. 
  10. Adams, William Lee (2017-03-02). "'Dark Pop' Purveyor Dua Lipa on Rejecting Modeling & Hitting the Strip Club With Troye Sivan" (in en-US). Billboard. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop/7709315/dua-lipa-rejecting-modeling-trove-sivan-strip-club. 
  11. Adams, William Lee (2014-06-30). "Brand Sugarpova: How Maria Sharapova Became the World's Highest-Paid Female Athlete" (in en-US). Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/brand-sugarpova-how-maria-sharapova-became-worlds-highest-paid-female-athlete-256632. 
  12. Adams, William Lee (2012-03-26). "Christian Louboutin and the Art of Desire" (in en-US). Time Style & Design. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2108496_2108520_2108838-1,00.html. 
  13. Adams, William Lee (2011-09-16). "Franca Sozzani: Fashion's Rebel with a Cause" (in en-US). Time Magazine. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2093368,00.html. 
  14. Browne, John (2014). The Glass Closet. London: WH Allen. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-75355-531-6. https://books.google.com/?id=H_HCAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT126&lpg=PT126&dq=william+lee+adams+glass+closet#v=onepage&q=william%20lee%20adams%20glass%20closet&f=false. 
  15. "BBC - Music Extra: My Madonna - Media Centre". BBC Media Centre. 2007-07-01. https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2018/36/my-madonna. 
  16. "The Arts Hour Backstage: Eurovision Song Contest". BBC Sounds. 2007-07-01. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csypcg. 
  17. "Glitter, Strobe Lights and the Dream of a United Europe". The New York Times. 2019-05-05. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/opinion/sunday/eurovision-europe.html. 
  18. "Contributor: Will Adams". https://www.huffpost.com/author/will-adams. 
  19. "Insight: wiwibloggs UKBA15 Arts & Culture Winner". 2016-11-04. https://blogawardsuk.co.uk/insight-wiwibloggs-ukba15-arts-culture-winner-where-are-you-now/. 
  20. "Eurovision 2019 preview: William Lee Adams from wiwibloggs on the BBC News Channel". Wiwibloggs. 2019-05-18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6pVa1AwDro. 
  21. Adams, William Lee (2016-05-14). "Why I Love Eurovision, and Why You Should Too". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/14/opinion/why-i-love-eurovision-and-why-you-should-too.html. 
  22. Adams, William Lee (2017-06-08). "How a 'Propaganda War' Overtook Eurovision, the World's Most Inclusive Song Competition". Billboard. https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/magazine-feature/7824750/eurovision-propaganda-war-feature. 
  23. Steinberg, Jessica (2019-04-24). "Politics, loyalties play role in Eurovision wins, except for Israel". The Times of Israel. https://www.timesofisrael.com/politics-loyalties-play-role-in-eurovision-wins-except-for-israel/. 
  24. Smith-Spark, Laura (2014-05-11). "Austria's Conchita Wurst wins Eurovision amid Russia, Ukraine tensions". CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/11/world/europe/eurovision-ukraine-russia-conchita-wurst/index.html. 
  25. Henriksen, Arve (2017-05-13). "Han kan allerede ha avgjort Eurovisionfinalen". Aftenposten. https://www.aftenposten.no/kultur/i/LrQAQ/Han-kan-allerede-ha-avgjort-Eurovisionfinalen. 
  26. Weekend Edition Saturday (2019-05-18). "Eurovision 2019 concludes". National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/2019/05/18/724569303/eurovision-2019-concludes?t=1566745009328. 
  27. Rossman, Rebecca (2018-05-11). "What it Takes to Write a Eurovision Winning Song". National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/2018/05/11/610529465/what-it-takes-to-write-a-eurovision-winning-song. 
  28. Bamat, Joseph (2016-05-16). "'Non-political' Eurovision contest caught in diplomatic crosshairs, again". France 24. https://www.france24.com/en/20160516-eurovision-contest-political-ukraine-russia-controversy. 
  29. wiwibloggs (10 May 2016). "Studio Eurovision: wiwibloggs join Sweden's ESC pre-show". wiwibloggs. http://wiwibloggs.com/2016/05/10/studio-eurovision-wiwibloggs/141701/. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  30. Laborey, Claire (2017). "Eurovisions". ARTE. https://boutique.arte.tv/detail/eurovisions. 
  31. "William and Deban - 1 in 360". SMTV. 30 November 2017. https://www.1in360.com/fullscreen-page/comp-j9o8v4k9/bf318e8d-d561-4d64-80db-64594b1570d7/13/%3Fi%3D13%26p%3Do8vm5%26s%3Dstyle-j9ybztn9. 
  32. "San Marino 1in360 wildcard: William & Deban need your votes for Eurovision". Wiwibloggs. 3 December 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h2XwH150iE. 
  33. Currinn, Jonathan (18 February 2019). "Ester Peony Wins Selectia Nationala With "On A Sunday" And Will Represent Romania At Eurovision 2019". Celeb Mix. https://celebmix.com/ester-peony-wins-selectia-nationala-with-on-a-sunday-and-will-represent-romania-at-eurovision-2019/. 
  34. "'How my love for the song contest made me create the world's biggest Eurovision blog'". SBS. 2019-05-18. https://www.sbs.com.au/programs/eurovision-song-contest/article/2019/05/18/how-my-love-song-contest-made-me-create-worlds-biggest-eurovision-blog. 
  35. "williamleeadams". https://www.facebook.com/williamleeadams. 

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