Idol holds firm after tragedy
Ajudge Simon Cowell says the apparent suicide of a former contestant hit the show’s staff ‘‘like an express train’’.
But he says the tragedy will not stop criticism of performers in future auditions.
The body of Paula Goodspeed— described as an obsessed fan of judge Paula Abdul— was found last month in a car near Abdul’s Los Angeles mansion.
Goodspeed, 30, had auditioned in front of the judges in 2006 with a version of that Abdul said left her speechless, adding: ‘‘That’s not a good thing.’’
Cowell then made a comment about her braces, remarking he didn’t see how anyone could sing with ‘‘that much metal in their mouth’’.
‘‘What happened was awful,’’ Cowell says. ‘‘My regret in all of this is we didn’t know how troubled this person was. I wish we could have spent time trying to help her.’’
Cowell says there is little screening of contestants at open auditions and a minimum of seven security guards are in the room, though unseen by the audience, when hopefuls sing for the judges.
Cowell insists being honest with those who try out is part of the process and it won’t be changing.
‘‘You assume that everyone who enters
knows the score,’’ he says.
Format changes for the new season include the addition of songwriter Kara DioGuardi to the judging panel and the elimination of the charity crusade. Cowell felt asking people to donate for charity seemed inappropriate given the frail state of the economy.
Foxtel’s FOX8 channel launches the new season of
on January 14, with episodes airing within hours of their US broadcast.