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It won't be long until American Idol premieres on ABC, and with that said, fans of the classic singing competition will be happy to know not a lot has changed beyond its judges and network. One other big thing that will change, however, is that the show will no longer showcase bad auditions for the world to see. Showrunner Trish Kinane explained American Idol was doing away with the former staple feature and stated the show was no longer alright with the mean-spirited nature of the process.
It doesn't feel comfortable to put borderline unstable people up on stage and laugh at them... I think that people once thought that the judges saw everyone, and now you know there's a line of producers who screen before them. We want the humor, but we don't want the exploitation.
Trish Kinane recounted the nasty process bad American Idol contestants used to go through, which probably looked similar to the process really good contestants also went through. With that in mind, it's always possible a few of the obscenely bad singing contestants who appeared on the numerous seasons of American Idol were under the impression they had a decent shot at being selected to advance just prior to having their hearts ripped out by judges, all in the name of television entertainment. Kinane informed press at the TCA winter press tour (via THR) that American Idol had strayed away from the cruel practice in the show's later seasons prior to its cancellation, and that the practice would not return in the reboot.
Beyond that fact that exploiting bad singers for entertainment was mean, American Idol can't waste time on lesser talent on its quest to regain the show's former prestige. The final seasons of the series on Fox failed to create stars that enjoyed a level of success similar to Kelly Clarkson or other past winners of the singing competition, and at least one American Idol judge is set on changing that in the reboot. For Katy Perry, any time on American Idol devoted to anything other than finding a star is a waste of her and everyone's time. That appears to include any time that could've showcased bad singers, so the dropping of that show element also gels with the current goal of the new American Idol.
Many bad auditions on American Idol didn't amount to much after, but there is at least one success story that came from the mean practice. William Hung, who famously sang an awful version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs," in Season 3 managed to gain a record deal and a fair amount of celebrity following his performance. Hung even got to make a music video of "She Bangs," which currently sits at over 2 million views on YouTube. Had he never been seen, none of that, or this, would've been possible:
American Idol premieres on ABC Sunday, March 11 at 8:00 p.m. EST. To see what other television is returning or premiering before then, be sure to visit our midseason premiere guide.