The Meanest Show on Television
Was Dayna Dooley sleeping with her boss? You'd expect that question from Jerry Springeróbut from "American Idol"? That's what the leering "Idol" judges implied when Dooley told them her boss paid for her trip to audition. "I didn't think it was right to do that to my character," Dooley said in an interview with NEWSWEEK. "My boss told me he couldn't sleep." "Idol" used to be the most wholesome hit in America.
This year it's turned into the singing version of "Mean Girls." The producers seem to pick contestants purely for their freak value, and the judges laugh in their facesóand behind their backs. "I woke up the next day with hives all over my back," says Jessica Rhode, who dissolved into tears after the judges humiliated her for trying to sound like Jewel. "I just think it's kind of a big joke now."
More cases in point: Kenneth Briggs ("You look like one of those creatures that live in the jungle," Simon said) and voice teacher Stephen Horst ("I wouldn't tell anybody to take vocal lessons from you," said Randy). "He attacked me professionally," says Horst. "I was stunned." So were millions of "Idol" fans.