Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

“American Idol” — time to stop the laughter?

December 17, 2008

USA/“American Idol” returns in January with a few tweaks but broadly the same mix of  tone-deaf singers and potential gems among the thousands trying out in the early audition rounds.

Snarky comments, and sometime helpless laughter from the judges, about the hopeless singers have always been a big part of the show’s appeal.

But has the public ridicule gone too far, especially given the apparent suicide in Los Angeles in November of a former ”Idol” tryout and obsessed fan of Paula Abdul?

“Idol” producers say they have to mix up the good with the bad singers to give an accurate cross section of those who turned out for auditions. But executive producer Ken Warwick also told reporters this week he would have a “pretty boring show” if he left all the no-hopers off the air.TELEVISION-AMERICANIDOL

The toughest jibes usually come from Briton Simon Cowell, who seems to enjoy his reputation as the Mr. Nasty of American TV.  But while Cowell says the death of Paula’s fan in November made him think hard about whether to temper his comments, he doesn’t envisage major changes.

Will you be laughing in January at the dozens of would-be singers who should never be heard in public?  Or has the parade of sometimes delusional performers, and the ridicule meted out to them, become reminiscent of  a carnival freak show?

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