8 Fakest Things About The Show, According To Cast And Crew

ytsfreeSeptember 6, 2022

It’s no secret that American Idol has seen immense success over the past several decades, with the singing competition show still currently going strong, with auditions for season 21 just wrapping up. However, many fans have witnessed quite a bit of changes to the show’s dynamic from the earlier episodes to the current reboot.

No matter which season fans enjoy, present or past, many viewers have observed some odd editing and have even found themselves questioning how real the show actually is. From the outlandish contestants to the shocking winners, many past contestants and judges have come forward to spill some secrets about their time on the show and how not everything is as it seems.

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The Show Plays Favorites

Every season, it becomes abundantly clear that the show gives certain contestants more airtime than others. Whether it’s because of their popularity or their heartwarming background story, it’s easy for the more normal contestants to blend into the background.

Related: 10 Most Controversial Eliminations On American Idol

According to a TikTok made by a former contestant @katewatsonmusic, she was never aired on the show, even though she made it all the way to the end of Hollywood week. This goes to show that the competition show has always played favorites and aired certain people based on their popularity or sob stories instead of highlighting all the contestants equally.

Fake Beef Is Orchestrated

It’s a no-brainer that reality shows wouldn’t be half as entertaining without some drama. However, a lot of the beef and high-tension situations are reportedly fake and highly orchestrated by the production team.

Even former judge, Mariah Carey herself, detailed her experience on the Kyle And Jackie O radio show. Carey said that her beef with Nicki Minaj was heavily pushed as it made for good TV, even though she wasn’t in favor of two females being pitted against each other.

Contestants Have Little Say On Their Audition Songs

Fans of the singing competition show are well aware that contestants seem to have a knack for picking the perfect audition song, or not so much. However, what many viewers don’t know is that contestants are actually quite limited as to what songs they can sing during their audition unless the production team lets them sing an original song.


Related: One Quote From Each American Idol Judge That Sums Up Their Personality

According to Today, contestants are given a CD with around 50 songs to choose from, as of 2008, at least. While it makes sense that only certain songs are cleared by artists for use in the show, fans are always quite shocked to learn that contestants don’t have unlimited options as far as audition song picks go.

Producers Often Manipulate Contestants

Fans are familiar with some of the most cringe-worthy American Idol auditions that feature either terrible singers or people with bad attitudes. However, the situations aired aren’t always a telltale sign of what actually happened.


According to the New York Post, a novel by the name of “Elimination Night” reveals the inner workings of the show by saying, “producers use a secret rating system to vet contestants before they even make it to the judge’s table and then, as the season progresses, manipulating and even sabotaging the singers they want to see rise or fall.” The book even says that judges can be manipulated without their knowledge, which is telling of just how powerful production is when it comes to the show’s outcome.

Emotional Backstories Can Be Faked For Ratings

Viewers have seen many contestants come and go that have emotional backstories and gave memorable performances that made American Idol judges cry. However, not many fans know that some of these stories were allegedly fabricated for ratings.


Considering sob stories are quite popular among viewers, some shows don’t even bother to fact-check them, as long as it brings in good ratings. One contestant in particular, Matt Farmer, even got exposed for lying about his military past, according to HuffPost.

A Golden Ticket Doesn’t Promise Anything

All contestants on the show dream of holding that famous golden ticket in their hand, as it means that the singer is going straight to Hollywood for the next round. Or does it? Fans are slowly discovering that just because someone gets a golden ticket, it does not mean they are guaranteed to proceed in the competition.

Related: 10 Most Cringe-Worthy American Idol Performances Of All Time

As reported by E! News, a former Idol contestant Akron Watson took his experience to MySpace writing, “A golden ticket, but no plane ticket!!!” According to Watson, the show cut him for “unknown reasons,” despite receiving a golden ticket days prior, which fans formerly believed guaranteed a trip to Hollywood.

Judges Have Scripts For Their Interactions With Contestants

Regardless of what fans may think about certain American Idol judges, whether they are pretty likable or well-hated, it’s a well-hidden secret that these judges actually have scripts. While fans aren’t entirely sure of how long the show has been scripted, several past contestants have shared their experiences with discovering this fact during their auditions.


A girl that had previously auditioned for the show, @colbykatreisinger, made a TikTok detailing her experience of realizing just how scripted the show was and how they had already made up their mind about her before she even auditioned. The singer goes on to mention that Katy Perry “didn’t learn her lines,” but also how the show painted her to look like a bad guy from the start.

Even Voting Can Be Rigged

Idol always has a way of making fans feel important, as they are made to believe they have a heavy hand in who ends up winning the competition show. While there have been several occasions where fans believed the runner-up should have won instead, there might even be solid evidence that cheating is a common tactic in American Idol‘s voting process.

“Textgate” was a scandal that took the world by storm in the late 2000s when Kris Allen unexpectedly won the competition over a more popular competitor and current frontman of Queen, Adam Lambert. According to NZHerald, AT&T admitted to “providing free mobile phones and texting services to fans of Allen” in his own hometown, which fans clearly saw as unfair.

NEXT: 10 Best Reality TV Shows Of All Time, According To IMDb

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