Simon Cowell Caught in Auto-Tuning Scandal

by | August 24, 2010 at 10:22 AM | American Idol, TV News

Simon Cowell (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Simon Cowell (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Simon Cowell engaged in talent-show tampering? Say it ain’t so!

Cowell’s ‘The X Factor’ has come under fire for using Auto-Tune to alter the voices of contestants on the British talent show.

The scandal has fans in an outrage.

‘X Factor’ producers admitted they tweaked the voices of singers who appeared on Saturday’s seventh-season premiere, which drew 11 million viewers, but they assert that the voice-polishing enhancements don’t affect the judging.

“The judges make their decisions at the auditions stage based on what they hear on the day, live in the arena,” a spokesman tells the BBC. “The footage and sound is then edited and dubbed into a finished program, to deliver the most entertaining experience possible for viewers. When it gets to the live shows, it will be all live.”

The show’s integrity and authenticity may have been compromised in that desire to deliver “the most entertaining experience possible” in other ways as well.

The pitch-correcting device has allegedly been used not just to cover up some contestants’ mistakes, but also to make other singers sound worse, according to The U.K.’s Mirror.

“It was an open secret on the show that Auto-Tune was used to both make contestants slightly more on key – or off – key,” admits a former ‘X Factor’ staffer to the Mirror. “On some occasions it was used to such extremes that while the contestant may have sounded like they were hitting the right note, the backing band had gone right out of tune.”

Cowell is bringing ‘The X Factor’–the show he dumped ‘American Idol‘ for–to America (with or without Auto-Tune?) in the fall of 2011.

What do you think of the use of Auto-Tune on talent shows?