BY: Lynn Elber
LOS ANGELES – Simon Cowell has gone from ‘American Idol‘ judge to a potential headache for the show.
A furor over whether Cowell’s British talent show ‘The X Factor‘ electronically altered contestant voices has prompted ‘American Idol’ to make a pre-emptive strike.
“We have never, nor would we ever, use Auto-Tuning during the ‘American Idol’ competition,” producers of the Fox show said in a statement Thursday, referring to pitch-correcting technology.
‘American Idol’ viewers can attest that contestants have been regularly scolded for “pitchiness.”
The producers’ statement, issued in response to a query, didn’t address a key ‘American Idol’ issue: the replacements for Cowell and another departing judge, Ellen DeGeneres. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the reported front-runners for the judge’s panel, which begins its work sometime after Labor Day.
Cowell left the top-rated series at the end of last season and is bringing ‘The X Factor,’ which he created in Britain and is hugely popular there, to the Fox network in 2011.
Fans of ‘The X Factor’ have alleged online that pitch-correction software was used to alter some performances. The show’s producers responded to the outcry by acknowledging that post-production was used to correct for the interplay of the various microphones used during filming.
The producers vowed to avoid the use of electronic pitch correction.
British media outlets have made hay of the issue, with Cowell a particular target. His photo was featured on the front of Britain’s Daily Mirror on Monday, under the caption: ‘X Faker.’
‘American Idol’ returns in January.
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