American Idol Fan Told She Was “Too Heavy” to Sit in the Front Row

Here’s an item you won’t find posted at TMZ *snicker*.

An American Idol audience member tells the UK Daily Mail that she was banished to the back of the American Idol studio at a recent show taping,  because she was too big. Meanwhile two of her skinny friends were seated up front.

19 year old Ashley Kaufman tells the tale:

‘There were two ladies and one said: “Oh, I don’t want shorts in front,” about my friend,’ ‘Then she looked at me and said: “Oh no, you’re too big, too heavy to be in front!” ‘I was taken aback by it. I was hurt. My friends were completely taken back. I’m the heavier one in our group but I’m not even that heavy,’ she said.

To make matters worse Miss Kauffman and the two other girls were then seated in the back of the theatre rather than directly behind their other friends.  ‘They had made their way to the second row but had been stopped by another member of Idol staff, this time male.

Miss Kauffman said he grabbed her ticket and said: ‘This makes sense why you’re not with the skinny girls. You’re in the last row.’  ‘It hurt to hear that from the first girl but it hurt even more coming from a guy,’ Miss Kauffman said.

At 150 lb and 5’2″ Ashley is not drastically overweight.  Probably fat by California standards though.  I think it’s pretty typical for TV shows to want to fill the first rows with pretty people.   If the ushers were that blunt, they need to be retrained.  A little tact goes a long way.

‘I was borderline tears,’ she added.

‘I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s still on my mind.’

She added that staff had seated two girls who were ‘super skinny and wearing little dresses’ in the front row where her and her friends would have been sitting.

Ashley goes to great lengths to explain that her extra weight is due to a medical condition she had when she was younger, rather than over eating, as if that makes a difference.  Feeling discriminated against, Ashley is hoping to get an apology. But I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were her.
Follow Me!

mj santilli

Founder/Editor at
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
Follow Me!

  • IdolThoughts

    That’s terrible! I had the exact opposite happen. My dad and I are both kind a chubby and we were switched from the back to the front row…misplacing two “skinny” people.

  • platoken

    Hmm I think idol is following in X Factor’s footsteps and is trying to create controversy that XF is so famous for…. :)

  • Reflections On Life

    So now it’s the heavier people that have to “ride at the back of the bus”. It would seem that her civil rights were violated, but I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know what civil rights do and don’t apply when you attend a free private event in the audience.

  • coco

    I have seen some of the Front Rowers(some not all)……hmmmmm…and that ain’t saying much.

  • blkeener

    I call BS.

    Last Wed there was a girl about 250 lbs sitting 2nd row on the floor.

    Yes, they evaluate you & seat you according to appearance, but they are not cruel like that. I am by no means skinny & have never been treated like that.

  • yellin

    ever notice when you watch shows like The Real World on MTV, you never see a “heavy girl” cast…NEVER. Yeah, sure..THAT is not the “real world” by any means. Heavier people are probably the MOST discriminated against…ignorant..:(

  • girlygirl

    If this is true, she deserves an apology, at the least. I’ve noticed they always try to have the cute younger girls in the front of the audience — especially when they had the swaybots, but there’s no need to be insulting.

  • Montavilla

    Maybe they need to post a cardboard cut-out at the box office with a sign that reads: You must be at least this cute to go on this ride.

    If this is a real story (I have my doubts about UK Daily Mail), then the proper thing to do would have been to move the entire party to the back of the theater. I understand the producers would want the cutest looking girls in the front, but to pick and choose within a group of friends is blatant and rude.

  • gangreen29

    So we don’t believe TMZ, but we do trust The Daily Mail. Except for all those things they make up about X-Factor, right? Just checking : )

  • Cari

    They do partially seat people based on looks, it’s true. For instance, the very front rows and the seats directly beside the judges tables will always be young, skinny girls. But they are never rude like that, and it’s not like they banish the heaviest people to the back of the room. That is BS.

  • cokezero

    Yeah this is either BS or we’re not hearing the whole story.

    She is a little chubby and not surprised she didn’t make the front row, but I *highly* doubt they would’ve said that to her face, unless there was an extended confrontation with the girl.

    And we’re supposed to believe a second employee unrelated to the first incident also brought up her weight? Gurrrrrl please.

  • Brittany

    I call BS. I am fatter than the girl that this happened to, and I was given a pit pass and stood right next to Simon at a taping last year. They do have two people judging you as you walk in, but I’ve heard they base it off of age and choice of clothing (they tend to put more fashionably dressed, “youthful” looking people in the front).

  • wfish8888

    i think those were Lauren Alain’s parents… thats why lauren lost her confidence, mabye she thought it ran through the family?

  • ninergrl6

    The only thing surprsing/unrealiatic about this is that the staffers actually said those things to her. I’ve been to many tv tapings (including Idol) and there’s no doubt they seat people according to appearance. They never SAY it though.

  • Lexus

    Miss Kauffman said he grabbed her ticket and said: ‘This makes sense why you’re not with the skinny girls. You’re in the last row.’
    I kind of thought there was a possibility this all happened until I read the above quote. I just can’t picture anybody saying that. There’s just no way. If they are indeed evaluating your appearance, I honestly believe they’d be tactful…otherwise we’d be hearing a lot more of these stories and we’re not. Somebody wants attention.

  • MrDuffin

    I would believe anything this year. The show has a whole…new…feel and for me it is like amateur hour on steroids. I’m sure it reflects on the staff too.

  • Scott

    I’ve been to Idol in-studio. They’re blatant about it. It’s more difficult to get into the front rows than it was to get into Studio 54 in 1978.

    I will say weight probably wasn’t the real issue though. Hair, fashion & general persona is what they look at. They want a certain “type” to be on camera and weight isn’t a huge issue since a majority of the fans were overweight when I was there last – a true reflection of America. No judgments here (40 lbs overweight myself).

  • damroberts744

    I think its BS too, but in all honestly I’d be more upset with my friends.

  • Tony

    I remember I went on TRL once with my friend and they sat me directly in the front, right in the center (I was on camera like 90% of the time, lol) and they sat my friend way, way, way in a back corner somewhere. I was pretty shocked when they split us up like that. But that day, I learned that they were definitely strategically placing people.

    He’s an Asian guy and wasn’t “fashionably dressed” (as Brittany put it) so I’m thinking that his attire was probably the reason. I literally went clothes shopping just for that day =P

    (and weight wasn’t an issue, I’m 5’10”, 150lbs right now so at the time I probably weighed slightly less and he weighed probably 3 lbs more than me)

  • luvadamlambert

    ouch, they couldve been nicer..thats pretty big tho

  • musicality

    American Idol is so fake I still marvel that people fall for the sad stories of the contestants even if they are douchebags – hello James. They still believe that preteens are some how mysteriously getting past security to rush the stage – hello Scotty. That contestants are getting close to being voted off or are voted off – hello Casey , hello Pia. Do people still believe in Santa? Come on!! We must all know by now it’s scripted. It’s been reported a thousand times its scripted but people still believe in the Easter Bunny.

  • smartalek

    @musicality, I don’t think anyone with common sense believes that the show tampers with the voting since that’s illegal. They can script around the voting results and play with the bottom 3 reveal etc. and introduce new rules like the save, but they can’t fake the results. The votes are recorded by one of the biggest accounting firms in the US. I find it hard to believe that TBTB would have picked Taylor Hicks over Daughtry or Kat Mcphee and Kris Allen over Adam or Danny, that was the public unfortunately.

  • Nina1

    We must all know by now it’s scripted.

    My favorites are the “anonymous person” reality and news shows that have convenient (and good) photography. No one ever notices a camera in their face. I wish they were forced to disclaim, because we are so inundated that we become oblivious and that affects our reality. They should call all of these shows Almost Reality.

    I am not surprised at this story, true or not. Hollywood is fond of pretty people, but Hollywood is also shallow and I would just as soon its values didn’t catch on.

  • musicality

    @smartalek ,,,,,maybe you should check with what exactly is “illegal”.. America votes but does American Idol have to honor the results? Is it “illegal” not too? Just curious.

  • just sayin

    Not buying it.

  • Buffynut

    The OCA people aren’t the most polite I’ve ever seen
    ( Ellen’s people take that prize) but they are well trained. I seriously do not think they would say that. Not buying it either.

  • damroberts744

    @smartalek ,,,,,maybe you should check with what exactly is “illegal”.. check your laws before you post.

    I don’t think its illegal either, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that its all fixed either. If there were any truth to it I think after 10 seasons it would’ve come out. And if the producers ever did tamper with the votes at all I would be quite shocked, because while not illegal it is completely corrupt.

    I in all honesty doubt that anything other than viewers votes have anything to do with the outcome.

  • Jewlmc

    So we don’t believe TMZ, but we do trust The Daily Mail. Except for all those things they make up about X-Factor, right? Just checking : )

    Ridiculous isn’t it? The Daily Mail is notorious for making stuff up. And like many other British tabloids, is firmly up Simon’s backside.

  • TwigLA

    I’m finding it hard to believe her story. Yes, all shows with live audiences ‘cast’ who sits where since they might end up on camera. When you receive your tickets you are given a list of appropriate attire. Usually it’s business casual or club attire for this type of show. Definitely no white or striped shirts or logos for any studio audience.

    She points out that her friend was wearing shorts which is what first caught their notice. Her friends were also seated in the back. I tend to think that all three of them were moved there to keep their group together, as opposed to a ‘back of the bus’ for the fat chick. I think it’s more a matter of available seating.

    It is ludicrous that 2 separate ushers made rude comments about her weight. That’s a fast track to being out of a job.

  • eamzul

    if it’s true.. and if i have a chance to watch american idol with front row ticket, then i would be place at the back coz i am 155 pounds and 5’2. that’s not good! I hope it’s not true.

  • caroleinfla

    I’m overweight and was misdiagnosised because the doctor thought that was the cause of my health problems. 2 years later and 4 doctors later I was diagnosised with MS. Even doctors are prejudiced. So, I believe what she said. It happens.

  • Traceyru

    I’ve had this happen to me and my daughter also, for American Idol and the show so you think you can dance… so unfair, they even said there was a min age for the show which was 14 and I seen little girls age 9,10 etc.. and guess what/ they got the front rows.. If this has happened to anyone else and feel we need to bond together to do something , I’m all in…