“Anonymous” Pens Thinly Veiled American Idol Backstage Scorcher

“Elimination Night” is a new novel written by “Anonymous” that, although the names have been changed (barely) to protect the innocent, is obviously based on American Idol Season 10.

The New York Post serves up the juciest details from the book. Remember, this is a work of fiction. The amount of fact vs fiction is tough to determine here, but the book sure sounds entertaining. Here are the best bits:  Read more at The New York Post

The bigger bombshell is the book’s depiction of producers using 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.

No kidding.

The show desperately needs a big name, so it approaches Vasquez, a Queens-born singer known for outrageous outfits, dating a gun-toting rapper and starring with her then-fiance in a universally panned movie (titled “Jinky” instead of “Gigli”).

She agrees to appear on the show, with a whopping caveat: They must adhere to a 78-page contract rider, which includes:

“Artist’s body to be insured with $1 billion dollar policy in case of injury. (Breasts, buttocks to be valued at $100 million each.)

“Crew to be forbidden to make eye contact with Artist at all times.

“Artist to be provided with chauffeur-driven limo . . . Limo to be a Rolls-Royce Phantom, white. Artist to select driver (male, under 25) from head/torso shots.”Lovecraft, a 62-year-old, bass-mouthed rock star with a notorious weakness for booze, pills and women, has just had a falling-out with his band, Honeyload. He comes in to meet the producers with two porn stars in tow, on the heels of a rehab stint.

Guess who!

Both stars vie for top billing. Lovecraft complains when Vasquez’s inflated salary is released, while Vasquez throws a tantrum when Lovecraft becomes the fan-favorite judge.

When Vasquez decides to fly on her private jet to Houston for auditions, Lovecraft insists the show charter him one, too.

Neither are very good judges. (In real life, Lopez and Tyler hung on for two seasons before they announced they were leaving the show earlier this year.)

Vasquez relies on her agent to supply cue cards for her “ad libs.” Later, when she’s outed for using the cards, her husband, described as a pseudo-Marc Anthony (“her teenage sweetheart Edouard Julius, the actor, trapeze artist and former Olympic show jumper”) arrives on set and uses hand signals to tell her which singers to vote for and against.

Meanwhile, Lovecraft often “confused his gut with the area directly below it — namely his penis” to a point where the show’s producers are forced to hire a counselor to lecture the staff on fraternization and add language to his contract to keep a lid on the old man’s libido.

“He had been exchanging direct messages on Twitter with several other female contestants . . . providing them with both his cellphone and Twitpics of his bulging underwear, taken from under the judge’s desk,” the author writes.

Not hard to believe, actually.

Jimmy Nugget is 18-year-old country yodeler who bears a striking resemblance to “Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, a 17-year-old country boy from North Carolina. But in the book, he has a not-so-hushed-up secret: He sleeps with men.

Uhm. WTF???!!!! That had me laughing out loud for severing minutes.  I think the author might be trying to spice things up. As if the Idol story needs any more embellishment.  Sex sells, however.

Real-life contestants Karen Rodriguez — a 21-year-old Manhattanite — and Pia Toscano — a 22-year-old from Howard Beach — seem melded in the book’s Mia Pelosi, who’s blessed with an angelic voice and professional training but cusses like a truck driver. In the book, Mia has done time in juvenile hall for drunk-and-disorderly conduct.

If TMZ didn’t get it from Nigel dig it up…it can’t be true!

[During the audition process] Producers cheat by hiring local talent scouts to get established singers through the door — with the help of bribes like “phones, concert tickets, T-shirts . . . Oh, yeah, and cash,” the book says.

Hm. For years, there have been rumors about talent scouts sending singers straight to the producers.

Each contestant’s ticket is then given an oddly inverted code so that the producers can track the talent: “N” means a definite “yes, they’ll go onto Hollywood; “X” is maybe; and a “Y” is an absolute no but “the kid looks like a crier or a psycho, so roll the cameras.”

Executive producer Len Braithwaite, seemingly based on real “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, gives this order: “If someone has a good gimmick—y’know, dying kid, mom in prison, amusing facial tic — put a star in the top-right corner.”

Sob stories are almost always valued over talent, the book says. A star in the right-hand corner equals more air time.

To ratchet up the drama, producers hang in the wings to screen the contestants before they perform. The strategy is this: “Tell the singer the very opposite of the truth.”

So, if the singer is incredible, the producers tell her that she’s probably not moving on. If he stinks, well then they tell him he’s the next Otis Redding. This all makes the decision, that moment of reckoning, all the more cinematic, the book says.

The star judges are coached to bluff and give the strongest contestants the most negative signals by wringing their hands or shaking their heads during the audition process. It all adds to the tension.

After the auditions are done, during the high-stakes Hollywood performances, the elaborate backstories contestants tell about the song they’re about to sing are almost always ghostwritten, the book says.

Contestants who aren’t producer favorites are sabotaged with mind tricks and steered into making poor song choices that could result in their elimination.

Even the judges are manipulated. Producers direct male singers to tell Vasquez, “I was obsessed with you when I was a kid,” knowing it will upset her. This ensures a “nay” vote, no matter how good the singer’s pipes are.

There are no stories of producer shenanigans in the name of manipulating the outcome of the competition that would surprise me.

The show’s host, Wayne Shoreline — alter ego of the affable Seacrest — is detestable in the book.

The narrator describes a a man who enjoys making people squirm during the most vulnerable moments of their lives in front of 20 million viewers.

The crew nicknames him “Hal 9000” because he’s as emotionless and sexless as a robot. At one point, he eats a puppy.

“The pressure didn’t seem to affect Wayne,” the narrator says. “Up there on stage, he was focused, yes, but calm . . . Some take it as niceness. Professionalism, even. There people have it all wrong.

“Wayne is a functioning psychopath.”

OMG Lulz. Randy Jackson is there too, of course. As “JD Kootz”. And his catch phrase is “Booya-ka-ka.” M’kay. Also, the reporter speculates on who she thinks might be “Anonymous.” She thinks it could be Pia or Karen. I think it’s probably a production assistant, with access to gossip and backstage scoop, who left or was canned.

  • http://twitter.com/bignliddle BigNLiddle

    I am so confused

  • http://twitter.com/shoriagirl Shoria

    All of this has been known forever in the bubble.  

  • blackberryharvest

    LOL what the….

  • http://twitter.com/desireechick Kesia Monteith

    The stuff about Pia and Scotty is where the book lost me. A little too absurd for my liking. Even if it’s all meant to be fiction…

  • Stavros

    I HIGHLY doubt Pia Toscano would write this…or Karen for that matter. Does that make any sense to anyone?!

  • Stavros

    Maybe it was Haley. LOL.

  • blackberryharvest

    So was this written by a contestant? If so, it sounds like they like to talk sh*t about people. Maybe Stefano? Lol.

  • jan

    Sounds like some awful fanfic to me. It might just be something totally imagined. The names are terrible. 

  • LeahKittyS

    Yuck. I don’t want to know who’s behind this. Sure, I write some crazy American Idol fan fictions myself (I have one for each season), but none of them are meant to be realistic. They always take place in either a fantasy world or an alternate reality that has absolutely nothing to do with reality singing shows.

  • Eric Mitchell

    It does sound like bad fanfic mixed with some possible truths about Idol. I will still probably read it lol.

  • hellomusicgirl

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL  

    I need to read this.

  • http://twitter.com/raya4 raya

    It honestly sounds more like badly written fanfiction.  Don’t get me wrong in that some of the production stuff is likely true, but it’s not even anything that shocking.  Of course there is all sorts of manipulation going on in terms of the auditions and actual show.  Is that supposed to be a surprise to anyone?  The Scotty and Pia stuff seems especially fictional.  

  • abbysee

    Yawn!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    WTF did I just read? Did I drink too much?

  • springboard2

    This could be written by any long standing ‘fan’ or ex fan turned critique of the show, not necessarily by someone who has insider knowledge.

  • girlygirltoo

    somebody actually published this drivel?  It doesn’t even sound like it would be one of those great trashy novels that get labeled as books people take to read on the beach, lol

  • hellomusicgirl

    Drivel sells. 50 Shades of Grey, anyone? Or should I say 50 Shades of Idol.

  • DragonFly

    Anonymous–& that’s exactly how much attn it should be given.  None of the detail as to how the show likely works is a revelation to any of us here anyway. Don’t see any of the well-known Top Idols from S10 bashing each other in this way–haven’t seen a pattern of it anyway–& at least they would “pen” it better (imo lol).   The talk shows, Simon, Randy & Ryan will probably have fun w/it.  Any bets Ryan brings a stuffed dog on board for a routine.

  • songsungblue

    Jimmy Nugget…..BWAHHHHHHHHHH!  God, I love that name!  

  • Karen C

    A lot of this is similar to what I’ve heard before from some blogs, including some accounts contestants have written online. If anything about the production is true, could have been either surmised, or made up. Not surprised by anything except the revelation supposedly about the country contestant.  Maybe some characteristics of contestants are mixed.

    I think the part about talent scouts might be true, because I have noticed starting with Season 9 that there were a lot of contestants that never watched the show.  I thought maybe it was just that they heard singer songwriters had been successful, so they auditioned, but maybe there is more to that, and this makes sense why there are so many.  There was an interview recently, and it was the singer of a band who said a talent scout talked to her about being on X Factor. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was done with Idol too.

    THe other interesting thing is the signals in the numbers to the judges, maybe we can see a pattern.

  • http://twitter.com/KariannHart Kariann Hart

    I thought it was well-known that Jordin Sparks had been selected for an audition and wasn’t in the cattle call.  Didn’t Randy also predict that someone with curly hair would win – and it wasn’t Chris.  We are well aware of the scripted moments and manipulations with songs and settings.  I can remember someone commenting that Sanjaya had his mic turned off for a group number.

    Who ever wrote this has been reading blogs for awhile.  Who knows what’s true about the judges!

  • http://twitter.com/shoriagirl Shoria

    Lambert also wasn’t at the cattle call and was pt on the show for marketing purposes. 

  • BonnieDee

    I doubt it’s a contestant.  With the contract knowledge, etc., it has to be a behind the scenes person, maybe an assistant producer.

  • BonnieDee

    I am embarrassed for America that 50 Shades of Grey is a best seller.  It is  not just badly written, it is shockingly so.  You are right.  Drivel does sell.

  • geekygirl

    It was probably written by Simon Cowell!

  • Incipit

    The bigger bombshell is the book’s depiction of producers using 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.

    Yes, manipulation and sabotage and the Grassy Knoll – we know about the ‘man behind the curtain’. 

    Some of the actual real life past contestants (with names and everything) have been dismissed as sour grapes for saying the same things for years.

    Suddenly, “Anonymous” repeats statements they could have culled from any Idol Blog over the past eleven years – and it’s a bombshell?

     Heh. I don’t think so.

    Sounds like a rancid mix of Fan Fiction and Idol blog history, with a ‘Mary Sue’ of its very own.  IDK how badly written it is – but no doubt the will not matter to its popularity – has it ever?

  • BonnieDee

    I wonder if Jimmy is in this book, or Lauren or Haley.

  • irockhard

    It’s about S10 so no way. If it was written by a contestant IMO it’s probably someone who made Top 24 but not the voting rounds. But I find much of this very far fetched.

  • BonnieDee

    So the worst thing they have to say about Pia is that she cusses?  Well at least she’s not eating puppies like Ryan.  LOL!

  • elliegrll

    Also, the reporter speculates on who she thinks might be “Anonymous.”

    My guess is that it’s a fan of the show.

    Sounds like a rancid mix of Fan Fiction and Idol blog history

    This is what it sounds like to me too, even if the producer manipulation parts are true.

  • http://twitter.com/TarheelShari Sharon S.

    Lambert also wasn’t at the cattle call and was pt on the show for marketing purposes.

    Nice accusation.  Do you happen to have a source for it? 

  • http://twitter.com/Miztig Miz

    Everything shown here and in the NYP article has been rumored, speculated on, and flat out made up.

     Anonymous sounds like a fan fic wannabe blogger, and a not very good one at that. They may be a writing ‘team’. They may have been to a few auditions as a ‘contestant’ (lots of people go for shiz and giggles). They may have been in the audience for a few rehearsals or live shows. They may have a friend of a friend of a friend who worked as a runner or intern at some time.

    They most likely are fans of another season and/or contestant and are basing it all on Season 10 to throw off the scent.

    Bottom line. It’s pretty juvenile.

    Off topic. When I saw ‘Anonymous’ in the title, I thought it was about the infamous hackers who are taking on the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • Xentusk

    Off topic. When I saw ‘Anonymous’ in the title, I thought it was about the infamous hackers who are taking on the Westboro Baptist Church.

    That’s what I thought too LOL
    I wondered, WTF does a hacker group have to do with American Idol? :P

    Can you imagine a group of hackers playing havoc with the voting results?  Or maybe they have …. :/

  • http://twitter.com/LexieONeill Lexie O’Neill

    Wow–there really is no way that these, especially the young ones, can really know what they’re getting into when they audition for this show.  Scotty has said over and over again that he auditioned with the thought that he would get some pointers and go back home to work on his craft.  He seems to handle all of the bashing relatively well but still not cool.

    I wonder if they allude to any of the other teenagers…ugh.  Not that being older helps/aka Pia but maybe they would have more of an idea of how ugly the world can be.   Shaking my head.

  • Tess

    I can believe the New York Post (The biggest “rag” passing itself off as “real” journalism) jumped at its chance to print this…and I can imagine some idiotic publisher, hard up for some quick money, jumping on board but I can’t believe anyone with a modicum of common sense would begin to believe any of this drivel and would say that any of it is “real” caged in a work of fiction.  But then, after reading tons of blogs and blog comments on American Idol I can believe that there is a readership for this and lots of folks who are going to spend pages of pages of dialogue to “prove” that every word is what really really happened.

    I just feel bad that, yet again, some really nice, innocent contestants are going to be fodder for the mean spirited and those that have little else to do but trample on the reputations of others. 

  • http://twitter.com/Miztig Miz

    Absolutely ANYONE can publish a book – digital or physical. You don’t need a publishing house behind you.

  • CB40

    I bet it’s Ian Benardo!!! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Li-Wright/100001622678180 Li Wright

    Well, I could have written this book, any of us could have written this book.  It’s not revealing or tintilating….we get these stories through TMZ and the Enquirer.  I think the writer is going for a movie or TV deal. 

  • mmb

    I saw this article in the Post (yesterday I think) and laughed out loud.  Most of this stuff is not news…a lot undoubtedly is based on fact; some is clearly pure fiction.  I thought some of the “Seacrest” comments were hilarious.  Agree that is was probably written by a former low level production assistant.  Sounds like a good, fun, trashy read. 

  • chillj

    Wow.  This book may have gone a bit over the top, but it also may be a book that needed to be written.  These shows are big money.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “The bigger bombshell is the book’s depiction of producers using 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.”

    Duh! lol

    “[During the audition process] Producers cheat by hiring local talent
    scouts to get established singers through the door — with the help of
    bribes like “phones, concert tickets, T-shirts . . . Oh, yeah, and
    cash,” the book says.”

    I believe this. I think that this kind of solicitation and scouting has gone on since the beginning of Idol. Kind of like what The Voice does, but Idol doesn’t admit it.

    “The narrator describes a a man who enjoys making people squirm during
    the most vulnerable moments of their lives in front of 20 million
    viewers.”

    I’ve always thought that Ryan showed a sadistic streak in trying to wring the most drama or best TV moments out of the contestants, but I would stop short of regarding him as a “psychopath”.

    “Jimmy Nugget is 18-year-old country yodeler who bears a striking
    resemblance to “Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, a 17-year-old country boy
    from North Carolina. But in the book, he has a not-so-hushed-up secret:
    He sleeps with men.”

    Meh. Who knows, and who cares?

  • http://twitter.com/cheeseE1 EH

    Wow, I feel like I think I just felt thousands of brain cells die as I skimmed a couple of the excerpts.  

  • http://twitter.com/happylittlefish Amy Beth

    I wonder if this Anonymous will stay hidden any longer than the author of “Primary Colors” did. 

    I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I love a good, thinly-veiled roman-a-clef. But what’s the actual plot of this book? Just who wins or something a little more interesting?

  • Kirsten

    LOL. I thought about writing an “Anonymous” behind the scenes book about Idol 5 years ago, but I’m not a good writer. Seems like I was in error thinking that was a prerequisite.

    IDK. Usually these things are a bit more affectionate – biting humour, but with an underlying love of the subject matter. This mostly seems bitter with the humour kind of forced.

    Anybody in the bubble could have written this, but I’m thinking this is somebody angry at the show. For some reason, I think Clint wrote it. We should have a poll guessing who wrote it.

  • Klaine

    One would think after more than a decade, someone would have broken the code of silence if any of these things were true.  Despite money and confidentiality contracts, someone would have spilled the beans.  So dunno.

  • Klaine

    I worked on a big TV show, however, and fans never had a clue of what went on behind the scenes.  If most people knew what TV is really like, theyd be very turned off…Producers/executives mostly are a-holes

  • http://twitter.com/raya4 raya

    While true, I do think in many ways that is true about most lines of work.  There are a-holes at the top of just about every industry, television being no exception.

    That said, I have never even attended an idol taping and if this about covers the big revelations in this book, I could have written this book with a little help from my friend the internet.  Mind you I would hope my writing skills are better than this drivel, but I really don’t think you would even need to have any real involvement with this show to come up to this stuff.  Though the only interesting part to me, is as somebody said, this is being written about the most recent era of the show and not the show in all of it’s Simon Cowell prime.

  • Indigobunting

    Oh my, this sounds hilarious!  If I am in the mood for some fun trash, I know what I will ask for in my stocking ;)

    There obviously are quite a few little grains of truth in there, lol.

  • Kirsten

    I worked on a big TV show, however, and fans never had a clue of what
    went on behind the scenes.  If most people knew what TV is really like,
    theyd be very turned off…Producers/executives mostly are a-holes

    Ah…but we in the bubble have known just that about the Idol Producers/executives for years.

    It’s one of VFTW’s raison d’être. It also the very genesis of the knoll. It is the subject of many a post here.

  • Incipit

    One would think after more than a decade, someone would have broken the code of silence if any of these things were true.

    Oh, a few beans have been spilled, Klaine, on blogs here and there, including this one…Nobody wanted to believe them. And no one doing the spilling wanted to breach their agreement specifically enough for Fremantle to sue their A$$. It’s been a pretty sweet deal for Idol – it still is – the non-disclosure bits.

    I think Idol PTB will love the OTT style of this Roman à clef , outside of the free publicity and speculation on who wrote it – or what parts are true – because the facts will “be protected by an army of lies” – or at the least, lost in the exaggerations.

    So people who never wanted to believe any of the things past contestants said still don’t have to –  because the framework for this ‘novelization’ and the mixing and blending of ‘characters’ makes it so easy to dismiss any of it as fiction. That may not have been the author’s intent, IDK – I think it will be the result.

     I foresee a Cottage Industry – checking past disclosures and accusations against the book, to see what was included. Trying to sort it out.  Heh. Or a Fun Filled Hobby, for some. The names alone are worth a smirk.

     (And Kirsten, you write just fine – IMO. Your book would have been more fun.) 

    JMO. Of Course

  • Tess

    I have an old boss who is an a-hole, he’d screw a lamp post if it would make him money.  TV and the entertainment business aren’t anymore corrupt than the guy who runs your neighborhood food mart, car dealership, or construction business.  

  • http://twitter.com/cara_lee pj

    Ha ha.  I may have to download on my Kindle just for shits and giggles.

  • trolls

    As I have said for a long time, I have no problem with the concept of AI:)  However, the focus needs to shift back to the contestants and away from the overpaid ‘judges’.  IOW, AI needs some SERIOUS adult supervision!

    Were I to ‘get the power’, here are the people who would be the new judges:

    1.  Myself[representing the viewers]
    2.  Scott MacIntyre[he has been through the process; plus his educational level would 'upgrade' the panel]
    3.  Aretha Franklin[get the 'superstar' and she does work with current producers....]
    4.  Keith Urban[retain him for the country side]
    5.  Roseanne Tomanovich['MasterClassLady':  she is an experienced vocal coach. 'Nuff said:)]

    JUst think how this panel could REALLY help the singers improve.

  • Montavilla

    Each contestant’s ticket is then given an oddly inverted code so that the producers can track the talent: “N” means a definite “yes, they’ll go onto Hollywood; “X” is maybe; and a “Y” is an absolute no but “the kid looks like a crier or a psycho, so roll the cameras.

    This isn’t the first place I’ve read about this system.  Reading it now, it strikes me as commonsense.  If you have 5,000 hopeful singers auditioning in a day, you do need to decide in a couple seconds whether they are going to be stand-out talent, deserving of a second look, or untalented but good television fodder.

    It would be more “shocking” if, as rumor goes, the producers oust singers because it’s not the right genre.  (If, for example, Amber Riley was rejected because TPTB put a ban on the Black Diva singer.)

    “Jimmy Nugget is 18-year-old country yodeler who bears a striking resemblance to “Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, a 17-year-old country boy from North Carolina. But in the book, he has a not-so-hushed-up secret: 
    He sleeps with men.”

    I’m wondering if that’s a composite character, combining Scotty and Clay.  After all, they both come from North Carolina.

  • girlygirltoo

    Why does a fictionalized version of something need to be written? If this person — or anyone else connected to the show (assuming this isn’t written by some cray fan) — really wants to expose what goes on behind the scenes write a non-fiction book with actual factual evidence to back up the claims. THAT might be a bombshell — not this.

    Also, don’t hide behind “anonymous” — they couldn’t come up with some appropriate pseudonym?

  • girlygirltoo

    I don’t think too many people would be surprised by this, actually. I used to work in film & tv development, and although there are a fair amount of nice, genuine people working in the industry, it’s usually the a-holes who get farther in their careers. Sad but true.

  • chillj

    If it isn’t fiction, I guess it is more prone to lawsuit.  I would love to know what some of these contestants really think, but I think there is a reason we do not.

  • http://twitter.com/Sassycatz Sassycatz

    I wonder if this is also based on Twilight fan fiction. ;-)

  • julesb2183

    it was a PA. most definitely.

  • nyc57

    I read that yesterday in my New York Post. I agree,it was probably written by a PA.I wish it were about older seasons but I will probably download it.Laughed that the reviewer thought the biggest bombshell was producer manipulation and sabotage.Hopefully,when the show finally ends,some insider will write about all the seasons.Amazing that it has not been done before but I guess everyones afraid.

  • MellyPer1692

    You prolly couldn’t get Scott McIntyre to stop talking about himself long enough to be a helpful judge.

  • trolls

    Actually, I have seen him do ‘mentoring’, and he does know how to listen:) Subject: [mjsbigblog] Re: “ Anonymous” Pens Thinly Veiled American Idol Backstage Scorcher

  • http://twitter.com/KariannHart Kariann Hart

    nyc57, I have made this suggestion several times!  My choice to write the book was Debra Byrd.  Now, they didn’t use her last year because Katharine mother is a vocal coach on the show.  However, she was loved by so many of the contestants.

    I would like a true story, from all seasons, released in March of its last season!

  • nyc57

    Late,but I think you are a very talented writer and I especially enjoy your sense of humor.I often wondered if you were a writer in real life.If you wrote a book on idol,I would definitely buy it and I’d probably be laughing out loud through much of it.