“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.
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.
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.
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.