UK’s Daily Mirror reports that Simon Cowell has banned the use of auto-tune on his singing competition show, X Factor after a furor broke this week when producers admitted to using the software to alter the vocals of Gamu Nhengu, 18, a contestant on this week’s show.
“He only came back from holiday yesterday and as soon as he landed he was very busy taking lots of calls from production and ITV bosses. He said ‘the sh** has hit the fan’ and was shocked about the fans’ reaction and wanted to do something straightaway.
“The integrity of the show is very important to him and so he told production that Auto-Tune cannot be used again. Simon has banned producers from ever using this software again.”
The controversy has deepened, as sources inside X Factor tell the Mirror that auto-tune has been routinely used on the program to both make good singers sound better, and bad singers sound worse.
One former member of the X Factor production team said: “It was an open secret on the show that Auto-Tune was used to both make contestants slightly more on key – or off – key. 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.
“It has been used for a long time on the show both for the auditions and the live shows.
It’s a charge Richard Holloway, head of entertainment at Talkback Thames refutes. He said, “I can assure you we have never made bad singers worse or that Auto-Tune has ever been used on our live shows. Anything that would affect the public vote, we wouldn’t do.”
A finalist from last year’s X Factor, Jamie Archer weighs in, “It is not needed, the British public are clever and they want to see people grow. I don’t like the use of Auto-Tune. It can transform you but I am a musician and want to sound raw. You make a lot of difference with it.”
The controversy is not a good thing for Simon Cowell, as he prepares to launch X Factor in the US in the fall of 2011. An auto-tune controversy could damage the credibility of the show, and make American Idol look like a much better bet in comparison. Although, there have been rumblings amongst fans that Idol manipulates contestant audio to either enhance or degrade the sound, the show has not been the victim of a full blown controversy. Yet.
Source: Daily Mirror