Effeminate men have a lock on the 'American Idol' audition process, at least that's the way it seems from watching the show.
It would appear that every other man who takes the stage is sexually ambiguous. Is that just the luck of the draw or have producers intentionally set their sights on easy prey for judge Simon Cowell and company?
Simon has been widely criticized-- as a result of a TMZ article last week-- that chronicled a pattern of derisive, anti-gay comments. But the fact is, what Simon says doesn't automatically hit the air waves.
"It's easy enough for producers to take it (the offensive comments) out," says veteran TV producer Stu Billett. The initial audition shows, Billett notes, are not live and heavily edited.
Even if the producers like the fact that Simon tells one contestant to "shave off your beard and wear a dress" or bluntly questions the gender of another contestant, there's another critical layer before the comment makes air. "FOX looks at the show before it airs," Billett says. "It would be very easy for FOX to tell producers to take it out," he adds, "but they didn't." Quite the opposite, FOX has showcased some of Simon's outrageous comments in its promos for the show. It would seem, FOX has made a calculated decision that offensive comments about gender and sexual-orientation are low risk.
"Even if there are gay-rights groups telling people not to watch the show," says psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser, "people are still going to watch because they think it's entertaining." And watch they do. The fifth season premiere drew a record-breaking 35.5 million viewers.