Tony Bennett says American Idol is 'too cruel'

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted May 11th 2007 12:42PM
Tony BennettSeveral of American Idol's disgruntled ex-contestants, including Jennifer Hudson and most recently, Paris Bennett, have slammed the reality show in the press. But as far as I can recall, 80-year-old crooner Tony Bennett is the first celebrity mentor to publicly criticize the mighty Idol.

Bennett reportedly called the show "too cruel" in an interview with Time Out London. Bennett, who coached this season's hopefuls during the first week of April, said, "I had it out with Simon when I met him and suggested that he should open up tiny clubs across the countries so the kids could break in and learn properly."

According to Bennett, Simon blew off this suggestion, and said, "Oh I haven't got time for that, I'm too busy making money."

Hmmm, I wonder if this little "disagreement" had any impact on Tony Bennett's decision NOT to perform on the April 4th results show. As you may recall, Michael Buble filled in at the last minute for a supposedly-ailing Bennett. Was Tony truly sick -- or just sick of Simon and American Idol?

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Lisa

My first season to watch Idol and it may be my last.

If Tony's quote is correct that American Idol is "too cruel," I'm in his camp--- I'll follow Tony. He's a class-act.

How can the creators of Idol create a parade of cruelty to line up a segment of society who've been born with mental slowness, or some form of mental illness, and make an award ceremony? An award ceremony? Can anyone say, "Discrimination?" I'm sure these people had to sign something to protect Idol, but did they really understand? Sure someone probably half-assed explained, but did they really understand? I think not.

To poke fun and tell that award recipient that he resembles a monkey....then illuminate a massive screen behind him with a photo of a monkey?? CRUEL. Hey, does Jordin look like a monkey? Or some other creature to compare? I'm sure she does, right? Why not shine an ugly creature on that screen too, before her grand title? No, she doesn't look like a monkey, she's beautiful, but how can the American Idol bigwigs be so cruel? Kicking mentally challenged people to the curb for ratings and dollars....heartless!!!!

May 24 2007 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ginny

Tony is a very kind hearted man and I could have told him........ American Idol was not a good match for him.

"Tony" Sonoma County is! and we are looking forward to having you Here.

Ginny Medeiros

May 24 2007 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Betty Pinkston

I THINK TONY BENNET HAD A RIGHT TO SAY WHAT HE SAID ABOUT SIMON. HE IS ONE OF THE MOST INHUMANE PEOPLE I HAVE EVER SEEN AND IF I WERE ONE APPEARING ON AMERICAN IDOL I WOULD TRY TO IGNORE HIM. HE IS A SMART ALEC AND A BIG SHOW-OFF AND SHOULD NOT BE IN THE POSITION HE IS IN BECAUSE HE WOULD BE AN EMBARASSMENT TO ME AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.. A LOUD MOUTH LIKE SIMON WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO IGNORE AND I AM SURE, JUST FROM WATCHING SEVERAL OF THE PRESENTATIONS ON AMERICAN IDOL, I DON'T THINK I WOULD WANT TO EVEN APPEAR BECAUSE OF HIM.

SIMON IS TOO CRITICAL AND I KNOW AND HAVE WITNESSED HIM HURTING THE PERFORMERS FEELINGS.

YOU GUESSED IT, I DO NOT CARE FOR HIM AND I THINK HE SHOULD BE TAUGHT SOME MANNERS AND BAR HIM FROM THE SHOW.

May 16 2007 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie

Why can't people take a person's comments at face value, instead of inferring all of this evil, malicious intent? Tony Bennett IS a class act: He was classy in his heyday, and then went on to revive his career by a) keeping his vocal chops up, unlike others of his era and genre (Sinatra, for one, who was a shadow of his former self
at the end of his career), and b) by shrewdly pairing himself with young, hip singers. Amazing. I think he's fabulous.

A person like Bennett could come on AI in good faith wanting to have input with these young singers, and then have honest criticism, without others implying that he is simply using Idol to stoke his own career. Tony Bennett surely does not need AI to advance his career, the man is a proven performer in more ways than one.

However, I do like his idea for Simon to open small venues around the country to give these up-and-comers opportunities to develop their talent in preparation for the AI big stage, although I suppose if they're that driven to succeed, they will find (or make) the opportunities to hone their craft.

Simon's response about making money, though, if accurately reported, distresses me. I do think for all his pomp and arrogance that the man seems to really appreciate others who are honest, transparent and self-effacing, even if he himself is not. And he seems to have true compassion (witness the fact that it was reported recently he gave money to the effort to find the little kidnapped girl who went missing in Portugal.)

I happen to think that yes, Simon can be unnecessarily cruel at times, but his comments are often dead-on, too, where Randy and Paula lean more toward the positive encouragement. It's a good balance for Simon's
harshness, but sometimes they work so hard to be positive that they do not say what needs to be said to help the contestant improve. But then everyone knows the three judges are a proven formula who (most of the time) balance each other in their judging styles.

May 16 2007 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DigPicPhoto

Photos ot Tony can be seen at:
http://www.DigPicPhoto.com/TonyBennett.htm

May 15 2007 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angelia

In todays world, kids have been given everything without any questions. LIFE IS TOUGH So suck it up! Do you think you are going to get through life without getting bitched at? YOU are in for a fall. Simon has the balls to be honest. He cannot help it all the kids here expect a free ride. Thank GOD I raised my kids to know you do not always get what you want!

May 14 2007 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aficionado

Sorry to be off topic, I just thought maybe you guys would be
interested, You can win 2 TICKETs the the AMERICAN IDOL FINALS with air
and hotel.
http://www.king.com/americanidol/

May 13 2007 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beth

Oh come on people...
American Idol is supposed to be this way..that's why everyone watches...
if Tony doesnt like the format, he shouldnt be on the show..
and yah, the guy is 80 and has had an incredible career, but it wasn't cool to just not show up the night of performance.
Simon is Simon..and his comments are always controversial, but if he wasn't there , would people still tune in? I think not

All the naysayers out there can say what they want...the show is an American Icon in television ...but no one 'makes' you watch it...it's free will...

stop the criticism...celebrities and audience alike, if you dont like the show or what it represents, watch something else..but stop complaining ...no one is making you watch

May 12 2007 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

Bennett seems to be playing on the viewers sympathies. He's a man who has been in the business for quite some time. He of all people should know that in the real world, the entertainment business, particularly the music industry, is far more crueler than any snide remarks Simon makes on AI.

May 12 2007 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dn1234

Joseph, dude here's a buck, go buy yourself some punctuation and some WD-40 to unstick your capslock key :-).
I agree with Clint's comments, Tony should have known what he was getting into, the same as any contestant who goes on that show. All the other avenues to break into the music biz are still there, so anyone who can't take the heat can explore those other options. If AI turned kinder and gentler, it would go the way of Star Search or any of the other crappy contest shows and people would stop watching.

May 11 2007 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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