For ‘American Idol’ Judges, Honesty Isn’t Always the Best Policy

An Ex-judge Says He Sometimes Lied to Contestants

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For ‘American Idol’ Judges, Honesty Isn’t Always the Best Policy
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(Paula Abdul)

As if "American Idol" needs any more controversy, now comes the news that the judges may not have always been honest. Well, at least one of them.

In a recent interview with radio shock jock Howard Stern, former "Idol" judge Steven Tyler revealed that he wasn't always truthful when it came to putting contestants through to the next round.

"The format was supposed to be 'Take the (expletive) out of people, so it's good TV,'" he said. "And I was gentle because I couldn't imagine telling some girl she sucks and she can't sing, so then for the rest of her life she's not singing."

Of course, we always knew there was something a little fishy with the judging.

"American Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine slammed last season's judges for their blatant coddling early in the season. "Some of the singers sang really well and some did not," Jimmy said after the Top 9 performance show. "But it seemed like the judges were complimentary across the board. I really don't understand what's going on…You can't coddle people."

Ex-judge Ellen DeGeneres never had it in her to be a mean girl, so it's no wonder brutally honest critiques never came from her during her one-year stint on the show. In 2011 she revealed to Parade: "I don't like to make fun of people. It's a form of bullying. I've been the butt of jokes before -- a punch line -- and that just gave me more fuel to say I will never do it."

Who can forget Season 7's "Paula Gate," when original judge Paula Abdul was caught critiquing contestant Jason Castro's second performance of the night -- before he even sang it! Paula's bizarre explanation ("I thought you sang twice!" she told the confused singer, before adding that she was mistakenly looking at her notes for fellow contestant David Cook ) screamed phony, but host Ryan Seacrest took the heat off of Abdul by saying, "You're seeing the future, Paula!" Check out Paula's critique confusion here.

And then there was that whole Mariah Carey lip synching scandal. On a show that's supposed to be all about singing live, the divalicous judge's finale night performance simply didn't ring true. Many viewers cried foul and accused Carey of lip synching her greatest hits medley on the Season 12 finale, but the singer's rep told Entertainment Tonight she did not lip synch.

As for honesty on the judges' panel, one former judge vowed to be truthful, even if it meant facing the wrath of "Idol" fans. Nicki Minaj told MSN Entertainment, "There were moments in the audition process that I would say to the producers, 'I can't do this anymore because if everyone is going to give good criticism and I'm going to be the only one being honest then America is going to hate me. I'm going to be seen as mean.' And the producers said, 'Nicki, trust me, America is going to appreciate the honesty.'"

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