'American Idol' runner-up says she's 'happy' the show stopped airing 'really bad' auditions

'American Idol' runner-up says she's 'happy' the show stopped airing 'really bad' auditions
Jessica Sanchez competed on season 11 of "American Idol."Danny Moloshok/Reuters
  • "American Idol" premiered on Fox 20 years ago, promising to discover America's next pop star.
  • Two "American Idol" finalists told Insider they're glad the show stopped airing "bad" auditions.

From wild costumes to pitchy vocal performances, some of the most viral moments in "American Idol" history come from "really bad" auditions.

Speaking to season-11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez ahead of the show's 20th anniversary, she said she understands the cringeworthy clips "get the attention" of viewers. But, she said, she ultimately finds the mocking tone too "mean."

"It's tough because I can tell that a lot of these people are really bad, like some of them are just really bad and they just don't know it," Sanchez said. "And some of them are really bad and they just want to be on TV."

The finalist added that a lot of great "Idol" contestants put their "blood, sweat, and tears" into their music and deserve to be shown in place of people chasing reality-TV fame.

"If you're going to have airtime, you should be pushing people that are really serious about music and that have really been dedicating their lives to it," she told Insider.


Multiple former contestants told Insider that auditonees actually go through several screening rounds in front of producers before performing for the star-studded panel of judges. Iconic season-three auditionee William Hung told Insider he went through two preliminary auditions before he was cleared to sing Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" in front of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul.

"I'm happy that they have done less of that," Sanchez told Insider, referring to the shift toward airing more successful, promising auditions on recent seasons.

Another runner-up told Insider the practice of airing 'shock value' auditions doesn't sit right with her

'American Idol' runner-up says she's 'happy' the show stopped airing 'really bad' auditions
Crystal Bowersox competed on season nine of "American Idol."Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Crystal Bowersox, the runner-up from season nine, said the producers purposefully sent some people forward "knowing that they were just simply going to make fun of them and crush their dreams and send them home."

Looking back, she said she's happy that "Idol" has moved away from ridiculing performers for the sake of "shock value."

"It's bullying, and I'm glad that they don't do that anymore," Bowersox told Insider.


Representatives for Fox and ABC did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.