Colorful Controversy Hits ‘Idol' Once Again
January 24, 2006

"American Idol" is under fire again! The reality show phenomenon is making headlines around the world as GLADD -- the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation -- accuses "Idol" of defamation.

The attacks against "Idol" come after an unforgettable audition by 18-year-old Zachary in Denver. A very feminine Zachary told the judges, "People confuse me for a girl all the time, which I think is funny, and I laugh my butt off."

The remark had Simon, Paula and Randy looking to each other for answers, so they curiously inquired, "Wait… Are you a girl?"

In a written statement, GLAAD said: "The real offense here was in the producer's decision to add insult to injury by turning a contestant's gender expression into the butt of a joke."

Zach fumed after his dismissal, lashing out, "'American Idol' fits America, and America is prejudice and racist."

But Simon told "Extra" his genuine confusion was not a joking matter. "I didn't know what he was to be quite honest with you," Cowell said. "Nothing surprises me anymore."

Many believe Simon Cowell has turned the mean meter way up this year. But Simon said he's the same old guy. "It's the way the show has been edited because I was actually very nice this year," he claimed.

However, the king of cruel did drop one bombshell, admitting that he may have crossed the line with one particular contestant when he asked, "Do we have a bigger stage this year?" "I must admit," Simon told us. "On that one, I did feel bad. I was just in a bad mood."

The high pitch and high drama continue every Tuesday night on FOX!

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