Answering to allegations that American Idol's judges treated Jonathan Jayne, a Special Olympics athlete, poorly during his Seattle audition, The Special Olympics Committee has come forward with a positive spin on the situation.
Special Olympics International released a public statement Sunday and published it in Monday's The Washington Post.
"American Idol should be commended for providing Jayne with the same opportunity to succeed as any other contestant. Whether on the stage of American Idol or on the field of competition for Special Olympics, people with intellectual disabilities don't want pity or special treatment. They want to be judged for who they are and appreciated for what they can achieve."
"While polite isn't a word one would normally associate with Cowell and company, a viewing of the episode in question shows that the judges were in fact gracious and very encouraging to Jayne during his rendition of 'God Bless America.' " They also mentioned Paula's encouraging words of, "Always believe in yourself".
Simon also spoke his mind regarding the controversy that judges are much harsher on contestants this year.
He told the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, "To suggest that because somebody has done something like [Special Olympics] they shouldn't be allowed to enter the competition smacks to me of censorship, to be honest with you."
"I don't think that we should be censors on the type of people. And what we're trying to be, I think, on the show, more than anything else, is representative. A lot of the bad singers you are seeing -- trust me -- there are thousands that didn't make it through. And I think if you asked any of those thousands who didn't make it through, every one of them would say, 'I wish I had the chance.'"
Simon has also been quoted in Monday's USA Today. He says that they warn contestants beforehand of the flack they will get if they aren't good.
"We tell them that they're going to get a hard time if they're not very good. No one leaves the room."
He added that the people who are the most emotionally distraught after being turned down "are simply not shown. Most of the people we show, we feel that they can cope with whatever is going to happen."
On the flip side, Simon also said that the contestants that don't make it don't always 'lose'.
"They've become celebrities. They wouldn't have changed anything."
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