John Rich: ''American Idol' infuriates me'

Country music star John Rich, of Big & Rich, attacked American Idol at a press conference this morning. “American Idol infuriates me as an artist,” Rich said at NBC’s “All American Summer” Press Day in Pasadena, where Rich was stumping for his talent competition show, Nashville Star (which is moving to NBC after five seasons on USA). “You can tell when somebody’s comment was scripted. You can tell when a [competing] artist was told to wear this and sing that. That’s not going to happen in [Nashville Star].” Rich, who will function as a judge and mentor on Nashville Star, as well as produce the album of the NS winner, said he was especially upset when Paula Abdul commented Tuesday night on Jason Castro’s second song before the dreadlocked contestant had actually sung it. “Why don’t you just walk up on stage and slap them right across the face while you’re at it?” Rich said. “It’s not a problem of [a judge] being tough on somebody. You’ve got to be tough on people and be honest with them. But you’ve got to respect these people. This is their entire life hanging by a thread….I’m sure [Paula] is a fine lady, but I thought that was a very, very disrespectful thing.”

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  • kimconmom

    Thanks you, Mr. Rich for defending what happened to Jason this week and calling them on it. For the record, there has never been a formal apology given to Jason. At the moment, he’s being chewed up and spit out by the big AI machine, in hopes of their dream “David’s” finale. I hope, and pray, that he comes out of this debacle relatively unscathed and has a wonderful career ahead of him!

  • Suzie H

    Finally, someone is pulling the focus of this travesty back on the person most affected. Paula might have given away what many have suspected all along – that Idol is completely slanted towards the contestants they rather than America want to win – but she did even worst by Jason Castro. The boy had to perform in front of millions knowing he would be criticized regardless of how well or not he did.
    And never a word of apology to him from Paula or the Idol producers. Shame on AI! Count me as a viewer who won’t be tuning in once Mr. Castro is gone.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for coming out and saying what all us dreadheads believe

  • dashing4

    Thank you!! The most disrespectful part was their lame cover-up. Paula stated ” OMG, I thought you sang twice!” Her comments weren’t didn’t make sense for David Cook. Once Jason is gone, I’m gone too. I seriously hope that Nigel’s stupid dance show tanks as well as the future of American Idol.

  • dewey

    The important passages being, “where Rich was stumping for his talent competition show, Nashville Star.”
    He’s trying to get people to watch his show (which has what, 1/10 the ratings of AI?) by taking them on in a supposed grudge match. This is the style of professional wrestling. Talk about staged!

  • Rhonda

    Thank you for expressing publicly what so many of have been saying. American Idol should be ashamed for trying to sweep this situation under the rug with nary a backward glance at those that were hurt. Yes, an apology from Paula (and AI in general)is definitely warranted here. In addition, Simon and Randy should be reprimanded for the nasty comments they have made about Jason Castro during recent interviews. Their role on this show should be to guide and help these young people, not to break them down and speak unfavorably about them to the press. Jason has shown them nothing but respect throughout this whole process. It shows poor class on their part to participate in a smear campaign against this fine young man. I have lost all respect for the producers of this show for allowing (and encouraging) such reprehensible behavior.

  • sam

    Thank you, Mr. Rich for having the guts to step up to the plate and giving the truth on this whole mess. The “powers” at AI and Paula herself should have the same guts and publicly apologize to Jason. They are all sure “at the ready” to slam him every chance they get and in public forums. This show has been going down the tubes for awhile now and I think I can find better ways to occupy my time next season. I will give AI this much credit, though, they have helped launch a kid that will have an amazing career. Come on, Jason, we’re waiting on your forthcoming CD!!


    I agree with John 100%. The producers & judges at AI are not interested in anything except themselves. They are disrespectful of contestants and think that American are fools. America is not falling for their pranks and tricks. If they want to pick they winner, why ask America to vote??
    Thank you John Rich for being an honest and upright man!

  • Carrie

    It is about time that SOMEONE pointed out how rediculous that was. Thank you for having good sense!!

  • Carrie

    It is about time that SOMEONE pointed out how rediculous that was. Thank you for having good sense!!

  • Lisa

    Thank-you, Mr. Rich. I also found it odd that there was no apology made to Jason, considering the judges in the past have apologized even if they looked back at a recording of the show and realize they’ve been too harsh on someone. They were not only overly harsh, but they likely seriously damaged his chances of being confident for the performance. That alone deserved an apology.

  • jayeb

    Thank You Mr Rich, and he didn’t get a public apology either, fox is trying to sweep it under the rug and continue to berate him on national television…. I am a Jason Castro fan from the word go and they are making it really tough on his fans as well…. again thank you from the bottom of my heart….. dh1458

  • Angela

    All I have to say is Thank you! Thank you for shinning the light on the true problem here! Come on AI stop disrespecting the contestants!!

  • paige

    simon cowell was made to apologized in one episode of AI (to brooke, violinist, paula et al). paula should do hers too.

  • ltpj

    Finally someone speaks the truth. AI majorly f*d up and they can’t even respond with a proper comment on the event. All they say is they are aware of the gossip on the internet about Paula and the rumers aren’t true. What rumers? That Paula is completely wasted on pharmies? Or that the show is scripted and the producers have a master plan to get Jason out of the competition? Thanks you M. Rich for calling a spade a spade.

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