No Auto-Tuning here, say 'American Idol' producers

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[August 27, 2010]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Simon Cowell has gone from "American Idol" judge to a potential headache for the show.

A furor over whether Cowell's British talent show "The X Factor" electronically altered contestant voices has prompted "American Idol" to make a pre-emptive strike.

"We have never, nor would we ever, use Auto-Tuning during the 'American Idol' competition," producers of the Fox show said in a statement Thursday, referring to pitch-correcting technology.

"American Idol" viewers can attest that contestants have been regularly scolded for "pitchiness."

The producers' statement, issued in response to a query, didn't address a key "American Idol" issue: the replacements for Cowell and another departing judge, Ellen DeGeneres. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the reported front-runners for the judge's panel, which begins its work sometime after Labor Day.

Cowell left the top-rated series at the end of last season and is bringing "The X Factor," which he created in Britain and is hugely popular there, to the Fox network in 2011.

Fans of "The X Factor" have alleged online that pitch-correction software was used to alter some performances. The show's producers responded to the outcry by acknowledging that post-production was used to correct for the interplay of the various microphones used during filming.

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The producers vowed to avoid the use of electronic pitch correction.

British media outlets have made hay of the issue, with Cowell a particular target. His photo was featured on the front of Britain's Daily Mirror on Monday, under the caption: "X Faker."

"American Idol" returns in January.


Fox is a unit of News Corp.



[Associated Press; By LYNN ELBER]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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