Ken Warwick, Paula Abdul
American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick has responded to Paula Abdul's recent comments and, in turn, the tragedy which recently befell a fan of Abdul's, stressing that he never would knowingly put a dangerous person in front of the judges.
Detailing the process by which wannabes are surveyed as they enter the early audition rounds, Warwick told reporters in a Monday conference call, "It's always been that if someone looked like they were a bit dangerous or led us to believe they weren't as sensible as they should be, they would never get as far as the judges."
Responding to claims Abdul made last week — she told Good Morning America that Idol producers knew a stalker of hers had been waved on to try out for the judging panel — Warwick rebuffed the attack, saying, "I would not put a dangerous person or a person I thought was even remotely dangerous in front of the judges for the simple reason that you wouldn't [want to] contaminate the show by taking that risk. You just wouldn't do it."
Paula Goodspeed, a Season 5 auditioner, allegedly stalked Abdul for several years before and after her Idol try-out, and ultimately took her life on Nov. 11, outside Abdul's Los Angeles home.
Asked to assay any measures the Fox juggernaut might take to avoid another such unfortunate situation, Warwick noted that the upcoming season's auditions were held long before Goodspeed died. As for the next cycle, he said it's too soon to ponder any countermeasures. "The truth of the matter is we have a mandate to see absolutely everybody. If 103,00 people turn up to audition, we see 103,000 people," he said. "I don't know how, other than give everyone a psych test before they walk through those doors [to face the judges], we can possibly know [if a singer is unstable]. All we do is the best we possibly can."
"I can absolutely put my hand on my heart and say I didn't know," he continued. "Now, she may have mentioned it to, maybe, a security man or a junior producer [but] she certainly didn't mention it to me. She certainly didn't mention it to anybody who has the clout to say, 'OK, we don't let that person in.'"
Bristling at the aspersion being cast, Warwick said, "If the inference is that I would put someone in there because it would be good television ... anyone who knows any of the shows I've made over the past 20 years would know I would not do that."
Has this recent bout of "Paulagate" soured Idol producers on its most unpredictable judge? Was Kara DioGuardi added to the panel this season in preparation for Abdul's exit .. or ouster? Warwick unequivocally vouched for Abdul's status with the show now and moving forward, saying, "There's never been any discussion that we would want to get rid of Paula — even if there were people in production that didn't like her. [Her job is] not in any jeopardy. America loves Paula. She's an integral part of this program, and as far as I'm concerned, I hope she's there 'til the day it comes off the air."
After all, he good-naturedly pointed out, "She keeps Simon well under control, so she's worth her weight in gold in that area alone!"