Former American Idol contestant says they’re “whored out”

There’s been backlash about the current crop of American Idol contestants lacking talent, and former contestant Kimberly Locke has put her two cents in.  She told Out magazine that she doesn’t like that most of the current contestants play an instrument, saying: “The other night, on the show, I think everybody except for two people, maybe, played the guitar. I don’t play an instrument. I love people who play instruments — I think it’s great — but American Idol is a singing competition and I think it distracts and it takes away. I think some of them are better musicians than they are singers… they just need to get back to the basics of singing.” She also said she hated filming the cutesy Ford commercials that air on results night: “One of the things I didn’t like about Idol was the Ford commercials. It was like, ‘Come on.’ For a lack of a better word they would whore us out, we did all these commercials for free, they got to use our image and our names. But the thing that upset me the most about it is that it took up so much time in our day. We were already exhausted running around doing press, people pulling us in a thousand directions, now we’ve go to do Coke and Ford and all these different spots for the sponsors. Those things would take, like, an entire day. Some nights we wouldn’t get finished from doing just that until midnight. It’s like, ‘Really?’ And then they’re like, ‘Practice your song in your sleep.’ I was like, ‘Really? Come on.’ So, the Ford commercials were kind of annoying.”

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Amy • May 13, 2010 @ 8:17 AM

    I love those Ford commercials! They always look like a ton of fun and the contestants are always smiling and laughing when they watch them back. Plus, it’s more experience for them – they get to not only sing during this competition, but they get to try their hand at a little acting thanks to the commercials. And I think this year’s group is amazing. The top 10 all deserved to be there. There’ve been several who could’ve won, if it wasn’t that there are so many good competitors to beat.

  2. Angie • May 13, 2010 @ 9:48 AM

    I don’t think anyone who has made American Idol should complain about doing the Ford commercials. Ford pays a lot of money as a proud sponsor and also donates a lot of money to Idol Gives Back. American Idol is doing all of the contestants a favor of a chance to get noticed by someone who may help them produce recordings some day. So the more that is seen of them the better. If anything maybe they should use the commercials more than once.

  3. L1feless • May 13, 2010 @ 10:17 AM

    Who is that again? Oh well…

  4. Jon Luis • May 13, 2010 @ 12:55 PM

    Sore Loser !

    At least the other contestants sing on key.

  5. Ken • May 13, 2010 @ 1:44 PM

    Another disgruntled loser, I doubt she’ll be back next year. I agree that Ford is a great sponsor and they do expect some return on their money. So they have to do a commercial every week, if they make it to the end, the last two get a free vehicle and that’s something to work for.

  6. Julie • May 13, 2010 @ 1:46 PM

    Sour grapes

  7. Lind • May 13, 2010 @ 1:47 PM

    Yeahhh Angie. Who does Kimberly think was paying her way. She was being paid. She did not do it for free.

  8. mandee • May 13, 2010 @ 2:03 PM

    ken, i loved the car that chris and adam got last year, my fave colour 😀

    on the article, really its just a commerical. suck it up.

  9. J.B. • May 13, 2010 @ 3:33 PM

    Unfortunately, that’s what the “reality” tv industry is all about. If you have a problem with the way AI (I don’t watch it myself) does things, then why do something you don’t want to? If you can sing, build your own career, if not, go look somewhere else. There’s no need to insult people that are doing things that you wouldn’t have the guts to do. The #1 human fear is public speaking/performing in front of people.

  10. S • May 13, 2010 @ 4:32 PM

    Really? Like, Really?

    Try being grateful. Where would you be without Idol?

  11. Nick • May 13, 2010 @ 4:43 PM

    I totally agree with everything she said. How much better could these performances be if they weren’t doing those damn commercials?

  12. Tony • May 13, 2010 @ 4:48 PM

    WELCOME TO SHOW BUSINESS KIM. Seems like you don’t have what it takes. Stop Complaining.

  13. Lisa • May 13, 2010 @ 5:08 PM

    I actually agree with Kim on some things. Look – she’s an opinionated person. That’s not news. Prior to auditioning for American Idol she was in law school, so she has a propensity for argument. Just because Idol paved the way for her career doesn’t mean she has to love everything about it, or pretend to love it when people ask.

    Fact is that Idol does work these kids to death – at least they used to prior to season 8 when they cut back on the number of performances and allowed them to lip sync group numbers. But both David Cook and David Archuleta had 20 separate performances in their season, and I’m not sure that even counts finale night group numbers. They also had to film the Ford commercials, which does eat up a whole day. On top of that any contestant under the age of 18 had to go to school for half the day.

    Idol signs these kids into deals that pretty much make them the property of 19 Entertainment for over a year. Kim isn’t saying that she’s not grateful for what Idol has given to her; she’s saying that it’s a workhorse program that uses the contestants. There’s nothing false about that statement.

    As for the instruments – I get where she’s coming from. I’d rather it be a singing competition, too, because at least then we wouldn’t have to suffer the pain of off-pitch singers like we do this season. I don’t care if so-and-so can re-arrange a pop song like nobody’s business, or if he can play guitar like Santana, if he can’t hit the notes when singing his song, I don’t want to hear him.

  14. ella • May 13, 2010 @ 5:10 PM

    I totally agree with whatever Kimberly Locke said!!! American Idol sucks! The voters have poor musical taste, look at this BORING, STIFF, CAN’T-sing-in-tune contestants they picked. If there is a way to vote off the voters, I’ll do it in a heartbeat.

  15. mitsu • May 13, 2010 @ 5:17 PM

    i completely agree with lisa

  16. Kay • May 13, 2010 @ 5:45 PM

    She probably is right, but without American Idol, would we know her name? I doubt it.

  17. Kevin • May 13, 2010 @ 6:25 PM

    For is a big sponsor of AI. And all that stuff about doing things you don’t want to do, maybe read the fine print in the contract. AI ROCKS!!!

  18. Jackie • May 13, 2010 @ 11:48 PM

    Oh please, the ford commericals were like a music video in training for them. If they were to make it. So the directors wouldn’t be screaming at them for not looking good in front of the camera. Which I’m sure would take a whole day.

    As for the rest of it. It kind of does, but they agreed to it. So they should brace for it. For the musical intruments…it would help them with there albums if they could play.

  19. Christine • May 14, 2010 @ 12:07 AM

    Kimberly, 1. AI has been on the air for many years now. Ford has had the contestants do these commercials every year. It should be no surprise they would have you do it this year too. 2. When you “won” your spot on the show, you also signed a contract. That contract states everything that is expected of you while you are associated with AI. There’s no doubt that these commercials are mentioned in there. 3. It’s called hard work. It’s how the majority of successful singers and musicians (and as for the people you claim are more musicians than singers – people who are not one-trick ponies tend to have more staying power. One-trick ponies also tend to be one-hit wonders) become successful. Therefore there is no excuse for your complaints. You knew what would be expected of you. And by the way, knocking the idea of working hard to be successful and biting the hand that feeds you (Ford and Coke) tends to be frowned on in the music industry. I think it’s safe to say, Kimberly, that you can expect the recording industry to take notice of the fact that you are complaining, but to totally ignore your complaints. It is completely unprofessional of you to be complaining like this. Expect the music industry to not just ignore your complaints, but to ignore you as well.

  20. ke • May 14, 2010 @ 3:36 AM

    I agree with Angie. I myself find the Ford commercials kind of lame so in that respect I agree with Kim but I don’t think she’s in the position to complain. Ford is a big reason why they have a show at all. That’s the least they can do…and I didn’t like when she said that they ‘whored’ them out because they got to use their image and names, I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but she HAD no image and NO name. Not that being a ‘regular person’ is wrong but she wasn’t a ‘brand’ or a ‘name’ yet. People were only getting to know her. Its definitely time they could be using to practice but there’s always a catch and I don’t think doing a Ford commercial is the worst thing.

  21. ke • May 14, 2010 @ 3:37 AM

    Oh and I hope Lee Dewyze WINS!

  22. TEDDYSBEAR • May 14, 2010 @ 8:28 AM

    I think from what I see the IDOLS are beat and that is why they get sick – the Ford commercials are fun and maybe should be done after IDOL is over instead of taking up valuable practise time. Remember Ford does pay a lot of money so ya all can be there and also give 2 cars away to final 2 contestants.

  23. F Dupuis • May 14, 2010 @ 11:10 AM

    I agree with K. Locke re ford commercials. I just fast forward on pvr.
    The whole show has lost its zip, we do know that not the best singer wins. That was proven with Adam Lambert. There will never be anyone like him, ever!!!!

  24. Mokoosh • May 14, 2010 @ 11:52 AM

    Wow. So she was going to law school before? Based on this bit:

    It was like, Come on. … Its like, Really? And then theyre like, Practice your song in your sleep. I was like, Really? Come on.

    Can you imagine being in court and listening to that?! “So the defendant was like “hey”, and the claimant was like “what’s up?” and so they like got into a fight and like the one guy beat the other guy up and like …”

    Wow. Maybe she should learn to speak proper English first before making commentary. As for American Idol – I stopped watching that many years ago. It only managed to keep my attention for the first 2 years or so but after that it just became same-old, same-old. ~yawn~

  25. cheerianna • May 14, 2010 @ 12:02 PM

    If they are not getting paid for the commercials, that should be illegal.

  26. quinn • May 14, 2010 @ 5:05 PM

    Tell it like it is. I’m sure they try to get away with as much as they can. I also hear the contract they sign goes on for pages and pages and pages. And not everyone will comb through with a fine tooth comb. Things get missed.

  27. tributegirl • May 16, 2010 @ 12:57 PM

    She new that was part of the deal before she signed on, so I say suck it up.

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