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American Idol Fan Too Fat for Front Row Seat for Filming

Ashley Kauffman says she was banished to the back of the audience for being overweight.

UPDATE [4/13/11]: According to FremantleMedia, the company that produces the American Idol, Ms. Kauffman’s claims are untrue. “Kauffman’s  party agreed to be split up, and contrary to her allegations, she did not sit alone or in the back of the house,” they said in a statement released to CNN. “In fact, she and her remaining party were seated just four rows behind their friends, directly in camera shot, in some of the best seats in the house.”

Original Story:

Although American Idol is based on singing ability and talent, contestants ”looks” definitely play a role. Simon may not be a judge on the show this year, but in seasons pasts he’d repeatedly say that certain contestants had a very marketable look (read: attractive on TV), while others, despite having singing talent, didn’t, and therefore weren’t able to make the cut. But riddle me this- what do audience members have to do with it?

According to a recent report on, one 19-year-old fan was moved from her front-row spot in the audience with her friends to a back seat away from cameras during the live taping of an American Idol episode because of her size. She told the website, “I was kind of taken aback. I’m not that big, but I understand I was bigger than the girls I was with. But I was like, ‘Wow, way to hit a low blow.’” So far, American Idol has not responded to the claims.

Granted, a number of contestants, and winners, of American Idol have been heavy, overweight or didn’t have looks worthy of model, so, obviously you don’t have to be pretty and at a certain size to be on the show. But if this report is true and American Idol is limiting its audience members according to size, that’s not going to go over well. With obesity at new levels, discriminating against fans based on size could hurt this show’s popularity and reputation. Not to mention that in many ways it goes against so much of what the show is about — giving the everyday, average person an opportunity. Whether that’s on the stage or in the audience, the show should stay true to that mission and equal access for all.

Also Read:

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Randy Jackson’s Diabetes Awareness Campaign

April 12th, 2011

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(Page 1 of 1, 7 total comments)


Miss Kaufmann has nothing to feel badly about. I don't really doubt this is true, because of the superficial nature of our culture, and the apparent terrible way our culture now treats people who aren't stick thin. As a thin person myself, I cannot understand it. Who cares! Ashley Kaufmann is gorgeous, and her body is also beautiful! She looks like a WOMAN, curves and all.
If they moved her due to size, that would be highly insulting, and as a viewer, I would be insulted as well. I usually don't feel this way, but compensation would not be ridiculous in this case, because it would be embarrassing, and it would hurt your feelings, or at least, it would hurt mine.
Don't let it change you Ashley. You are very beautiful. It's just our culture. In past eras, men would fight like dogs over you, and women would envy your femininity.

posted Jun 1st, 2011 7:06 pm


Adrian R.....yes, fat. Judging from the size of her arm, she is off the BMI chart for her age / height.

posted Jun 1st, 2011 12:52 am

Adrian R

Fat! Not even close! If she is considered fat then we need to really pray for wehre this whole image thing is taking us.

posted Apr 13th, 2011 10:49 am


To those asking. The PA's who relocated the young lady's seat would never tell her it is because of her weight, in fact they likely wouldn't give a reason just tell her something like "you, come back here" and that will be the end of that. I have been on both ends, so while it IS speculative, it seems awfully fishy to me. I am a woman with curves. Im certainly not obese, but I am not Hollywood thin, and I attended a taping of [redacted] where the tickets state in bold lettering "FIRST COME FIRST SERVE SEATING" meaning those in the front of the line get better seats. I was 5th in line and I was surrounded by thinner women. We were all dressed alike, no logos or stripes, my hair and makeup was done, the only difference I could see was my curves. When it was time to be seated the 4 girls in front of me were sat in the front row of the show, then I was taken all the way to the back side where it was so dark I could barely even see a chair there. I was confused because there were plenty of other chairs open. Then the girls behind me were sat next to the girls in front of me. Huh, weird. They continued to fill the rows in front, but then one person would be sent to sit next to me. He was a severely overweight man. By the time the audience was filled, my row was filled with overweight people. We were designated the fat section. when i watched the show back on TV i realized it was blind spot for all 3 cameras.

I have also worked as a PA on several live audience shows including shows like AI and when I was responsible for audience, I was told to move anybody breaking the dress code to the blind spots, and then when everybody is in, and we see what we are working with we were told to "fine tune" which meant move unattractive or overweight people to different spots. We were also told to watch the excitement levels because on camera everybody should look excited and it really stands out if one person is not excited, so if that was the case with this girl they shouldnt have moved her they should have told her "okay, this section is going to be on camera a LOT so don't stop the excitement!" they never should have moved her away from her friends. I have no doubt that the reason she was moved is because she stuck out like an overweight girl does around skinny friends.

posted Apr 12th, 2011 7:35 pm

Todd Love

This is my friends daughter. She was told she was "too big" and "too heavy" to be in the front row with her friends. American Idol owes her an apology.

posted Apr 12th, 2011 5:39 pm


how do we know it's because of her size?

posted Apr 12th, 2011 1:43 pm


So, this article doesn't directly state this, but was this girl told explicitly that she was being moved because she was overweight? Or is that what she imagines their motives were? I'm asking because if she wasn't told directly that she was too heavy to be in the front row (which is a horrible thing to say/do to someone), then this story is a bit irresponsible by inferring that the Idol people were discriminating. In other words, I can't tell if you're overreacting and speculating or if this is indeed discriminatory. So, do a little more research and try again please.

posted Apr 12th, 2011 1:10 pm


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