Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

‘American Idol’ Suicide: Don’t Blame the Show

paulagoodspeedpic.jpgTuesday evening an obsessive Paul Abdul fan, Paula Goodspeed, committed suicide by drug overdose, in front of the “American Idol” judges’ home.
Goodspeed, who had tried out for the hit reality show before—and was completely panned by Simon, Randy, and Paula–had a history of psychiatric problems. Apparently she even OD’d in front of Paula’s house on another occasion
As soon as I heard the news that Goodspeed was rejected on the show, I knew that there would be an outcry about the show’s involvement in this young woman’s mental issues and subsequent death. And, in Beliefnet’s very own social networking community, member Ricki Lee, wrote about how upset she was at Goodspeed’s death and the role “American Idol’s” judges played in it:


She obviously had no one in her life to help her heal from those hateful remarks and the evil laughter of those judges. No one to say, “Hon, you might not sing, but look how well you draw? Go to school, perfect your talent, and make your mark in the artistic world.”

She even goes as far as to say that the show should be cancelled:

“I say Idol has done enough damage, one dead is enough. Can the show. If you watch it, stop watching. Think about that dead girl. “

From a young age, Goodspeed created life-sized drawings of her “secret crush” Paula. And I while I find that incredibly creepy, I do agree with Ricki Lee that her family should have encouraged her in what was a genuine artistic talent (you can check out the photos in her audition video)–and guided her away from her nails-on-a-chalkboard “singing.”
In an Idol Chatter post I wrote last year, “American Idol and Our Culture of Lies,” I address just that issue. Is it wrong to pursue one’s dreams? Of course not. Is it wrong to lie to our loved ones about whether they are, in fact, talented when it comes to singing, dancing, or anything else–or ignore our friends and family when they are brutally honest with us? Absolutely.
Even Goodspeed herself admitted she shouldn’t have tried out for the competition in this journal entry on her Myspace page, where she wrote: “I made the mistake of trying out for a singing competition before I was ~even~ ready vocally, emotionally and physically.” On her page she also lists her occupation as “bathin in bl~~d of virgin girls.”


“American Idol” is certainly not to blame for Goodspeed’s death. Nor are they to blame for upsetting the thousands of potential contestants they audition each year. Most of these rejected singers need a wake-up call anyway–one that, for the most part, their loved ones aren’t offering. Let’s put some of the blame on them.
And while we’re at it, let’s stop blaming the media, video games, and everyone else for all of the decisions we, and our loved ones, make. A TV show is not to blame for this woman’s death. She is.
American Idol Rewind at

  • Ally

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that she was responsible for her death because she had a history of psychiatric problems.
    I want to know where her family was.
    They acknowledged her obsession and stalking and did nothing.
    The girl obviously had problems.
    If it wasn’t American Idol that led her to kill herself, it would have been something else.
    Perhaps American Idol should start screening people for psychiatric problems before they admit them to the show just to cover themselves.

  • Wizardling

    It’s a real shame about this fragile and obviously disturbed young lady, but IMO kids don’t get told they’re bad at something anywhere near enough. Sorry brats – but not everyone can be a world-class singer. Time to face reality and give something else a go.

  • Greenman

    I am sure there is enough blame to go around but some blame must be put on the sad state of health care. I’m sure if this woman had sought out professional help but how long would she have to wait and how much would she have to pay? This is truly a sad story.

  • William Treny

    It’s sad but true, but there are some unfortunate people who are beyond help. This
    poor woman was obviously quite insane.

  • Sabrina

    American Idol had nothing to do with her mental illness and death. The news reports say she was stalking Abdul for at least six years and had gone to her house a number of time before. It’s too bad there wasn’t some sort of intervention to help her not go down that path of obsession. For someone to claim that American Idol contributed to her death is not looking at the facts that she was mentally ill to begin with. It makes out like every potential pop singer is not all there and that’s just not right. It may not be fair to say that Paula Goodspeed was not responsible, but it is the TRUTH and it’s time people told the truth about psychofans and stalker types. They make normal fans look bad.

  • Your Name

    I agree 100% We are ALL responsible for our actions. I think that other blogger needs to get some perspective.

  • Rickie Lee

    So many say it is not Idol’s fault. Ok. It is sad to see an obviously mentally ill person fall through the cracks, with no advocate to help. I watched her audition. The judges laughed and made ugly comments. No I guess it wasnt their fault, but to say they were less than kind is an understatement. And the young girl Paula was humiliated. The lesson? Always use love. Words do hurt, they can be a cutting as razors. We have time to sort out who was the blame. Sounds to me like there were many people who played a part in this tragedy. Like I said, use love in your communications.

  • Rickie Lee

    You can say what you want. This is all over the news and many people are agreeing with me. She was screened before she saw the judges and was sent in anyway, the producers knowing she had no musical talent, and they just were waiting for Simon to come out with a good one for her. As I said, I am an advocate for the mentally ill. We have time to sort out the blame. You dont blame Idol? fine. I say it is a case of Desertion, Unkindness, and Blindness. The bottom line. Noone cared. The results? A young girl dead on the side of the road. So sorry she gave good fans a bad name. No advocate, noone to care, noone to help. This is a cloud now that hangs over Idol, regardless of where you stand. May she be given some dignity in death. Rickie

  • Dena

    Anyone who tries out for “American Idol” has seen the show and knows what the deal is. If they don’t like you, you’re going to get laughed out of the room. If someone goes into an audition–any audition–unprepared for criticism (whether it’s constructive or not) they have no business in the entertainment industry. Pack up your bags and go home.
    I watch “Idol” primarily to watch delusional people who think they have talent get a wake-up call. I’m kinda tired of the idea that everyone can do absolutely anything in life. Not everyone was designed to be a singer, or a dancer, or a astronaut. To pretend– rather, to LIE to our friends and family when they claim to have a talent that they don’t is ridiculous and causes much more harm than good.
    Should the “Idol” judges been nicer to Goodspeed? They could have–but then you wouldn’t have a show. Goodspeed was a horrible singer. She was also a drug addict. She was also mentally ill and apparently, her family either couldn’t help her (perhaps she didn’t want to be helped?) or didn’t do enough for her. And, I’m sorry, but under most circumstances, I cannot feel bad for someone who takes his/her own life.
    Please note: This is not the “official” Beliefnet position on “American Idol” or Paula Goodspeed or suicide. As a media outlet, they do not take “positions” on such matters. The views expressed are my own.

  • whendovescry

    Truly truly sad indeed,her and her loved ones will be in my prayers.

  • MomHon

    I couldn’t disagree more. The problem is not that some contestants are turned down when they audition. That’s what auditions are for. The problem is the show often allows unstable contestants to audition in front of the Big Three exactly BECAUSE they’re so bad. They take these people who have a tenuous grip on reality and insult and humiliate them in front of the nation. I’m actually surprised this is the first suicide – and it might not be. Maybe it’s just the first we’ve heard of. Allowing these poor deluded souls to be ripped apart by Simon et al. while we watch is not much better than staring at an accident scene when we drive by. It appeals to our basest instincts, it takes advantage of people unable to make sensible choices, and it shouldn’t be allowed.

  • lurch

    You know what American Idol is about, this was the 5th season she auditioned in. And it wasn’t as if she committed suicide right after the rejection, no, this was months and months after – other factors are involved too. People are responsible for their own actions. She was a creepy stalker to sent dozen of letters, even flowers, to Paula. Family is blaming the show – come on, blame yourself for not helping your own family member.
    Anyway, the girl did this to herself, and I have little sympathy for those who do this to themselves for what reason? Because she wasn’t famous or good at singing? That she couldn’t take that despair of being maligned by judges almost 2 years ago after signing releases that state, hey, the judges are there to be honest this is their job? Get over it.

  • Paradigm

    She had been stalking Abdul for years, so obviously they knew that she was unstable. People like her need help, not ridicule.

  • Paradigm

    She had been stalking Abdul for a long time, so they knew she was unstable. People like her need help and shouldn’t be exploited in this way.

  • Paradigm

    She had been stalking Abdul for a long time, so they knew she was unstable. People like her need help and shouldn’t be exploited in this way.

  • Paradigm

    She had been stalking Abdul for a long time, so they knew she was unstable. People like her need help and shouldn’t be exploited in this way.

  • Carbonstar

    Not everyone has a family . NONE . PERIOD>
    i being such a person, thinks that if there gonna be so harsh , maybe they should say those things and screen better, hello , we need jobs out here, peoplecan check people online , so its the studios that are resposible, screw the ratings, you going to her funeral

  • iwebie

    Former American Idol Contestant Paula GoodSpeed found Dead, In Front of Paula Abduls House..
    Abdul Expresses Shock: “I am deeply shocked and saddened at what transpired yesterday,” Abdul said in a statement. “My heart and prayers go out to her family.”

  • Ila

    It’s obvious this young lady needed mental counseling, it was creepy that she had a crush on Paula and was sending her gifts and stalking her. Of course Simon did not need to make cruel remarks about her braces!

  • Tee

    the word idol is not of god and i agree with Ms. Lee simon them need to stop would that do it to their family and friends? What would they do if someone destroyed their self-esteem or their children? you sow cruelty your reap cruelty!

  • Your Name

    Yes it is all Idol fault. Not her family, Not her friends, Not her church. it has to be a TV show that is at fault. Wow I wonder if I can blame someone else for all my fault. O I can blame GOD we did make all this. shoot he gave us free will so I guest I have to blame Idol to,

  • Missy

    Give me a break!! This isn’t the first season of Idol, everyone who watches knows that they let you audition even if you cannot sing, everyone knows they make snide comments about you if you audition and can’t sing. I think these people are ridiculous for being offended when told they can’t sing, I think the judges have the right to be offended when obviously tone deaf “contestants” waste their time! The moral of this story is to be honest with your family and friends, or someone else may be and they may not be as nice about it.

  • Andrew

    It is NOT the American Idol’s falt. I think that the perents are just using their daughter to get money. If you ask me it’s ridulous and they should just give it up and let it go. How can it be their fault?

  • Ace

    I’m sorry but “American Idol” should not be blamed or taken off the air because of a death. Its obvious that people go way overboard when they hear that they aren’t good enough but I’m sorry its no reason to take your life. They are a lot of talented people out there that should be found and have there moment in the spot light. This girl has issues and no one to talk to so its not Paula, Randy or Simon’s fault its her’s and her families. It would be different if they physically hurt her, they just hurt her feeling. Everyone knows how they can be on that show , if you dont want to be humiliated DONT GO ON IT!

  • Your Name

    o and also i dont think her parents were useing her to get money. but they could have told the truth and said that shes not a good singer but i dont think a parent would use there kid and risk humiliateing them on live tv thats just wrong idc who u are

  • CMW

    American Idol in no way, shape or form now or ever to be blamed for an unstable persons reaction to rejection. Randy, Simon, Paula and now Kaira ( spelling?)are not professional therapists but professionals in the MUSIC business. THEY CAN NOT be held accountable for one reaction to be told no, your not what we are looking for. I agree that at times even I feel they are a bit harsh BUT>>>BUT we do not see EVERYTHING that goes on at the audition. We do however see times when the so called performer begs, pleads and gets down right annoying to the point where I believe a harsh word may be the only way to get them to move on and allow the next person to try out. I have to wonder how many hugs Paula gives these rejected people that WE DON’T SEE?? Some of these people just do not take no for an answer, and yes there are times in life where one shouldn’t take no for an answer. To say this show should be taking off the air is in my opinion ones new found reason to kick what is and has been a very popular show for seven years off the air. It seems to me some have been looking for a reason and could not invent one so with this poor girls death now we have a beauty of one. Does this mean every time someone is rejected then for whatever reason he or she is rejected that should ended. WHAT IF ONE IS REJECTED FROM A COLLEGE? Should we close the college? Should we close all colleges where there has been a shooting???? And what about God?? How can anyone blame God? For those who blame the Almighty for this I ask you……when was the last time YOU thanked Him for something? Gods free will to us is a gift and if one chooses to abuse it then may God have pity on him come judgment day.One thing I see in America that is on the rise is Americans are quick for blaming someone else for their misfortune instead of taking account for their own life and actions.Blame someone else…..IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY!!!
    Fellow American.

  • Your Name

    It is so much easier for people to point fingers to blame and criticize instead of accepting we are all NOT perfect. One person’s failure is not the world’s failure too. It just means you need to try again next time and no matter how much you fail, JUST KEEP TRYING. It’s not how much you fall that matters, but how fast you rise when you fall. Life goes on and so must the show. She had two choices: Die trying or die giving up. Well we all know what she chose so the decision was hers not American Idol’s. If we didn’t have people telling us that our weakness needs improvement, what kind of people would we be? We might else well erase the word SUCCESS from the dictionary. Yet, it’s not other people’s opinion that matters because no one can’t tell you what you can and cannot do but there is a balance between ridiculously bad and being good but needs improvement. Family and friends just need to be more honest. Before you go on American Idol to compete, you should get a professional’s opinion first.

  • katie

    How much money do the contestants make during the contest and then during the tour of the top ten? Just wondering.

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