The X Factor Australia – Former Contestant Comes Out Saying He Was Told Not To Say He Was Gay
Michael Maiolo a contestant who auditioned for series one has been scathing about his experience on The X Factor Australia. He claims he has been effected by depression from the experience and that being on national television destroyed his life.
He told news.com.au that he was told not to say he was gay and he was also told what song to sing for his audition. After he was humiliated on stage he asked the Network not to air his audition, however they did and he said he received hate messages and lost all his friends. To be frank they must have been pretty crap friends.
The article is long but a few snippets include:
One bad audition changed his life — and he said he was left so scarred by his experience on the show that he lost all his friends, was prescribed antidepressants and even considered changing his name.
Maiolo claimed he was told not to disclose his sexual orientation, was forced to sing a song he didn’t feel comfortable with, was instructed by The X Factor staffers to say he was better than everyone else on the show, that the judges laughed at him and called him “weird” and “uncomfortable to watch”.
After reading news.com.au’s story earlier this week about 12-year-old The Voice Kids contestant Romy, who was left distressed and in tears after she failed to progress past the blind auditions, Maiolo wanted to share his story for the first time.
“I have never been compelled to write my own story down and share it with anyone,” Maiolo told news.com.au, “until I saw the heartache and sadness this little girl, Romy, had to endure at the hands of television networks for ratings.
“I hope more and more people can come forward with their stories to show how cruel viewers of these shows can be and the power of destroying lives on national television; I feel very passionately about this.”
“The time came to decide what song I would sing in front of the judges Kyle Sandilands, Ronan Keating, Natalie Imbruglia, and Guy Sebastian. The producers had given me two options; Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven and Ronan Keating’s If Tomorrow Never Comes; I was told to practise these and that I would be contacted by phone in the next few days to find out when and where the recording of the judges audition would be.
“It was at this time that I expressed that I was a gay male and did not want to sing If Tomorrow Never Comes as it referred to being in love with a female and was a song already recorded by one of the judges. I was told that I wouldn’t have a choice in the matter and that I would have to sing what was picked by the executive producers, otherwise I would not be able to compete. I was also told it would be favourable to not disclose my sexual orientation until I was well and truly ‘safe’ in the competition.
“Then it was my turn to perform the dreaded song; the audience was filled with mine and other contestants’ family members and friends. There were cameras everywhere and the stage was so daunting, I recall Natalie Imbruglia whispering in her fellow judges’ ears about me, then looking back at me, then laughing. I froze. I was questioned briefly then began singing — my nerves had the better of me on this day. I was asked to stop singing and was booed by other contestants’ families in the audience.
“The judges then called me ‘weird’ and ‘uncomfortable to watch’. These comments were made by Kyle, Natalie and Ronan to the point where Guy Sebastian asked them to stop and said that they didn’t have to be ‘so mean’. I was told to leave the stage where I had two cameras filming my family’s reactions with Matthew Newton; they asked how I was feeling and I said I just wanted to leave, I did not wish to cry in front of anyone; it was so humiliating to see the way they treated my family and I.
“We were then handed our belongings that had been left in the green room and ushered down a hallway into a room where my family was told to stand behind the camera and I was told to stand in front of the camera in front of The X Factor sign. The lady next to the tripod began yelling at me in an attempt to rev me up and get a reaction out of me. She was screaming and pointing to me then the camera, ‘You tell the judges how you feel! You tell them how wrong they were!’.
“I phoned Channel 7 and left messages requesting they would not air the footage however they never responded to me. I will never forget the night the footage was shown and I was called to the lounge room by my parents as it came on. I knew from that moment, people would look at me differently based on the opinions of these judges and the light that I was viewed in.
“Within five minutes, my Facebook wall was flooded with people telling me they saw me on TV and how horrible I was. I received inbox messages and hate mail via my music website telling me that I should kill myself and that I am an embarrassment. I had messages from people I didn’t even know saying that if they saw me in the street they’d know me and that I was talentless and useless. Blogs were written about me saying that I ‘murdered’ the song, [RR’s Note: I did write he mangled the song]I lost all of my friends at the time and the professional singing reputation I had spent years building.
“It was at this time I was worried to leave my house as I was recognised; I was prescribed antidepressants from multiple doctors, however could not even bring myself to take the tablets let alone open my mouth and sing another note in front of anyone anymore.
He also says he would take back his time on the show. Michael has now got his singing mojo back and is hoping to release another album.