The death of Paula Goodspeed is a tragedy, said Gina Serpe and Jason Kennedy in E! Online. The 30-year-old former American Idol contestant was found dead on Tuesday, apparently from a drug overdose, in front of the home of Paula Abdul, one of the show’s judges. Apparently, Goodspeed “had been stalking Abdul for the past 17 years,” and her “obsession led her” to audition for American Idol twice, “including her now-infamous, Simon Cowell-maligned 2006 audition in Austin.”
It’s “painfully obvious” from Goodspeed’s MySpace page that she was “seriously affected by her embarrassment on the show,” said TMZ online. She blogged about her “American Idol rejection, saying how hard it was to deal with the ‘awful things’ being said about her, ‘just because I made the mistake of trying out for a singing competition before I was ~even~ ready vocally, emotionally and physically.’”
“Simon Cowell’s jokes about her braces” might have been “a bit over-the-top,” said Maura Johnston in Idolator. But “without the horrible context of the past 24 hours, Goodspeed's appearance seems like your boilerplate bad Idol audition—overconfident singer, barbs from Simon, really bad vocal performance, sorta-snarky Ryan Seacrest kicker.” And it was nothing compared to how harsh the Idol judges can be nowadays.
But Goodspeed’s death should “make reality producers question their vetting process or treatment of contestants,” said Stuart Heritage in Heckler Spray. Simon Cowell has “already been criticized in the past for his treatment of homosexuals and the disabled,” so it’s a pretty safe bet that “American Idol will cut back its attacks on the less talented audition performers in future seasons.”