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Posted Aug 7th, 2015 (11:33 am) by Sean O'Leary
Music Player: 

American Idol is no one's idea of highbrow television. But singer-songwriter and former contestant Ryan Cassata, who happens to also be a transgender man, has seen the inner workings of the show's processes, and they outraged him so badly that he couldn't stay quiet.

According to his Facebook post (embedded below), Cassata auditioned last year and was rejected. This year, the auditioning staff reached out to him because he matched what he says they were looking for. The musician stated that an American Idol rep said the following during a recent phone call:


"You don't want someoone 'that people might make fun of, or [someone] who looks too much like they are men who transitioned to women, or [that] look FAKE or GIMMICKY.' You said you don't want a transgender person 'WHO STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB.' You also referred to trans people as 'MEN IN DRESSES' and 'TRANSGENDERS.'."

He goes on to mention that the show's producers were also looking for "'sexual BLONDE GIRLS who are DUMB' and 'BLACK GIRLS who are DRAMATIC.'." Assuming these claims are true, it's no surprise that the beleaguered reality TV show attempted to cash in on the highly-visible LBGTQ movement.


Dear American Idol Casting Directors, I have received many phone calls and emails begging me to try out in front of...

Posted by Ryan Cassata on Thursday, July 30, 2015

Speaking in their own defense, Idol commented to Billboard that "Our audition team has often reached out to former participants to audition again... Many find that their voice improves over a year and they have greater success in their second or third attempt," adding that they will "look into the veracity" of Cassata's claims.

Idol's response seems like it should be taken with a grain or two of salt. Cassata claims that he was originally cut for not being "contemporary" enough. Similarly, it's hard to believe that a guy with as much recording experience as Cassata doesn't already have a handle on their vocal skill level.

If you're looking to hear Cassata's music in a way that's not so exploitative, try his SoundCloud, and we'll keep you posted on the record he's working on with producer Bard Morrison.

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