Whoopi Goldberg Says ‘American Idol’ Was the ‘Beginning of the Downfall of Society’

Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t seem to be a fan of American Idol and its impact. On a recent episode of The View, the actress mused that the singing competition is responsible for igniting a hypercritical culture in which everyone is obsessed with judging one another.


Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson

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“I think, you know, that we as a society love to watch stuff, to judge folks,” Goldberg said during a discussion with her co-panelists this week. “I’ve always thought that the beginning of the downfall of society was with … what’s the name of that show?”

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The comment got some laughs in the audience when a producer reminded her that the show was Idol, which just so happens to share a network — ABC — with The View.

“When I was watching it, ABC didn’t have it. It was a different show,” Goldberg continued with a smile of the ratings juggernaut that originated on Fox. “It’s a very different show. ABC knows that I feel like this. I’ve told them. It has nothing to do with them. It has to do with the show.”

“Once we gave people the ability to judge other people, I think we ran amok,” she added. “They invite the public to decide who that person was. It began us in a cycle.”

Billboard has reached out to American Idol and ABC for comment.

Coincidentally, the talk-show host’s remarks came just a couple days after Idol crowned its Season 21 winner: Hawaiian teenager Iam Tongi, who beat out fellow finalists Megan Danielle and Colin Stough on Sunday night’s (May 21) episode. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan have served as the show’s judges for the past six seasons, taking over from Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez when the program rebooted in 2018.

Back when Idol first started in 2002, it was Simon Cowell — known for the scathing critiques Goldberg was likely referring to — Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul who made up the original panel of judges. Since its inception, the show has churned out stars such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks and more.

Watch Whoopi Goldberg talk about American Idol above.

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