Why Is American Idol So Cruel?

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In Vulture’s video series Mad About Itwe obsessively dig into the most frustrating plot holes and unanswered questions across pop culture.

American Idol returns this weekend for a 17th season, and the new judges are certainly a lot more pleasant than Simon Cowell ever was. Still, something about watching people try and fail horribly in their auditions feels dystopian, even if the judges aren’t being jerks. And the truth is, American Idol doesn’t need to air those auditions — they choose to.

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Why Is American Idol So Cruel?