‘American Idol’ Host Brian Dunkleman Says First Season Was ‘Very Cruel’

Former American Idol co-host Brian Dunkleman is opening up about his experiences on the show.

Dunkleman, 52, was a one-season-wonder, appearing as a co-host on the show’s first season in 2002 with Ryan Seacrest. He quit before season 2 began, but said in a new interview that he’s still rattled by what he witnessed during the audition process.

“You’re spending a lot of time with these kids in the line, and you’re getting to know them, you’re getting to know their parents. There was a stretch for an hour straight where kid after kid came, [and] every one of them was bawling. And I thought, ‘What is going on?’” he recalled of the auditions on the Still Here Hollywood podcast with Steve Kmetko.

He continued, “At one point… I just went and found a corner behind the curtain. I just started crying. I don’t know why it affected me so much. Maybe because I’ve auditioned so many times. I know how it’s not easy. It’s not easy to put yourself out there.”

Brian Dunkleman in 2022.

Michael S. Schwartz/Getty


Dunkleman recalled one contestant in particular, a young girl whose carpenter father had sold his tools in order to get the money to drive her to the audition. The comedian said the girl was “so excited” to audition, but when she came out, her “eyes were dead” and she was “shattered.”

“I just didn’t understand why that was necessary… But it was very, very cruel that first season,” he said. “And that’s kind of what made the show such a hit, was how mean [judge Simon Cowell] was. He was hated. He got death threats in England. He comes here, and everybody loves the guy.”

Dunkleman said that while he didn’t want to “bad mouth anybody,” he felt that the set-up of the show was not kind.

“I don’t believe that you should set kids up to be humiliated like that,” he said. “You’re putting them in front of cameras, and I can hear them [go]. ‘Oh, this girl, she thinks she can actually sing. We’re gonna crush her.’ She’s 16.”

Still, Dunkleman had positive things to say about Cowell, whom he called a “really nice guy” with a “great sense of humor,” as well as his fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.

“I just adore Paula,” he said. “Love Randy. Such a nice guy… That guy is exactly what you see. Just a really, really sweet guy.”

Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini and Brian Dunkleman in 2002.

Kevin Winter/Getty


After Dunkleman walked away, Seacrest continued to host American Idol, which recently wrapped season 22 with judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry.

“People still think I got fired. I didn’t. I wish I would have. It would have been easier,” Dunkleman said on the podcast. “[But] I’m sure I would have [been fired].”

He later left show business in order to raise his son, and has worked as an Uber driver.

Now, though, he’s slowly stepping back into the entertainment world, and said on the podcast that he recently did a pilot for his own show that features his name in the title.

“Life is really, really good. I I know it could be hard for some people to believe, but, for the first time, I really think I’m I’m hitting my stride as a human being. I feel like, this kid has changed my life, stepping away from the business for a while to raise him,” Dunkleman said. “And now stepping back. I really feel like I’m doing my best work and I’m knocking on the door and I think it’s just a matter of time, but I’m really, really enjoying myself right now.”

Ice Cube ‘Approves’ of Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s Beef

Ice Cube is giving his two cents on the beef that has dominated hip-hop news this year. The headline-making feud ...

Former Pakistan cricketer Kamran Akmal urged BCCI to approach Zaheer Khan or Ashish Nehra for Team India bowling coach Gautam Gambhir

Team India Coach: Gautam Gambhir's name is being considered at the top for the post of head coach of the ...

hot summer season and low reservoir levels may put stress on summer crop of vegetables and fruits Says RBI Bulletin

RBI Bulletin: The country is witnessing severe heat and heatwave, due to which there is a risk of inflation increasing ...

Gautam Adani praises Manmohan Singh for starting liberalisation and ending License Raj

Manmohan Singh: Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani has praised former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Gautam Adani said that in 1991, ...

After becoming the head coach of the Indian cricket team, Gautam Gambhir can give KKR player Harshit Rana a chance to debut in Team India

Team India Coach: These days Gautam Gambhir is in the race to become the head coach of the Indian team ...

PEOPLE’s 100 Reasons to Love America in 2024

PEOPLE'S annual 100 Reasons to Love America franchise celebrates the best of what to do, see and celebrate this summer ...

SSC MTS Havaldar 2024 Notice To Release Soon on 27 June know important dates ssc.gov.in last date 27 July

SSC MTS Havaldar Notice To Release Soon: Staff Selection Commission will soon release the notification of SSC MTS Havildar 2024 ...

ATM shortage in India Banks are complaining to reserve bank and government

Reserve Bank of India: There is a shortage of ATMs in the country. All the banks are worried about this ...

IPPB starts inward international money remittance service with Ria Money

IPPB Money Remittance Service: India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has started remittance from abroad to India in partnership with Euronet's ...

Truth behind Haris Rauf's fight with a fan at T20 World Cup 2024, was he an Indian or Pakistani fan?

Haris Rauf fight with fan: The T20 World Cup 2024 was nothing less than a nightmare for Pakistan. While Pakistan ...

Leave a Comment