Talent Recap

Watch the Top 10 Harshest Comments on Talent Shows, Prepare to Cringe


Reading Time: 7 minutes

When you think of all the harsh comments said on talent shows, I bet one name comes to mind: Simon Cowell. Here, you will see the 10 harshest comments on talent shows, ranked. While Cowell is known for coming up with some world-class insults, spoiler alert, he actually doesn’t rank first on the list. Over the years, a number of different judges have adopted a mean streak, and you will see them all. Let’s find out who takes the cake.

10. Howie Mandel Says “No” to Tory Vagasy

The aspiring Broadway singer took the America’s Got Talent stage this season, and blew the audience away with her rendition of “Into the unknown” from Frozen 2. Well, Mandel wasn’t too excited to hear this. He even makes it a point to tell the other judges that he is “not a musical theater lover” before she starts to sing. I’m not sure why Mandel felt compelled to make that side comment. No wonder he has taken the spot as the “mean judge” on America’s Got Talent this season. Mandel was the only judge on the panel to not give Vagasy a standing ovation, and voted “no” in her audition.


9. Demi Lovato Becomes the Mean X Factor Judge

Season two of the X Factor featured Demi Lovato on the panel of judges. In an interview with MTV News she said she was “definitely changing her judging techniques for the harsher,” and proved to be quite critical that season. In her critique of fan favorite boyband Emblem 3, she stated that she didn’t understand what Cowell was doing with them. Lovato called their routine predictable, and said they would receive votes because they are young and good-looking . Very bold to question Simon Cowell on his boyband forming skills. I’m not sure if you guys recall a little band named One Direction, but they too, were mentored by Cowell. I think it’s safe to say he knows what he’s doing.


8. Simon Cowell Makes 14-Year-Old Contestant Cry on AGT

I knew you were waiting to see Cowell rank on the list. I know, the title sounds very harsh. On season 14 of the AGT quarterfinals, Charlotte Summers performed the James Bond theme song, “Diamonds Are Forever.” While her vocals were powerful and filled the entire venue, Cowell hated the song choice.

“That was a terrible, terrible, terrible, song choice for you, it really was,” Cowell commented.

But don’t go after him just yet. In the end, he does end up encouraging the audience to look past the song choice and vote for her. Cowell said that he hoped America would remember what a great person and singer she was. As we know, these days he does have a big heart.


7. Louis Walsh Beefs with Trio Singing Lady Gaga

The X Factor UK has definitely featured some top notch bad auditions, and this one was no different. In 2010, the trio JAHM, took on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” on the X Factor stage. Both the judges and audience alike agreed that the performance was awful, but Louis took it a step further.

“It was like three cats getting strangled in an alleyway, it was really, really bad, you were all out of tune, it was bad,” he said after their performance.

I don’t condone the crushing of anyone’s dreams, but that was a top notch comment. Cowell probably wishes he thought of that one himself.

6. Louie Walsh…Again

In an OG X Factor episode, the judge harshly critique’s a 16-year-old girl’s Whitney Houston Cover. Introduced as Charlotte, her rendition of “One Moment in Time” was enough to turn Walsh evil. As Sharon Osbourne was the certified sweet judge, she tried to explain to the contestant that her voice was delicate like a kitten. Walsh was quick to reinforce the “being strangled” comment.

“It was painful,” he added. “She’s deluded, she’s dreadful,” he piled on.

Osbourne was quick to come to the young girls defense, very much taking on the mama bear role.


5. RuPaul Vs. Pearl

Now, you can’t have a talent show ranking without mentioning RuPaul’s Drag Race, at least in my book. Season seven featured a very awkward moment between RuPaul and runner-up queen, Pearl. As she was working on writing her material for the upcoming challenge, Ru made it a point to address her personality. The entire “werkroom” halted to a dead stop to watch the drama unfold.

“Pearl you do not have a very big personality, how are you going to overcome that in this award?” Ru directly asked.

Pearl took great offense to this, taking to to heart that Ru felt that she had no personality. Ru hoped that her comments would light a fire under Pearl, forcing her to deliver more in the competition. This led to an intense stare-down between the two queens, leading up to the iconic season seven quote: “Do I have something on my face?”


4. Simon Cowell’s Savage Moment on X Factor

We are taking it back to his X Factor UK days, where you know Cowell did not hold back. Back in 2008, he had some very choice words for “professional singer” Holly Gervis. Interestingly enough, he had more to say about her physical appearance, than her actual singing voice.

“Yeah Holly, your mouth is far, far too big when you sing, I mean it was like looking into a cave,” Cowell roasted. “I’ve never seen anything so huge in my life, and because your mouth is so big, this weird sound comes out of it, it was absolutely terrible.”


3. Kara DioGuardi Gets Mad on American Idol

Out of all the top notch insults you may remember from American Idol, you probably don’t recall them coming from Kara DioGuardi. On Season 9, she had some very choice words for a potential contestant with attitude. Andrew Fenlon auditioned that season with “House of the Rising Sun.” While his vocals were technically good, his demeanor cost him a shot at Hollywood. After complaining about waiting in line all day, DioGuardi had about enough.

“You want to be in the music business, but you don’t want to wait to get into American Idol,” she started off. “That to me seems to be a problem, and for you to have a bad attitude about that kind of pisses me off… there are people who would wait years to do so, so I am now angry at you, who I don’t like at all.”

DioGuardi did make a great point. I bet Fenlon never complained about waiting in line ever again after that.


2. RuPaul Yells at Joe Black

This past season on Drag Race UK, RuPaul did not hold back her hatred of off- the- rack fashion.

“I don’t want to see any f*cking H&M,” she spat at contestant Joe Black that season.

This seriously made me never want to step foot in an H&M ever again.

“That outfit… was a huge disappointment to me,” Ru stated, explaining that Black should have done more to make it unique, such as adding rhinestones. “That’s what everyday people do, and you should know that because you are a star.”


1. Natalia Kills X Factor New Zealand

Natalia Kills, More like Natalia kills her career. I’m sure a lot of you all already know what I am referring to. On the second season of the X factor New Zealand, Kills and her husband, Willy Moon, rip contestant Joe Irvine to shreds on national television. There is a reason why this one takes the cake as the number one harshest comment. 

“I am disgusted at how much you’ve copied my husband,” the judge went off. “From the hair to the suit, do you not have any value or respect for originality, you’re a laughing stock, it’s cheesy, it’s disgusting, I personally found it absolutely artistically atrocious.”

Matters only got worse when her husband decided to pile on the hate.

“To me it just feels a little bit cheap and absurd,” Moon starts off. “It’s like Norman Bates dressing up in his mother’s clothing and it’s just a little bit creepy, I feel like you’re gonna stitch someone’s skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience.”

These comments were absolutely uncalled for. No wonder they were both fired immediately after the episode.

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