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American Idol contestants are under surveillance
April 4:
Published on 5 Apr. 2009 1:19 AM IST
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While the Fox network boa-sts about the luxurious lifestyle the “American Idol” finalists are enjoying in their opulent Bel-Air mansion, some contestants are complaining that they feel like prisoners! In an effort to avoid a ratings-wrecking scandal, the show’s producers have beefed up security for this season of “Idol.” In previous years, the singing hopefuls have sneaked off to go drinking at Los Angeles nightclubs and have gotten into “all sorts of trouble,” said an insider. “I feel like a bird in a gilded cage!” One pampered finalist whined, according to an insider. “Don’t get me wrong, the place is gorgeous, with breathtaking views. But we have no privacy!” The $30 million mansion has a staggering 20 bathrooms, an indoor swimming pool and spa and a huge 20-seat theater, where the contestants can practice their performances. There is also a basketball court, a bowling alley, an outside pool, a gym and loads of other amenities. Even with all this at their disposal, some of the finalists hate the place - because of the “Big Brother” -style cameras that watch them almost constantly, says the insider. “There are security guards shadowing the finalists virtually from the moment they walk in the door until the moment they go to sleep,” one of the contestants told the insider. “And, if the guards aren’t there, there are security cameras all over the house - except in the bedrooms and in the bathrooms.” The finalists have a strict 10 p.m. curfew and are not allowed overnight guests, with the exception of the mother of Allison Iraheta, because Allison is underage at 16. Contestants are also forbidden to drive their own cars. They must be chauffeured by a driver hired by the show. “It’s like a pricey prison,” said the insider. “The producers aren’t taking any chances.”

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