The third time, it seems, isn’t always the charm. Ian Benardo, the “Gloria”-singing, Dane Cook-interrupting (see clip above), Simon Cowell-badmouthing, So You Think You Can Dance-rejected, self-described “most hated contestant” ever to be on American Idol, has seen his thrice-lawsuit-bringing self booted out of federal court.
Benardo’s discrimination suit alleges that he was sexually harassed and called “fag” and “homo” by American Idol staffers and told to “gay it up” for camera time.
Judge Colleen McMahon, who threw out the case entirely, disagreed:
“He, like everyone else with a modicum of talent (or less) who auditions for American Idol, chose to appear on a program that was famous for its judges insulting behavior… Benardo went on air after being told what was expected of him, and he knew full well what to expect. Having volunteered to be insulted, he cannot now claim that he was sexually harassed.
“The audition show features performances of the individual contestants who win a place on Idol, and some who just miss the cut, but also a number of individuals who never had a realistic chance of being chosen—often persons with little or no talent, who are content on making fools out of themselves (or to allow others to make fools of them) in front of a national television audience. For the 2006-07 season, Benardo was apparently one of these.”
Now, it probably didn’t help his case that he’s willingly been a part of more than one reality competition program and that he actually went back for more “abuse” by participating in the Idol season finale during his audition year.
And in spite of the suit’s outcome, this isn’t over. The meat grinder of reality television demands a constant supply of fresh flesh, and guys like Benardo want their remaining 14 minutes, which means eventually he’ll return to offer himself up again someday, auditioning for whatever’s out there, just to get back on your TV. Expect it.