X Factor auditioner considered suicide following his on-stage breakdown

One of Wednesday’s more memorable auditions on The X Factor was Don Philip’s time on stage; he performed a duet, “I Will Still Love You,” with Britney in 1999. He says that he contemplated suicide following the audition because he felt set up by the show’s producers.

Don Philip told the New York Post the segment was highly edited to excise references to his sexual orientation because “I think they were scared I was going to kill myself.” After he auditioned in June, he said, “I went home and had thoughts of [suicide]. I was so destroyed that they set me up.”

Rather implausibly, he says he told the producers about being gay but thought they wouldn’t tell anyone else. Is anyone still that naive? When the judges pressed him for his “secret” that he says made him think they’d been tipped off, he told Britney, “I didn’t think you thought it was OK that I am gay,” but she told him, “I think it is fine that you are gay.” That’s when he started crying, which we saw last night.

What’s not included in the Post’s story is what happened next during the audition: his comments about Britney’s judgement turned into a confrontation with L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell.

Why was all that cut out of the show, effectively closeting him and leaving out the context for the entire segment? A Fox statement to the newspaper said, in part,

“The judges were not given any specific information about Mr. Philips prior to his audition. The personal information that Mr. Philips quickly volunteered at the start of his audition was a surprise to the judges who asked what had happened during the past 10 years, as they were interested in Mr. Philips’ career. While we understand his decision to discuss his personal life, Mr. Philips’ sexual orientation was not something that any of the judges or producers felt was relevant.”

Yeah, the reason why he broke down on stage isn’t relevant at all–they just included the breakdown. Please.

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.