Simon Cowell and producers of The X Factor TV series are facing legal action from a former contestant who is convinced they edited her audition to make her look bad.
Sally Hessnice performed Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love of All during an auditorium audition for the 2013 series and received a 'no' from Cowell and his fellow judges Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato and Paulina Rubio.
However, Hessnice is convinced the televised version of her audition was tampered with, claiming producers distorted her voice to make her sound terrible.
She alleges the broadcast ruined her reputation as a professional singer and on Friday (22May15), she filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, demanding $2 million in damages for emotional distress, defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and gross negligence. She also wants an injunction to stop the use of her audition footage.
In the complaint, her lawyers state, "The Audition had been altered in the following ways: a.) Plaintiff's voice (i.e., pitch, reverb and vocal legato) was altered to sound 'screechy' and unprofessional; b.) the positive audience reaction was replaced with footage of a disinterested audience; and c.) the judges' original comments and reactions to Plaintiff were re-filmed (without Plaintiff present) to show a negative response to Plaintiff."
Hessnice has named executives at Cowell's production company Syco, as well as fellow production firms Fremantle and Blue Orbit, as defendants.
The X Factor USA was cancelled in 2013 after three seasons.