X Factor Malta judge Howard Keith Debono has come out swinging after being accused of undermining a contestant’s anxiety disorder, stating that people who don’t want to be judged shouldn’t apply for the show in the first place.
“I honestly think that the questions we should be asking is why do family members, close friends who are aware of certain severe conditions (if that is the case) encourage contestants to be judged on national TV when the career path they want to pursue requires certain boxes to be ticked which might trigger even further the said conditions?” Debono wrote on Facebook.
“Singing requires being on stage in front of people and people will always judge. Ultimately we’re there to judge on what we see and hear. I’m not there to say things for the sake of gaining popularity. I’m there to be honest no matter what!”
Debono uploaded his post after contestant Johanna Gauci Loporto, who suffered a nervous breakdown right before her audition, warned that a couple of judges had accused her of faking her anxiety disorder.
However, the veteran record producer said all the judges had honestly expected that Johanna wouldn’t be able to sing or go through with her performance.
“To our massive surprise she was totally OK whilst singing, no jitter in the voice, no flaws,” he said. “In the vast majority of cases normally the actual performance Is the part that always suffers. First and foremost I was there to judge a vocal performance and that I did and gave her a “yes” cause she deserved it. Ignoring what I just experienced would not have been honest so it required the same level of honesty as my vocal judgement.”
“At no point did anyone discourage awareness towards social anxiety. In fact in the same program there was a 15 year old girl who told us her story of social anxiety, wrote a song about it to raise awareness and we encouraged it whole heartedly. Now, truth be told, some people come there for their 5 mins of fame.”
“Some because they were pushed or encouraged by a friend or family member, some portray a personality during the first phases and a completely different personality in the live shows making us question who they really are, others because they want more out of their career, whilst others simply because they were never given a chance.”
“We are there being ourselves for better or for worse. I try to give benefit of the doubt to anyone who deserves it especially when they have the vocal tone to back it up. Nothing different to what I’ve been doing all these years. We are four judges & this is me!”