WILL Young has slammed talent shows as "too sensational" – and said they have NEVER been about music.
And Will, 32, who won the first Pop Idol in 2002, warned that the public were in danger of being hoodwinked by manipulative telly producers.
In a dig at shows like The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, he said: "They’re much more sensational now.
"But I don’t think the shows were ever about the music.
"Programme-makers are only ever concerned with creating great TV shows. The danger now is that they could become something more cynical and manipulative that moves into the realm of hoodwinking the public."
Will was catapulted to fame when he beat Gareth Gates to win Pop Idol, which was judged by Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, Neil Fox and Nikki Chapman.
The series went on to be copied around the world and spawned the current roster of Saturday night shows.
But Will, who is to mark a decade in the music business with a TV special on ITV1, told Radio Times that the show had been good for one thing – gay rights.
The singer, who came out after winning, said: "Pop Idol made people look at what their prejudices might be.
"So if they voted for this guy all along – they liked him, felt passionate about him, got caught up in the TV show – then suddenly, do they have to think, ‘Oh, well I’m not gonna buy his music because he’s gay?’.
He added: "That show, rather than me, was very important for gay rights. And sexual equality.
"I was like a conduit for it, but it was definitely within the protective bubble of that show."