Today's newspaper reports that one of the final eighteen contestants in New Zealand Idol has been withdrawn by the organisers. This contestant has convictions for aggravated assault and burglary, but that is not why she wasn't welcome. "Everybody deserves a second chance" they said. So, what could she have done that was so much worse? She was pregnant.
Apparently the judges claimed that they carefully considered the situation and decided that it wasn't in her best interests, or the baby's, for her to continue, since the contest is so demanding. Did they ask for a medical clearance? I suspect not, given that a top obstetrician and gynecologist was reported as saying that there was no reason why she couldn't continue.
She has been told that should there be a fourth series, she will automatically get entry into the top eighteen, if she wishes. Now, I did some calculations. Presumably she is not about to deliver in the next month or so, or they would have realised that she was pregnant somewhat earlier. The fourth series will probably take place next year - we have been enjolying or suffering one series a year (depending on one's viewpoint). So she will have a baby of a few months old. Apparently the judges have made the paternalistic decision that it is not in the best interests of mother and baby for her to compete now, but it is OK next year. Will they let her bring her baby to live in the Idol house for weeks on end while rehearsals and eliminations go on? I bet not - so they are assuming she will leave the baby - presumably bottle-fed - with relatives, while she competes.
Given the choice of competing while pregnant, competing while breast feeding and sleep deprived with a young baby, or leaving my baby for several months, I know which I would have picked.
As for their excuse - could the real reason have been that a pregnant woman just doesn't look sexy enough? That she doesn't fit the image?