When Simon Cowell's new show, The X Factor, aired last week, Charlese Uribe already knew what would happen. Earlier this summer, she and her then-15-year-old daughter Melody Haughn had driven to Miami from their home in Pembroke Pines only to get cut after a week of brutal tryouts.
But when Uribe tuned in last Thursday, her three seconds of fame were worse than she could have imagined. She claims the show "distorted" her voice and edited footage in order to justify Cowell's personal insult about Uribe's divorce.
"How low is Simon Cowell willing to go to get the ratings he wants for this show he's invested millions of dollars into?" Uribe asks.
Of course, Cowell owes his career to being a snarky asshole. He has already been sued once for X Factor.
Yet Uribe insists she isn't a sore loser. She feels set up by the controversy-fueled, ratings-obsessed show.
In last week's Miami auditions episode, Uribe and Haughn appear only for a few seconds. Uribe breaks into "Barracuda" by '70s rock band Heart before Cowell seems to cut the performance short.
"I can understand, I think, why your marriage broke up," he says. "If I was living in a house with you two screaming at the top of your lungs." The camera cuts to Haughn with tears in her eyes and Uribe's brother freaking out backstage.
The online vitriol began almost instantly. Rolling Stone called Uribe and Haughn "an obese, goth-y mother/daughter duo."
"I've heard a cat sing better when their tail was caught in an engine," chimed in another commenter. "It was horrid, and so are they."
But Uribe says a video shot by a family friend shows what really happened:
"That's not my voice [in the episode]," Uribe says. "That's not how I sounded. And the proof is in the video and the audience clapping, screaming, and giving a standing audition.
"On TV, they made it seem like I just started singing and they immediately cut us off. But Simon asked us before the audition if my daughter's father and I were still together, and I said no," Uribe explains. "I think that is completely irrelevant to our singing competition."
Uribe says it was the nasty joke blaming her and her daughter's singing for her divorce, not just their elimination, that pissed off her brother.
"I think Simon owes my daughter an apology," she says.
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"We signed a waiver saying that they can use all the footage they want to make fun of us," Uribe admits. She also says backstage coaches encouraged contestants to fight with Cowell, supposedly to improve their chances but really just to make for better TV.
"I really want to get this story out, to prove that the X Factor is a fraud," she says. "They aren't making a truthful, honest show, and the public really has a right to know that they too are being lied to and manipulated."