"Duet" went live for the first time last night, and as it is with every reality singing competition, the introduction of America's vote kicks the contestants' emotions up a notch. Luckily for the remaining singers on ABC's hit, they have a calming force on stage with them in the form of host Quddus.
Having worked in music and alongside musicians for so long, the former MTV on-air star is particularly sensitive to the feelings of the competitors. Asked by MTV News if he had any embarrassing red carpet stories, Quddus told us that while he's never done anything too crazy on the red carpet, he has let his strong opinion on how reality show hosts treat contestants get the better of him.
"I just went in. I was like, you what, let me talk about a couple of these other hosts. I straight up called out Steve Jones on 'X Factor,'" Quddus told us when he stopped by the MTV Newsroom (his old stomping grounds). "I'm sorry, but I saw the dude not handling a contestant with any kind of compassion and there's just no excuse for that."
But when we reminded him that Jones was no longer with "The X Factor," that's when he really let his feelings be known.
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"He's not there anymore! Steve Jones, you lost your job for a reason, boy," he exclaimed. "I'm sorry, but in the space that I deal with, you've got to have heart, you've got to care about the people that are putting their dreams on the line for your entertainment. Are you kidding me? You can't have a little sensitivity for a couple of minutes for this person? Steve looked like he was too cool for school, man. I was like, nah, nah, never that. So that's definitely a big difference between our show and the other show is that I care a lot about these people."
Strong words, but he says that working in music A&R before he broke out as a host on MTV taught him how personally the contestants take the words of the hosts and judges on shows like "Duets," The Voice" and "The X Factor." "I know their struggle because I was in A&R at a record label for years, and so I know that this is not a joke, this is not simple entertainment for these people," he continued. "This is their dream that they've built up years for."