A woman who killed herself near American Idol judge Paula Abdul's home was a would-be contestant who was savaged during her audition, it emerged today.
Police said that Paula Goodspeed, whose rendition of "Proud Mary" was roundly criticised by judge Simon Cowell and rejected by Abdul and judge Randy Jackson, appeared to have taken an overdose.
Her body was found on Tuesday evening in a car near Abdul's Los Angeles home. Her parents had reported her missing hours earlier and feared she might hurt herself.
A police spokeswoman said officers responded to a call about 6pm on Tuesday and arrived in the Sherman Oaks area to find the body.
"I am deeply shocked and saddened at what transpired yesterday," Abdul said in a statement released by her publicist. "My heart and prayers go out to her family."
Ms Goodspeed's audition was aired during the season that began in January 2006. She told the show's host, Ryan Seacrest, that she was a huge fan of Abdul and created life-size paintings of the singer and former Laker Girl; she also called Abdul "beautiful" after Cowell said he noticed a resemblance between her and Abdul.
But Cowell also made light of Goodspeed's braces and bloggers trashed her appearance, which she noted in a MySpace posting months after the show aired.
"American Idol" producer Fremantle Media North America declined comment.
A police spokesman said relatives had not seen the woman since about 11 pm on Monday and were concerned she might try to hurt herself.