Mary J. Blige has a certain distaste for this country's favorite pastime, American Idol. But she won't admit it outright. "I haven't really watched it since Ruben [Studdard] won," the singer tells me after cutting her workout short and grabbing the phone at her New Jersey home for our interview. But whether she likes it or not, she does think the juggernaut show does the contestants a huge disservice. "Honestly, it's not giving most of them a real chance to become an artist for the rest of their lives," she explains. "They are on national TV every night. They have automatic fame. All of the greatest artists had to struggle for their success."
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