Judging qualifications on ‘Idol’ questioned

NEW YORK – Patti LaBelle thinks some people shouldn’t be on ”American Idol” — and she’s not talking about the contestants.

”Some of the judges, I don’t think they’re qualified to even judge,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

The veteran R&B diva wouldn’t say which judge she thought was lacking on the hit Fox show, which has Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres picking America’s top singers. Tuesday’s ”Idol” episode saw 12 female semifinalists competing.

LaBelle said she was asked to be a judge on the series before Paula Abdul; a rep for the show had no comment on whether she was. LaBelle feels like the judges’ comments to the contestants are too mean.

”The comments that were made, they could make you like wanna kill yourself,” the 65-year-old singer said.

LaBelle’s advice to singing hopefuls: ”If you believe in yourself, just go for it. What do you have to lose? And when people tell you ‘You can’t,’ you have to say, ‘I can.’ ”

Speaking out for rights

RALEIGH, N.C. – More than a year after disclosing he is gay, Clay Aiken is speaking before a gay-rights event in his hometown.

Aiken will deliver a speech about gay rights this weekend at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala in Raleigh, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday. Actress Meredith Baxter, who recently said she is a lesbian, also will deliver a speech.

The 31-year-old Raleigh native, pop singer and 2003 ”American Idol” runner-up said he wrote his own speech after remarks provided for him proved too political, including a slam aimed at former President George W. Bush.

”I don’t feel like this is the place to be horribly politically charged and bash people and talk about the wrongs that have been done,” he said. ”My goal is to be hopeful, that it’s time for everyone to have equal rights.”

Aiken says his goal is to urge Americans to support equal rights for all. He says that means allowing homosexuals to marry and enjoy rights that heterosexual couples take for granted like inheritance and hospital visitation. Aiken said that goal may take decades.

”It’s more important to me, as a parent, that my son have all the rights — if he’s gay — than it is for me. I don’t want to do anything today that’s going to inhibit, or be a detriment to, his rights,” he said.

Aiken’s son, Parker, was conceived via in vitro fertilization and born in August 2008. Parker’s mother is music producer Jaymes Foster. Foster, who lives in California and Aiken, who lives in the Raleigh area, share custody.

‘Octomom’ not expecting to have more children

NEW YORK – Octuplets mother Nadya Suleman says she doesn’t plan on having more children unless she gets married someday ”far” in the future. She says if that ever happens, she would only have one child.

Widely known as ”Octomom,” Suleman has six older children. She appeared Wednesday on ABC’s daytime talk show ”The View,” where she has been a frequent topic of debate.

Suleman’s octuplets celebrated their first birthday in January.

All of her children were conceived by in vitro fertilization, and she has been criticized for having a huge family as a single mother on public assistance.

She says her children are her priority and she is looking into various opportunities, including writing a book, to support them.