Will Young has taken a pop at today's TV talent shows, calling them "sensational".
Will, 32, the first winner of Pop Idol, which spawned the likes of The X Factor, said there was a danger that talent shows would end up "hoodwinking" viewers.
He told the Radio Times the TV bosses were not concerned about the music and that they never were.
The chart star, who is about to release a dance CD, said: "They're much more sensational now.
"But I don't think the shows were ever about the music. Programme-makers are only ever concerned with creating great TV shows.
"The danger now is that they could become something more cynical and manipulative that moves into the realm of hoodwinking the public."
Will, who is marking a decade in the music business with a TV special on ITV1, said Pop Idol was good for gay rights.
The singer, who announced, following "media pressure" after his 2002 win that he was gay, said: "Pop Idol made people look at what their prejudices might be.
"So if they voted for this guy all along, they liked him, they felt passionate about him, got caught up in the TV show - then suddenly, do they have to think, 'oh, well I'm not gonna buy his music 'cause he's gay?'
"It made people look at their own prejudices."