Simon Cowell has gone from "American Idol" judge to a potential headache for the show.  A furor over whether Cowell's British talent show "The X Factor" electronically altered contestant voices has prompted "American Idol" to make a pre-emptive strike.

"We have never, nor would we ever, use Auto-Tuning during the `American Idol' competition," producers of the Fox show said in a statement Thursday, referring to pitch-correcting technology.

"American Idol" viewers can attest that contestants have been regularly scolded for "pitchiness."

The producers' statement, issued in response to a query, didn't address a key "American Idol" issue: the replacements for Cowell and another departing judge, Ellen  DeGeneres. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the reported front-runners for the judge's panel, which begins its work sometime after Labor Day.