American Idol Contestant Accused of Lying About His Military Service

Uh oh. It happened on American’s Got Talent over the summer. Now it looks like we may have another fake military story from a reality show contestant. Via FOX News

Matt Farmer, 26 from Tulsa, OK auditioned in Long Beach, CA, singing “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cook. He tells a story of being hit with an IED while he was serving with the US military in Iraq. His injury resulted in a traumatic brain injury, and the medication he took to treat his condition was supposed to make him sterile. But surprise! Six months later his wife was pregnant. 

But now, the Guardian of Valor site, which seeks to “out people who falsely claim military service and/or claim unauthorized medals or tabs” are reporting that Matt’s versions of events aren’t substantiated by others who were in combat with him.

Many–some anonymously–posted on the website that Matt’s drinking and taking unprescribed acne medications are what led him to have a seizure and be removed from the area of operations.

Here is Matt’s audition, which aired on Wednesday’s San Antonio/Long Beach American Idol episode:

Matt Farmer – Long Beach Audition – American… by IdolxMuzic

Guys who served with Matt refute his claims:

“I was a sniper section leader attached to his company and lived in the same room with him until he was medevaced from Ramadi because he got drunk while he was taking Accutane,” his alleged former roommate told the website. “He was never involved in one single direct fire engagement, was never wounded, and made up this whole lie to try and make his story sound good to ‘American Idol.’”

Sgt. David Johnson, who said he served with Farmer, claimed his former colleague was “a fraud.”

“His actions endangered the rest of his platoon and company and forced the rest of the company to be searched in what is called a ‘health and welfare’ for illegal substances,” Johnson said.

Another said he was taken home after having seizures from “unauthorized” medicine use, another said the “Idol” contestant “never saw combat, never got blown up, never got a TBI,” and a team leader of the United States Army Infantryman, John F. McManus, said Farmer’s televised story was “a bold-faced lie,” and that he has “used the blood, sweat, and tears or real, hard-working, tough, brave and honorable Infantry soldiers to paint himself as someone he was most certainly not.”

Matt responded to the allegations, via  Guardian of Valor, and used the typical “my statements were taken out of context” excuse:

“I wanted to contact you directly and let you know that ‘American Idol’ took certain things I said out of context. Three pictures that were shown were not ones provided by myself but stock photos THEY used. I at NO time gained any monetary values about my story that was used on ‘American Idol’ and want it to also be known that I am no longer a part of the show.”

“I’m FIRM in the fact that I know I had talked about it over 6 hours of interviews that I discussed certain missions and stuff that we did on a day to day basis.  Then I mentioned to a producer in an interview that I had an accident while in country and remember ‘waking up in Kuwait.’ This is where this was all pieced together. I am sure you have watched the clip and can realize that it is chopped up.”

Matt insisted that he had asked the show to keep his backstory focused on his young daughter and wanted no “claim to fame” for anything related to his military service.

Matt confirmed that he did “overdose on pills,” and after being medivac’d out and later sent to Germany, where he said he was told that he had “PTSD and anxiety disorder.” He  denied that he was “kicked out” of Iraq or the Army.

Since he did not make it past Hollywood, I expect Matt will be edited out of any Hollywood footage of him that exists, and that will be the end of it. So far, the press hasn’t picked up on this story at all. Back in the old days, Matt’s tale would have already entered the news cycle.

Sure, American Idol producers probably overdramatize sob stories for maximum effect. But this guy’s story doesn’t quite pass the smell test…

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  • TheGreatXL

    It’s so gross when people lie about their service. There are people who are actually dying in a desert and to pretend you were even close to that is cruel to families who actually did lose a loved one that way.

  • Lexie O’Neill

    My husband is connected to the military community and they really do get unhappy about false stories like this.  And I doubt Idol would have just created a meritorious service story for him…

  • washpd

    “Out of context,” ok, Matt. Honestly, of course AI edited his interviews. But, at some point, he did say he was in an IED incident. This appears to be completely false. Such a shame. Lying about experiences in and honors received for combat has been going on for many, many years. But, in the age of the internet, it is a lot harder to get away with it.

  • Eric Mitchell

    When will people learn that you can’t lie in the Internet age. The truth always comes out.

  • quickjessie

    The saddest part of this is that the guy has diminished the respect he deserves for joining the military in the first place, during wartime.  He joined, he served, he was deployed, and he risked his life just by those actions, whether he saw active fire or not.  That was simply the luck of the draw. 

    But by making false claims he has lost the respect he rightly deserved for his service.

  • Amy Beth

    Now we have to wonder if that’s really his kid, or some rent-a-baby.

  • Niall

    Even if he didn’t tell full on combat story lies to AI producers (I find that hard to believe), his above “clarification” tells me he did use vague statements and lies of omission to create a better backstory. At the bare minimum, he was non-specific about his accident in a way that would make AI producers assume it was combat related.

  • Miss Chaos

    Im glad hes gone, I didnt like him anyway, bye bye Matt Farmer, I wish these things were checked out before they air, so he didnt have to take up someone elses  face time on the show.  Nigel really is loosing it, most people last nite were bad, and wasted some good singers time.

  • b_james


  • Incipit

    Uh oh. It happened on American’s Got Talent over the summer. Now it looks like we may have another fake military story from a reality show contestant.

    And another failure on the part of a Reality show to exercise due diligence on vetting these overdone backstories? Is it just the Military stories they tend to take at face value, without any oversight?

    If entanglement with the legal system is the only thing these shows will spend time/money to check out – I suppose lying about Military Service needs to be actionable too. Not so sure some of it isn’t, actually. It is certainly reprehensible, or as TheGreatXL says, Gross. As in “ICK”, at someone who would do that.

    I hope he ‘is’ “edited out…and that will be the end of it.” If he can’t be held accountable, then a Giant erasure from Idol and no more attention for the lies. IMO. Of Course.

  • voicesinmyhead

    How dare he disrespect the actual servicemen spouting lies!

  • Leandro

    I don’t find shocking at all that there are a lot of jerks out there that would lie about something like that. What I still finding shocking is the fact that producers aren’t investigating the sob stories they decided to be aired . It seems to me, more and more, that they’re just like any average person without proper qualifications,just a little more unethical, that are very lucky to be where they’re right now. 

  • Montavilla

    I’m going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt.  He says he talked to the producers for six hours.  We’re hearing about thirty second of that.  

    If you listen to his words, he didn’t say he was injured by an I.E.D., he simply mentions that one exploded.  He could have been describing how one of his buddies died.  The bit about his waking up in Kuwait could have been from a completely different part of the interview.

    And those images are obviously stock photographs.

    I don’t know this guy.  I didn’t care for him or his backstory.  And I’m not even going to mention the first thought that popped into my mind about the whole baby story.

    But it’s easier for me to believe that the producers wanted a good soldier sob story and created it out of a few random sentences than it is for me to believe that yet another guy decided to make up a story that can easily be checked through the meticulous organization of the military.

  • Emmuzka

    I don’t think that the producers particularly even wanted to investigate the truthfullnes of this sob story. It sounds so good, it’s just what they needed! 

    I don’t think that the background checks go much in detail when it’s not about criminal activity. If someone says that he had a cancer, or bulimia, or that he was injured in war, what are they going to do? Ask for medical records? Hardly. 

  • Larc

    Idol is totally addicted to backstories, especially when they are of the sob persuasion.  If they can get a fix, they don’t question its source.  ;)

  • girlygirltoo

    The moral of the story is that Idol, and all of these reality shows, really need to fact check ANY back story before using it on air. There have been far too many contestants whose stories fail to hold up when they are looked into, and I have a hard time believing that the producers make up ALL of these back stories without the “help” of the contestants themselves.

  • Miz

    Go to the Guardian of Valor site that MJ linked. The guy lied. There is also audio of him giving ‘testament’ in a church with more extensive lies. 

    Oh, and he’s responded again today confessing that it was HIS lies, not AI putting words in his mouth. He’s evidently a lifelong pathological liar and it has nothing to do with his time in service.

    The little girl lives with her mother and step-father.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    The latest update from Matt at the Guardian of Valor site:

    UPDATE 20130201 Matt sent us the following statement, in this statement he admits to the lies he told.

    Everything you have read is correct. It was ALL lies. I in fact HAVE
    lied since a younger age and had a problem with it. I am coming out and
    making a statement (even though I was instructed not to) because i DO
    want to come clean. Just so everyone knows I’m not reviving any sort of
    disability for Tbi. Let it also be known that I left country 2.5 months
    before the rest of the unit came home, I stayed in the army PAST my ETS
    date and was released from full service (wether active or reserve) in


    I do in fact take FULL responsibility for the actions and words I have
    said, and know that this will never go away. In NO way was I looking to
    take from everyone who has served. I started to believe my own lies. And
    after I believed them… I would catch myself talking like it had
    happened to me my entire life. To the gentleman above who talked about
    going to the VA I am doing just that, the “cocktail” u refer to Has been
    my deterrent for the last couple of years as I feel like when I was
    medicated while at FT sill and even at Schwinefurt It was never
    “correct”. Never the less.


    The lies end here. I want to base the life I have left on nothing but
    what is real and genuine and in the here and now. I am EXTREAMLY
    remorseful and VERY upset that I allowed myself to take from the hard
    work of the guys that i was deployed with among others. To think that I
    would go on a national tv show and get away with continuing a lie so
    big, and so deeply imbedded in my lfe and brain… Is rediculous.
    Hindsight is always 20/20. The work the blue spader a did overseas was
    impeccable and I regret that I took from that. To EVERYONE but more
    importantly the men I served with, I AM DEEPLY REGRETFUL AND SORRY. my
    road to figuring out how to make a life built on trust starts now. It
    starts with getting help. And starts with this message.


    I was told to keep quiet and not talk to anyone, and I have decided that
    what’s best for me and my family is to come out and end the insanity. I
    indeed have many many things to work with and need to get alot of help
    doing it. Again I appologize to everyone that I have come across and
    hurt or lied too.


    I at no time was a sniper, was never deployed to Afghanistan, did a
    single tour in Iraq, and was never at any time hit or wounded by an IED

    Matt farmer

  • fuzzywuzzy

    MJ can now change the title of this thread from “accused of lying” to “admits to lying”.

  • Katie’s Uvula

    This guy is gay and it was obvious he didn’t serve due to the unfair rules the army has. I doubt that’s even his baby unless him and his male partner adopted.

  • Stefan Wind

    Idol is making SURE there will be no WGWG winner this season haha. 

    That’s a shame. I was looking forward to seeing him again lol. 

  • Fran

    Good lesson for me. I believe most people. With the internet you don’t really know even the person let alone their family or friends like you would if you met someone in your daily life. Yikes, the producers aren’t doing much investigation.

     Cudos to the Guardian of Valor site for trying to keep the truth alive.

  • steph6449

    Whether it is this guy or Idol who distorted / made up the facts, ugh ugh ugh (ugh). 

    Just to make my opinion as a former Army officer really clear lol.

  • Natalie Blake

    I knew there was something skeevy about this guy. Glad he’s gone!

  • Karen C

    The moral of the story is that Idol, and all of these reality shows, really need to fact check ANY back story before using it on air.

    Or they could just start focusing on musical ability instead of backstories again.  That would eliminate the need to have to determine if the contestant is lying or not.