Nine black ex-contestants are planning to sue American Idol, claiming the contestants’ criminal backgrounds were exploited for publicity and they they were explicitly targeted due to their race. Via TMZ
But Season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle adamantly disagrees, telling TMZ, “It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the ‘Idol’ team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification.”
Season 4 finalist Vonzell Solomon adds, “I didn’t experience any of that [racial discrimination] … all of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past.”
Two other former contestants — Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks and Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams — also agree.
Casey says, “I don’t know why they are biting the hand that fed them. Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I’m not sure about racist.”
Taylor — whose Vegas show is still going strong — adds, “American Idol is for everyone. All walks of life go through the show. Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone. It’s all about the votes.
Only contestants who aren’t in a position to milk the Idol machine are going to get caught up in this mess of a lawsuit. Although, if Ju’Not Joyner were smarter, (he was not disqualified, and has a decent singing voice) he might have been able to leverage his Idol ties. Now, even The Voice probably wouldn’t go near him.