Ah, American Idol. One of the only programs on television that manages to anger audiences even after the show has wrapped. As previously reported, season 9 winner Lee DeWyze and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe have engaged in a Twitter argument over the fact that DeWyze did not participate in the season 10 finale. (Lythgoe claimed he was too “shy” to get involved; DeWyze shot back that he wasn’t asked until two minutes before the show announced the winner. “I didnt feel a last second jump on stage was appropriate. It was Scotty’s moment,” he tweeted.) But DeWyze is hardly the first person to feud with the program that shot him into the spotlight – here are some other former contestants and Idol personalities who have taken on Idol, and which side came out on top.
Corey Clark vs. Idol: Clark’s feud with Idol came in two parts: First, the season 2 contestant was booted from the show after he did not disclose his arrest record. (He was booked in 2002 for resisting arrest, battery upon his sister, and criminal restraint after an incident at his home.) Then, two years later, the former contestant claimed that he had been in a three-month long relationship with Paula Abdul during the filming of the show. Idol denied the claims, and Abdul even appeared on Saturday Night Live to lampoon Clark’s accusations. Winner: Idol and Abdul, thanks to a sense of humor.
Frenchie Davis vs. Idol: Despite her early frontrunner status, Davis was disqualified from Idol back in season 2 for a series of topless photos that surfaced on the Web. Davis, however, truly became angry years later in 2007, when risqué photos of season 6 contestant Antonella Barba also hit the Internet – and Idol neglected to eliminate her from the family program. Davis told the New York Post, “I couldn’t help but notice the difference between the manner in which she was dealt with and how I was dealt with … I think it’s fantastic if Idol has evolved, and I think it’s fantastic she won’t have to go through what I went through four years ago. But if the rules have changed, I believe there should be something to make up for the fact that I was humiliated needlessly.” At the time, Fox said in response that it did not want to “revisit history.” Winner: Anyone but America. Because we had to sit through this.
Kelly Clarkson vs. Idol collaborator and RCA Chairman Clive Davis: Prior to Clarkson’s release of her third album, My December, the season 1 winner clashed with Davis over its artistic direction, and publicly expressed her disappointment in intervening execs. Clarkson told Elle: “I could give a crap about being a star … My resistance upsets a lot of people, because we could make a lot of money … I’m just not comfortable doing things that don’t feel like me.” Davis also found a very public way to reply to Clarkson, making a speech during Idol’s season 6’s finale that lauded the current work of every other Idol contestant… except Clarkson. Winner: Idol and Clive Davis. Shortly thereafter, Clarkson posted her regrets about the feud on her website: “I’m well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time. He has been a key advisor and has been an important force in my success to date. He has also given me respect by releasing my new album when he was not obligated to do so. I really regret how everything has turned out and I apologize to those whom I have done disservice.”
Paula Abdul vs. Idol: Revving up to season 9 of Idol, rumors swirled that the show’s dizzy judge had yet to reach a contract agreement with the show. And, lo and behold, her manager told The Times that it was unlikely that she would return, thanks to the holdup. David Sonenberg told the Los Angeles Times, “Very sadly, it does not appear that she’s going to be back on Idol … I find it under these circumstances particularly unusual; I think unnecessarily hurtful … I find it kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful that they haven’t stepped up and said what they want to do.” Winner: Abdul. Not only did Ellen DeGeneres’ ill-advised turn as judge only serve to remind us how much we loved the “Straight Up” singer, but Abdul also got to avoid Tim Urban. Plus, she’s now landed a pretty plum gig.
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