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'Idol' Threat

Marine ''Idol'' finalist may get called to duty. If his unit is deployed, Joshua Gracin will have 24 hours to drop out of the competition and report to base

Joshua Gracin | MARINE LIFE Gracin may be called to duty
MARINE LIFE Gracin may be called to duty

''American Idol'' finalist Joshua Gracin may get voted off the show -- by the Marines. According to the Los Angeles Times, there's a slim but real possibility that the singing lance corporal's unit will be deployed to the war, and that his service support group may have to go along.

In January, the Marine Corps denied reports that Gracin had been given an exemption to compete on ''Idol,'' saying that, while it recognized the publicity and recruiting value of his appearances on the show, his 1st Service Support Group was stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego anyway and not scheduled for deployment. That may change, however, and Gracin might have to report for duty within 24 hours of being called up. Even so, Marines spokesman Staff Sgt. Chad McMeen told the Times, ''Within each unit is a section that might not be called up, and Joshua belongs to one of those sections.''

''Idol'' producers have told Gracin that if he does have to drop out of the competition in order to serve, he can come back next season and be an automatic finalist. And if he's voted off by viewers, he told the Times, he'll return to base and ''continue to work on my music career.''

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Originally posted Mar 26, 2003