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Driven Out

''Idol'' contestant is booted after DUI arrest. Donnie Williams, cited for suspicion of drunk driving on Monday, is no longer in the final 32

Guess it was only a matter of time before one of this season's ''American Idol'' wannabes made headlines because of a brush with the law. In this case, it was finalist Donnie Williams, who celebrated his advancement to the next round by allegedly getting drunk and speeding at 100 miles an hour. He was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on Monday, TV Guide Online reports, and by Wednesday, producers had booted him from the show. ''While understanding that Donnie has not been convicted of a crime, the producers and network feel that the nature of the charges against him warrant his disqualification,'' producers said in a statement.

Williams, 20, was pulled over early Monday in Danville, Calif. Police said the Livermore, Calif., resident told them he'd come from a party to celebrate his ''Idol'' achievement. ''You're ruining my life,'' he reportedly told police. Maybe Williams had an inkling of how producers would react to his arrest; after all, last year, they booted two contestants who were revealed to have pending assault charges against them, not to mention Frenchie Davis, who'd modeled for a raunchy website. (On the other hand, producers did not oust finalist Trenyce, despite a theft conviction, because they said she'd been up front with them about it.)

Williams was initially scheduled to perform again next week. Instead, contestant George Huff, a 23-year-old from New Orleans, will get the slot. Williams did not appear in the promo clip at the end of Wednesday's ''Idol'' broadcast, and all mention of Williams has been scrubbed from the ''Idol'' website. However, producers said Williams was welcome to ''try out for the show again next season.''

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Originally posted Feb 26, 2004