TMZ reports that American Idol top 12 contestant Jermaine Jones will be kicked off tonight’s show, after producers learned that he lied about having outstanding warrants and being arrested twice last year. He’s not the first contestant to lie about his past: In 2003, Corey Clark got the boot for not disclosing that he had a police record; that same year, Frenchie Davis was disqualified for topless photos she had taken years prior.
But what seems to set Jermaine’s story apart is a detail we noted in the TMZ article (emphasis ours):
As we first reported, producers discovered Tuesday that Jermaine had lied about his criminal history and that triggered the decision to confront him on camera Tuesday afternoon.
Why not carry out Jermaine’s disqualification in private and then let the press interview him and the producers? Why incorporate that footage into tonight’s show? Because Idol‘s ratings are dropping: Last week it lost out to CBS’ sitcom The Big Bang Theory. It’s not that difficult, then, to imagine those same producers who decided to cut Jermaine determining just how they’ll do so, and how his disqualification can most benefit them.
They’ve already manipulated Jermaine’s involvement on the show somewhat. According to Billboard, on Tuesday night (hours after the producers confronted him on-camera) Jermaine tweeted from his official Idol account, I will no longer b on the show. Both his tweet and the account were later deleted.
Incorporating the confrontation into tonight’s drama is the only way that the producers can look to profit from Jermaine leaving. Thanks to the speed of the internet news cycle, Idol fans already know that he’s gone. It didn’t take TMZ long to jump from the rumor that a contestant had been cut to identifying him as Jermaine. The only hold the producers have now is to tease us with this footage.
And after all, it is kind of intriguing: What will the producers look like? I can’t help but imagine some Men-in-Black types in suits and shades dragging Jermaine off the stage, but it will probably look a little less dramatic than that.
We can’t find any evidence of the Idol producers confronting Frenchie on-camera, although she did do this post-disqualification interview on Entertainment Tonight shortly thereafter. And guess who interviewed her? Why, judge Paula Abdul—a shrewd choice so that Idol could enforce its family-friendly mentality while still seeming like a bleeding heart. (The way that Frenchie says that “they” got rid of her makes it sound like she’s talking more about the producers than the judges.)
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Update: Jermaine actually fled to Philadelphia last night, eliminating the chance of him appearing live on tonight’s show. But we assume they’ll still show the footage of them booting him off in the first place.