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'Idol' Reject Files Lawsuit -- Third Time's a Charm!

1/29/2011 9:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Former "American Idol" contestant Ian Benardo is trying his luck again ... suing the show for discrimination for the third time -- but this time, he's asking for a lot less money.

Ian Benardo American Idol
Benardo has filed this suit twice before -- claiming "Idol" producers "exploited" his sexual orientation by asking him to "gay it up" on their show -- and it was tossed out on a technicality each time.

This time Benardo and his lawyer, Matthew Blit, think they have their ducks in a row and filed the suit again in federal court on Friday.

But get this ... the first time Benardo sued for $300 million, the second time he asked for $100 million, and this time ... he's asking for just $5 million.

If this gets tossed out again, the next lawsuit will be for bus fare.




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