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'Idol' Finalists


1/27/2013 1:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Four "American Idol" finalists from different seasons -- two of whom are black -- insist the singing competition is many things ... but racist is NOT one of them.

TMZ broke the story ... nine black ex-contestants are planning to sue "Idol" producers, claiming the contestants were publicly disqualified based on their dubious criminal backgrounds ... solely because they're African-American.

But Season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle adamantly disagrees, telling TMZ, "It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the 'Idol' team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification."

Season 4 finalist Vonzell Solomon adds, "I didn’t experience any of that [racial discrimination] ... all of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past."

Two other former contestants -- Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks and Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams -- also agree.

Casey says, "I don't know why they are biting the hand that fed them. Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I'm not sure about racist."

Taylor -- whose Vegas show is still going strong -- adds, "American Idol is for everyone.  All walks of life go through the show.  Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone.  It’s all about the votes."

FYI -- "Idol" has had three black winners in its history ... Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.

Fox and "Idol" producers have yet to respond to the allegations.


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Im not gonna lie I'm black but sometimes I do hate when our ppl call everything racist every time a white person say or do something. Don't get me wrong there are still a lot of racist ppl that do mean HARM with their statements or words. But it's 2013 if we let words or statements that are or seem racist then ppl gonna keep using them because they see it get under our skin. It's 2013 nobody need to be racist anymore it's pointless

603 days ago


Wow! I'll admit I'm not from the USA. Just reading all the comments here and what I'm feeling is there is a growing amount of grudges from blacks to whites and vice versa. All those shows on tv about how the American people are united together must be false. Martin Luther king has failed. God bless america

603 days ago

Faith A.    

Jordin Sparks isn't really a black contestant. She's not marketed as an African-American artist.

603 days ago


I think idol is racist

603 days ago


@cuttycain ... I understand how you feel about the problems blacks have had over the years. That was then and this is now. Everyone has a chance to make something of themselves in today's world.. I had nothing to do with what happened to blacks in the past. It's a shame but I was never part of it or believed in it...we have to stop hanging on and blaming everyone now for it. .. There were white slaves as well as black..I'm not moaning about that either. I've never been predjudice in my life..and yes, I have many black friends..none who would want to scream racist over the least little or big thing such as lying about a criminal record which would automatically eliminate them from participating on that reality show. There are all kinds of people in this world in every color..not all good, not all bad. I'm simply not interested in defending people (of any color) who aren't responsible for their own actions. The race card is a cheap excuse and has been for quite some time now. You'd feel the same way if white's constantly used it to gain something they're not entitled to.

603 days ago


Uh oh, don't look now but it's token winners to the rescue for damage control. Still, why were all those guys only investigated and fact checked after they made it on the show? Was it so that they could later be dumped for news and ratings? If the show is not racist, the forest for the trees is just as bad. In 11 years AI as a rule has practiced vocal discrimination by only allowing, promoting or rewarding two main types of singing styles---
R&B and country---regardless of music or song genre. As if in the history of American music there are only 2 ways of singing. What this amounts to is taste discrimination or musical fascism. And that is why the average AI winner has a career that often winds up in the CD bargain bin and pop music has sucked for the past dozen years. Explain that, damage controllers.

603 days ago


Cuttycain..'re an idiot. National welfare stats: 36.8% blacks, 31.2 white. And there are far more white people in the US. BLACKS MAKE UP ONLY 13% of the US population, whites nearly 67% . So you are less than one fifth of the population yet you account for over a third of the welfare recipients. Stop getting your info from the huffington post and the obama website.

603 days ago


When all else fails, play the race card. They're hoping for an out-of-court setlement, of course, banking that Idol will pay up just to make the story go away. I'm no fan of "American Idol", but if they pay a penny to these goldbricks they're crazy.

603 days ago


This lawsuit is bogus.. If these participants really did withhold their criminal background, then they got what they deserved.. and should feel sorry that they took someone else's place in the competition ---who played by the rules.. I hate the racial blurbs on this website, because it always drums up so much viciousness..


I will say that the lawyer should have steered clear of Corey Clark.. The guy doesn't have a good rep..and just by him being a part of the lawsuit -- makes it a lot weaker.. He has made a lot of outrageous claims in which I don't think many people believe... The lawyer should've been more picky when included certain contestants..

603 days ago


Elton John stated this years ago when Jennifer Hudson was elimated. It was the last season they allowed guest judges to sit on the panel.

603 days ago

Chris Kaman Your Eye    

Vonzell looks like a transvestite in that pic

603 days ago

Hannah Bakk    

Ohh sooooo racist! look at all the white judges! Effing attention as always.

603 days ago


On any form that asks for my race, I check OTHER and write in HUMAN. Even on the Census!! It's time to stop dividing ourselves by RACE and start UNITING ourselves as human beings. If you are decended from slavery, YOU are one of the LUCKY ones. Entire generations, entire families, were wiped off the face of the earth by the hideousness that was slavery, but your ancestors with astounding perseverance lived and their children and their children down to YOU. They fought for freedom and won. They fought for civil rights and won. And ALL Americans voted a black man President of the United States. President Obama's voter support was 56% white, 24% black, 14% Latino, 4% Asian, 2% other. We are Americans. I have no respect for those that continually attempt to divide us whether white or black.

603 days ago


@drica ... I'm an idiot? ... you're only talking about yourself ... and from the looks of most of your comments it seems to me that bitter people like you are one of the main reasons this world has been slow to change for the better.. If your past has made your future then you must have lived a very sad life...a life you're not willing to change, something you're quite capable of doing if you want it. I feel sorry for you.

603 days ago


This lawyer has latched on to these former contestants because HE thinks he can make a fortune by suing IDOL and FOX. He already admitted the lawsuit was his idea after he heard about Jermaine Jones being kicked off March 15, 2012.

The contestants named in this suit are from 6 separate seasons – 2002 and up. HE called THEM and asked if they wanted to be part of it for free. It’s like dangling a carrot – hey – join us and maybe win a ton of money – I only get paid if the case is won or settled out of court – win-win for them!

BUT, here’s the kicker:
This lawyer, James H. Freeman, is the SAME guy who represented Corey Clark – who is also named in THIS lawsuit - when he sued MTV Networks for 42 million in a libel lawsuit on July 5, 2012. Freeman’s website seems to claim he won that lawsuit, yet I could not find any info to confirm it.

If Corey’s lawsuit is for 42 million (the claim is an MTV News Correspondent called Clark a liar and called for a boycott of his music), how much will this one be – 500 million? Perhaps it's this 'white' lawyer that is actually pulling the race card?

603 days ago
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