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'American Idol' Bankruptcy I Wrote 'No Air' But Got No Cash ... Now Pay Me!

11/30/2016 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1128_american_idol_composite"American Idol" producers are a sleazy, money-hogging bunch who made MILLIONS off the back of one songwriter who never got her cut ... so claims the lady in new legal docs.

A woman named Molasses Jones claims she wrote Jordin Sparks' "No Air" but never saw a dime, so she filed a claim in the reality show's bankruptcy case ... asking for a whopping $24 million bucks.

Jones says producers somehow got access to her private journals and stole lyrics she wrote long before Jordin joined the show.

Jones wants a slice of the millions 'Idol' made from "No Air."

And she's not stopping there -- Jones is also staking claim to some other pop tunes, including "No One" and "Single Ladies." We checked ... she's not credited as a writer on any of those tracks.

We've reached out to 'Idol' brass ... but they're slow as molasses.

'American Idol' Finalist Gets a Month in Jail Judges Hate No-Shows

11/2/2016 12:44 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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"American Idol" finalist Curtis "C.J." Harris is back behind bars -- and will be for the next month -- all because he claims he mixed up his dates. 

Law enforcement officials in Alabama tell TMZ ... Harris turned himself in Monday after an arrest warrant was issued due to his skipping out on a court date last month. 

Harris was supposed to be in court Oct. 27 for his drug arrest, but we're told he claims he confused that for another date. We broke the story ... Harris was arrested in an undercover drug bust for selling oxycodone and marijuana. He's facing 3 felonies.

Harris will now be held without bail until a hearing later this month.

'American Idol' Finalist Busted In Undercover Drug Sting

10/7/2016 3:34 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1007-harris-mug-01"American Idol" finalist Curtis "C.J." Harris was arrested in an undercover drug bust for allegedly selling oxycodone and marijuana. 

Law enforcement officials in Alabama tell us Harris was arrested Thursday after allegedly selling drugs to a confidential informant. 

Harris was hit with 3 counts of felony distribution of a controlled substance. We're told he's still in custody and is being held on a $90k bond.

Harris finished 6th during season 13 of the show ... Caleb Johnson took home the crown that year. 

'Idol' Champ Phillip Phillips Gone, Gone, Gone ... My Bike is Gone!!!

6/19/2016 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Phillip Phillips isn't feeling jiffy these days, because someone brazenly stole his prized bike ... and it was all caught on video.

The "American Idol" winner went to a Burbank recording studio Tuesday night and his crew unloaded some equipment ... but left some outside the building in what they thought was a secure area. Hours later, a prowler lurked, spotted the $800 GT mountain bike and pedaled away.

The thief probably didn't know his every move was captured on video, but there's a problem. The video is so dark it's almost impossible to ID the culprit.

If you see a suspicious man on a fancy bike, call the police immediately.  

Constantine Maroulis Baby Mama Arrested During Kid Handoff

6/17/2016 8:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0617-constantine-maroulis-angel-reed-tmz-instagram"American Idol" alum Constantine Maroulis and his baby mama got into another physical fight, but this time SHE got hauled away in handcuffs ... TMZ has learned.

Angel Reed says she went to pick up their 5-year-old daughter from Constantine's house, and he started harassing her by recording video on his phone. She claims they got into an argument, and then it got physical.

According to docs obtained by TMZ ... Angel says she grabbed Constantine's phone, and he threw her down on the ground. She ran out of the house and called police, but when officers arrived they say Constantine had scratches on his chest ... so Angel got arrested.

She claims she only scratched Constantine in self-defense --still, she was booked for petty disorderly person.

Last August it was Constantine who got arrested for allegedly kicking Angel in the groin. He also claimed self-defense. That case was eventually dismissed.

'American Idol' Producers Phillip Phillips Is Holding $1 Million Of OUR Money!

6/2/2016 1:45 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0602_phillip-phillips_american_idol_TMZPhillip Phillips is deep in the doghouse with "American Idol" ... which says he owes them a ton of cash, and he's been holding out on them for years.

19 Entertainment, which produces 'Idol,' also manages Phillips and the other winners. According to the suit filed against Phillips ... he's not paying up for 19's managerial services. The company says he's withholding about a million bucks -- and they want it now.

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, 19 says the 2012 'Idol' champ stopped paying management fees when he filed a 2015 complaint with the Labor Commission -- begging out of his contract, claiming it violated California law.

That dispute hasn't been settled -- it was delayed when 19 filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The company thinks Phillips should pay up the money now because it still has a valid contract with him until a court says otherwise.

19 is suing Phillips for more than $5 million, saying he also owes for several other deals it has with him. Phillip's lawyer says 19's merely taking advantage of its bankruptcy status to block the singer's fight to get out of his deal.

'American Idol' Finalist Killed In Car Crash

5/6/2016 9:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0506-ricky-smith-crash-fox-01Former "American Idol" finalist Rickey Smith was killed Thursday night in a multi-car highway wreck in Oklahoma.

Smith was on I-240 just outside Oklahoma City when, according to reports, another man driving the wrong way on the interstate slammed head-on into Smith's vehicle. Cops say the other driver was hospitalized and booked for DUI.

Smith competed on the second season of 'Idol,' and finished in eighth place. Ruben Studdard took the title that year.

Rickey was 36. 

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'American Idol' Parent Company Goes Bankrupt Show Became a Money Pit

4/28/2016 11:06 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0428_american_idol_so_you_think_you_can_dance_gettyThe media giant behind "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" has filed for bankruptcy, and part of the problem is ... 'Idol' was hemorrhaging money in its final seasons. 

Core Media Group filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday morning saying it's several hundred million dollars in the hole, and needs to reorganize its debts. Core and all its subsidiaries say they have $73 million in assets, but more than $512 million in debt. 

One of its biggest creditors is 'Idol' creator Simon Fuller, who is owed more than $3.3 million. Several law firms and music labels, as well as the FOX Network are also owed dough.

Core Media's filing includes many of its holdings, including 19 Entertainment which owns the recording rights of 'Idol' superstars like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

In the bankruptcy docs, Core says revenue started sliding after 2012 when 'Idol' ratings started declining. For instance in 2014, earnings dropped $15 million from the previous year.

Simon Cowell No Marriage Talk In Front of My Baby Mama!!

4/8/2016 6:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Simon Cowell got put on blast when a paparazzo dared to bring up the "M" word while Simon's girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, was feet away -- and you gotta see the ex-'Idol' judge's reaction.

Truth is ... this clip is weird all around. Cowell was partying at Ago in West Hollywood after the "American Idol" finale, but did NOT seem like the guy America came to love/hate.

He talked about crappy old 'Idol' wannabes, replacing Howard Stern and even baby diapers -- and not ONE negative word from the guy ... until the whole marriage thing came up.

Watch ... there's still a little of old Simon in there.

'American Idol' Series Finale Hung, Dunkleman Returning!!

4/5/2016 12:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0805_William-Hung_Brian-Dunkleman_gettyTwo people responsible for putting "American Idol" on the map are definitely returning for the final shows, and we don't mean Kelly Clarkson and Simon Cowell.

Yes, they'll be there too ... but more importantly, original 'Idol' co-host Brian Dunkleman will open the show and crowd favorite William Hung will sing on Thursday's series finale ... TMZ has learned.

That's not all ... we're told the show's trying to bring back every 'AI' winner and most of the top 3 from all 15 seasons for a big performance. No small feat, considering some of the superstars that would involve.

Clarkson's appearance will be pre-taped since she's about to pop with baby number 2.

On the host side ... we're told Simon's a shoo-in -- along with Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson -- even though he's claimed it wouldn't fit in his schedule.

We're told the plan is he'll surprise Ryan Seacrest. Oops. 

J Lo Hang Loose

3/11/2016 9:59 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

031116-jennifer-lopez-ugly-dress-wennThe usually flawless Jennifer Lopez finally made a questionable wardrobe decision during a recent taping of "American Idol."

The color screams failed bridesmaid dress -- and it's way too loose on her -- but thankfully the curves underneath are still 100% Jenny from the block. 

Kelly Clarkson Disneyland Trek Before Baby Drop

2/25/2016 11:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0225_kelly_clarkson_disney_launch_3Kelly Clarkson was a trooper Wednesday, braving the crowds and the 80 degree heat as she trudged through Disneyland ... 9 months pregnant!

Kelly hit all the hots spots ... Small World, Autopia, Tomorrowland, the works. She had a VIP handler but no entourage.

Kelly's due any day. What we don't know ... whether she's walking a lot to induce labor.  

Assuming all the walking didn't do the trick, she's supposed to appear as a guest judge and performer Thursday night on "American Idol."

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Ungrateful Clay Aiken Trashes 'American Idol'

1/7/2016 6:03 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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Clay Aiken went on an incredibly bitchy tirade Wednesday night, zeroing in on "American Idol," the show that made him famous and gave him opportunities.

The second place, second season contestant went on a Twitter rant, starting with a high school-like diss ... "Watching @americanidol for the first time in a decade," suggesting he's been too busy.

He goes on ... "Well .... now I know why the ratings are down."

It didn't stop there ... Aiken mused, "Oh good Lord ... those boring ass responses from the judges? Where is Simon when you need him. That guy need a hook to pull him off stage."

And then there's this ... "I've watched root canals more entertaining than these judges."

And he ends this way ... "When your favorite team that you've cheered for years happens to play a s****y game, you're absolutely allowed to be upset by it." Interesting he's cheered, because he started by saying he hasn't bothered to watch the show in 10 years.

Gratitude ... it's not for everyone.

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