The long-running singing competition American Idol is no stranger to scandal. Over the years, there have been many instances where contestants, and even winners, turned out to have some questionable incidents in their past. When American Idol has decided that action needed to be taken, it was always handled tastefully. However, this season, it turns out that one of the 12 finalists, a fellow named Jermaine Jones, was involved in some less-than-glamorous situations as recently as last year that resulted in him having several outstanding warrants for his arrest. American Idol producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe decided to terminate Jermaine from the competition, citing a rule that contestants on the show cannot participate if they have outstanding warrants (a good general all-around rule, don’t you think?). So far, so good, right? Here’s where the conspiracy kicks in.
American Idol decided to take advantage of the incident. From the opening moments of the live show, American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest revealed that someone would be disqualified from the show with his usual dramatic flourish. To make it a little juicier, he included a bit about law enforcement being involved. Then, the show spent an hour and a half going on as normal, waiting to use the disqualification as a teaser until the end. Then, Jermaine Jones’ dismissal was shown on live television. He sat down with Ken and Nigel and tried to explain why he did not tell them about these things in the beginning. The conversation worked its way up to the grand finale when the producers actually revealed that not only had he been involved in some criminal activities as early as last year, but he actually had four outstanding warrants for his arrest right now. The only way the folks at American Idol could have managed to make it any more dramatic is if they had law enforcement on hand to haul Jones away on live television. Ryan Seacrest would have loved to narrate that play-by-play.
It’s no secret that American Idol is struggling in the ratings this year. Part of the decline is a product of its own success. American Idol was the lightning rod for a myriad of other singing competitions, some successful and some not so much. Now, American Idol faces direct competition by NBC’s “The Voice” and “The X Factor,” which is produced by popular former Idol judge Simon Cowell. And with the cupcake judges of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler, a lot of people are tuning out or looking elsewhere for their musical fix. Still, Idol stooped to a new low, exploiting a situation like this to the max to try to get some more ratings.
If all that isn’t bad enough, it’s a well known fact that American Idol performs extensive background checks on contestants. So how could Jermaine Jones slip through all of this with actual outstanding arrest warrants? An ordinary citizen could find out that information with much less power and resources than a show like American Idol. Something smells funny here. Could it be that the producers thought up this grand drama from the beginning? Did they let Jermaine through so that they could have an ace up their sleeve if ratings were not good enough? The conspiracy theories are on. What do you think?