Though it’s probably no consolation, Chris Golightly has plenty of company in the ranks of “American Idol” hopefuls who’ve been disqualified from the show after making it through the grueling Hollywood rounds.
Golightly was cryptically DQ’d from the show on Wednesday — despite appearing in the group shot of the top 24 near the show’s end — after producers determined that he was “ineligible” to continue in the competition. According to reports, the former foster child was unable to clear up a discrepancy about a former contract and was replaced by floppy-haired Tim Urban at the last minute. No mention was made on the show about the disqualification, nor about the rumored elimination of burly personal trainer Michael Lynche , who appeared to make the top 24 despite reports that he would be asked to leave after his dad blabbed to a Florida paper about his son’s Hollywood adventure.
With his defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, Golightly joins a long list of “Idol” semifinalists and finalists who’ve been asked to leave the show before their time for various reasons. Last year it was Joanna Pacitti , the former Broadway star of “Annie” and major-label washout who made it to the top 36, only to be replaced after it was reported that she had some close personal relationships with executives at 19 Management, one of the companies that produces the show and manages some of the winners.
Season-two top 32 finalist Jaered Andrews was tossed from the show after producers learned of his arrest on misdemeanor assault in connection with a bar fight that ended in a man’s death. That same season, top-10 finalist Corey Clark also got booted when producers found out about a past assault allegation involving the singer’s sister — not to mention an alleged indiscretion with former judge Paula Abdul that he claimed after the fact. Frenchie Davis was also asked to leave in season two, when it emerged that she’d posed topless on an adult Web site that advertised pictures of underage girls. Several seasons later, racy pictures of season-six finalist Antonella Barba surfaced — including some of her cavorting around a veteran’s memorial in a wet T-shirt — but the buxom beauty managed to stick around and place 16th before getting dumped on her poor singing alone.
Though she made it into the top 10 in season seven, sixth-place finisher Carly Smithson (née Hennessy) , was tossed from season five after making it to Hollywood because of purported visa issues. Season five also brought an early end of the line for the seemingly promising Brittenum twins, Terrell and Derrell , who were asked to depart after making it to Hollywood when it was revealed they’d been charged with identity theft and fraud in connection with a car deal gone wrong.
Season three was not without controversy either, as top 32 finalist Donnie Williams was shown the door following an arrest on suspicion of drunk driving while celebrating of his then-upcoming Hollywood-round debut.
But a questionable past doesn’t mean automatic elimination from the show. Season one’s Nikki McKibbin was not DQ’d for working as a stripper before joining the show, and in season two, singer Trenyce fessed up to producers about a felony theft charge on her record and was allowed to continue singing. Season-seven 12th-place finisher David Hernandez go-go danced at a gay bar in Phoenix, Arizona, called Dick’s Cabaret and though producers didn’t seem to mind, he was voted off just as that fact surfaced. Season four’s Scott Savol stayed on the show even after news emerged about a past domestic violence arrest. Bo Bice told producers about his past arrests for felony cocaine possession in 2001 and marijuana possession in 2003, and he almost made it to the finish line in season four.
Season five’s Bucky Covington made a strong run in the finals and was eliminated over his singing shortly after news broke that he’d been arrested in 1998 for trying to impersonate his twin brother, Rocky, to help his sibling avoid prosecution on a suspended-license charge.
And then there are the contestants who don’t get booted, but quit anyway, like season four’s top12 finisher Mario Vazquez , who left the show after saying “it wasn’t right for me,” seemingly to pursue a solo career that never quite materialized.
What do you think about Chris Golightly’s disqualification? Do “Idol” producers seem reasonable when it comes to choosing who stays and who goes? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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