It’s official — Top 12 “American Idol” finalist Jermaine Jones has been disqualified from the FOX reality competition due to outstanding warrants.
Ryan Seacrest hinted at the opening of the show that the revelation was coming.
“Throughout the years, this show has not been without its fair share of controversy. And tonight is no exception. With the cooperation of law enforcement, we discovered information that left us with no choice, but to eliminate one of our finalists from the competition,” he said.
But it wasn’t until 1 hour and 18 minutes into the broadcast – after seven contestants performed songs released the year they were born — that “Idol” finally rolled out footage from the confrontation between “Idol” executive producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe and Jones on Tuesday afternoon.
“In March of last year, you were charged — criminally charged – [with] giving a fake name to police of Joel Jones. In November of last year again, you were criminally charged and you gave them a fake name of Kareem Watkins. You didn’t disclose those charges to us,” Lythgoe told Jones, who sat facing the execs.
Warwick said “Idol” had learned of “four active warrants” out for the singer, something which “surprised” the team.
“We’re not judgmental at all,” Warwick continued. “Lots of kids come to us that have problems. It’s part and parcel of what kids go through today and we know that. If they come clean with us and they tell us at the beginning, we can help them.”
Lythgoe then asked Jones to explain one of the situations they heard about, where he was accused of being involved in a fight.
“It wasn’t a fight,” Jones said. “I wasn’t fighting. What happened was, I fell down steps, carrying my bags and the police and the paramedics came because I actually couldn’t walk. I have screws in my foot,” he said.
Asked to explain why he was charged, Jones claimed it was down to a verbal fracas.
“Me and one of my other friends had a disagreement, but it wasn’t like there was any fist fighting or any like, you know, anything like that,” he said.
The singer said he was “scared” and “nervous” to reveal the information before, and hoped he could “just pay it and get it taken care of.”
Lythgoe said due to the warrants against Jones, he had to be disqualified.
“The fact is, we are not allowed to have anybody that has an outstanding warrant against them on the program. And you’ve got four of them against you,” he said.
“You’ve put us in a very delicate position, really,” Warwick added.
Both producers complimented Jones on his last rehearsal for the show – he was to perform “Somewhere Out There” from 1986’s “An American Tale.”
“We just both listened to you sing, and you are absolutely fantastic,” Lythgoe said.
“That’s the best song you have ever sung. It’s fabulous,” Warwick added.
“Idol” then cut to footage of Jones leaving, playing his rehearsal of the number — and with that, Jones’ “Idol” journey came to an end.
-- Jolie Lash