Akron Watson disqualified from 'American Idol 6' Hollywood round
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/08/2007
Akron Watson had a golden ticket in hand during Tuesday night's American Idol broadcast of auditions from San Antonio -- but the 23-year-old Dallas-born singer won't be appearing in the Hollywood Round.
Less than a week before he was scheduled to travel to Los Angeles for the next level of the reality competition series, the Dallas-Fort Worth Pegasus News local news service reported Watson received a "disturbing phone call" from a representative of the Fox mega-hit.
"They said we're not going to let you go. And I asked 'why?' And he said, 'Well I'm not really sure,'" Watson told Pegasus News in an article published last week. "And then he gave me some alternatives for what I should say to people if they asked why I was kicked off... he told me to tell people that I was now an alternate... that would protect me and protect the show."
According to Pegasus News' report, Watson was arrested in April 2003 for misdemeanor possession of marijuana -- the only thing that would seem to explain why he was uninvited from Idol's Hollywood Round. However Watson said while being interviewed by a production crew for an Idol 6 feature, he disclosed information that included "his days of skipping school, chasing girls, drinking, and even pleading guilty to possession of marijuana after a police officer found no more than a doobie's worth of pot in his car," Pegasus News reported.
"We talked about everything," Akron told Pegasus News, adding that he also informed Idol producers about his brother dying and his "dedication to being a good Christian from that day forth." "I was completely open about my background, any trouble I had been in, my medical history -- everything! They ask all that information before you audition," Watson told People on Wednesday.
During the San Antonio auditions for Idol 6, Watson sang Sam Cooke's "Change is Gonna Come" and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." While Randy Jackson wasn't sold on Watson, fellow Idol judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell gave him the green light to the show's Hollywood round, which was filmed in December.
"I think that was like the triumph of my life," Watson told Pegasus News.
In the weeks following Watson's interview with Idol's production crew, he said he received "numerous emails" from Idol producers with information about his trip to Los Angeles for the next round. Understandably growing more excited, Watson said it wasn't until he received a call a week before he was supposed to board a plane for Hollywood informing him he would no longer be featured on the series' sixth season.
Pegasus News reported it spoke with Idol publicist Alex Gillespie twice to see "if the show had any official explanation" for the decision. Gillespie allegedly said "she would find out exactly what happened" before later apologizing and stating "that the show would not ever be giving a reason for Watson's elimination from the competition," according to Pegasus News. People also reported that Fox had no comment on the reason Watson was told he wouldn't be going to Hollywood.
Watson is currently enrolled as a full-time student at Collin County College in Texas, according to People, and isn't "giving up on his Idol dreams." He's created his own myspace.com page to pick up support for his story and is also asking people to sign a petition to help him get another chance.
"I earned my way in, and [they] knew about my background, I have no clue why [they] wouldn't let me go and perform," Watson told People. "It seems like I deserve that opportunity. I still want to know why it is I've been cut. And I still want the opportunity to be on American Idol."