'American Idol 6' producer sheds some light on Akron Watson's ouster
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/09/2007
Akron Watson is still wondering why his golden ticket isn't a valid pass to the Hollywood Round of American Idol's sixth season -- and unfortunately for the 23-year-old Dallas, TX singer -- Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe couldn't provide a definitive answer.
"We are informed at the end of the day [by Fox] that you can't invite this person or persons, and we don't ask why," Lythgoe told reporters during a conference call on Thursday, according to Newsday. "To be frank, we're not interested [in why]. If Fox believes it will damage the show... then it's best they just don't come along."
"The fact is that we do do background checks," Lythgoe explained to reporters. "I think it's very essential. We're putting these kids together in a very close environment and we're working them very hard and it's essential that we know that we've got the right people together. So FOX got on with this, along with this private security firm and after that I can't give you any other information, because I don't want to know."
Last November -- less than a week before he was scheduled to travel to Los Angeles for the next level of Idol -- Watson reportedly received a phone call from a representative of the Fox mega-hit telling him he wasn't being let through despite receiving a golden ticket from Idol judges during Tuesday night's broadcast of auditions from San Antonio. It's been reported that 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.
So if Watson was told last November he wasn't going to Hollywood, why was his audition still part of Tuesday night's broadcast?
"Because it was a very important part of the show that week, it showed something that was unique. ... [Viewers] have got another 174 people to get invested in," Lythgoe told reporters during the conference call, according to an article published on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's website. "I don't want to cut out what is a good story for that show. ... Investing in [Watson] at that point is what I'd like you to do. I would've liked to have done that with a lot of other people who are going to disappear during Hollywood week."
Lythgoe added he could only conjure up one possible scenario that would have kept Watson off the air -- and it was far worse than being arrested for possession of pot.
"If he'd have murdered someone, we might've thought twice," Lythgoe told reporters. "We would certainly attempt to stop him being on television."