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'American Idol' finalists come to show's defense against racism allegations


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/28/2013 

American Idol finalists are coming to the show's defense in light of recent news the reality singing competition may be getting sued for racism.

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After reports surfaced last week that nine former American Idol contestants -- who all happen to be black -- are joining forces to sue the show alleging they were all kicked off Idol due to a racist ploy to increase ratings, former finalists Melinda Doolittle, Vonzell Solomon -- who are both black women -- Taylor Hicks, and Casey Abrams have come forward in protest, TMZ reported.

"It is shocking to see such allegations. In my experience on the show, the Idol team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification," Doolittle, who competed on the show's sixth edition in 2007 and finished in third place, told TMZ.

The nine men reportedly suing American Idol are Chris Golightly, Ju'Not Joyner, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Terrell Brittenum, Derrell Brittenum, Donnie Williams, Jaered Andrews, and Corey Clark. Each man was disqualified from past seasons of the show allegedly due to either contractual issues or undisclosed criminal arrests and/or charges.

"I didn't experience any of that [racial discrimination]... all of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past," said Solomon, who came in third place during Idol's fourth season in 2005.

Hicks, who won Idol's fifth season, and Abrams, who finished the show's tenth edition in sixth place, agreed that the reality singing competition is fair and presents an equal opportunity for all.

"American Idol is for everyone. All walks of life go through the show. Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone. It's all about the votes," Hicks told TMZ.

"I don't know why they are biting the hand that fed them. Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I'm not sure about racist," added Abrams.
 
In fact, Idol has crowned three black champions in its 11-season history -- Season 2's Ruben Studdard, Season 3's Fantasia Barrino and Season 6's Jordin Sparks.

Fox and Idol producers have reportedly declined comment on the recent allegations.

(Photo credit Fox)


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