Jermaine Jones disqualified by 'American Idol,' Top 11 finalists sing
By Reality TV World staff, 03/15/2012
Jermaine Jones was disqualified from American Idol due to undisclosed active criminal charges during Wednesday night's live performance show, which featured the competition's Top 12 eleventh-season finalists --minus Jones -- performing songs that had been released during the years they were born.
While the show didn't reveal Jones' disqualification -- which had been widely reported online beginning Tuesday night -- until more than halfway through the two-hour broadcast, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest had teased it during the show's opening.
"You know 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 no choice but to eliminate one of our finalists from the competition," Seacrest said.
"We'll get to more of that later in the show."
Seacrest finally confirmed Jones' disqualification about twenty minutes into the American Idol broadcast's second hour.
"So earlier in the show we told you one of our finalists had to be eliminated from the competition due to information that just surfaced with the help of law enforcement. I can now tell you that person is Jermaine Jones. Our executive producers sat down with him just last night -- take a look at this," he said.
American Idol then aired a pre-recorded segment in which executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were shown meeting with Jones just before 5PM on Tuesday and informing him that -- as had been reported on Tuesday evening -- he was being disqualified because the show had discovered he had concealed a criminal record which includes multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest.
"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," Lythgoe told Jones.
"You've put us in a very delicate position, really. We have to let you go, I'm afraid," Warwick added. "I'm sorry, it's the end of the road. I really am."
"Thank you. Thank you so much for the opportunity and everything," replied Jones, who told the producers he had been hoping to resolve his legal issues privately and hadn't disclosed them because he "didn't want to get judged."
Reports that Jones would be disqualified from American Idol had first surfaced on Tuesday night when TMZ reported Idol producers would be disqualifying an unidentified eleventh-season finalist after learning they had concealed a criminal record.
"Awww I will no longer b on the show," Jones tweeted from his official American Idol Twitter account.
While he deleted the tweet later, Jones continued to re-tweet supportive messages from other Twitter users upset about his American Idol departure throughout Tuesday night. In addition, TMZ and The Hollywood Reporter both subsequently reported Jones had been disqualified, citing undisclosed sources.
Fox had declined to comment, but Jones' Twitter account was completely deleted by Wednesday morning.
In addition to being wanted on five outstanding arrest warrants in three separate New Jersey counties, Jones' record also includes additional charges that date back to 2006, when he was arrested as part of narcotics bust in Salem County, according to The Smoking Gun.
Jones' next arrest then reportedly occurred in 2008 when he was cited on an open container charge in Woodbury, and he was later arrested in Winslow Township in 2009 after he gave police a false name.
Jones' first 2011 arrest occurred in March, according to The Smoking Gun, when he told police he was "Joel Jones" to avoid being apprehended on one of his prior outstanding warrants. He was then reportedly arrested again in late November -- several months after his initial American Idol audition -- when he told officers he was "Kareem D. Watkins" in another attempt to avoid his outstanding warrants.
While rare, American Idol has disqualified semifinalists and finalists several times in its eleven-year history.
During Idol's second season, semifinalist Jaered Andrews was disqualified over (later acquitted) charges of committing an assault that led to a man's death and then 23-year-old semifinalist Frenchie Davis was disqualified for having previously posed for faux "kiddie porn" photos.
Later that same season, Corey Clark, one of the season's nine remaining finalists, was dismissed for failing to disclose pending battery charges.