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Jermaine Jones: My 'American Idol' disqualification was a blindside


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/16/2012 

Jermaine Jones says he had no idea American Idol was kicking him off prior to his official disqualification.

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"No, I was actually getting ready for rehearsal and getting ready to go downstairs and do some press, and security had asked me to come down -- that they had to speak with me, and I walked in the room and it was all cameras and eyes on me," the eleventh-season American Idol finalist said during a Thursday night interview with host A.J. Hammer on HLN's Showbiz Tonight.

"I mean, with the show, you never know. So I didn't know what was going on. They didn't let me know."

While Jones -- who was disqualified from American Idol this week after the show discovered he had concealed a criminal record which includes multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest -- was clueless as to what Idol producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick wanted to discuss with him in a sit-down conversation that aired during Wednesday night's performance show, he said he didn't automatically assume the news was going to be bad.

"No, not necessarily. They just let me know that production wanted to speak to me and that was that," Jones said. "So, I didn't know what was going on. So not until they began talking to me about it did I."

Jones told Hammer he was unsure whether he agrees with critics who believe American Idol exploited his criminal past for ratings.

"Well, I'm not sure, and I haven't even tried to take my mind into that and why they did what they did and all that because then I'll drive myself crazy, you know, trying to figure out why they did what they did," Jones explained. 

"By that, I was very disappointed. That's what I can tell. I was disappointed in that and that's the most that I can really say about that. I was very, very disappointed and it hurt to watch. It hurt to watch."

While American Idol has disqualified other contestants in past seasons, it has typically opted not to -- as it did with Jones, this week -- broadcast their disqualifications or publicly detail why they were removed from the reality singing competition, sparking criticism that the singer was treated unfairly.    

"To an extent, you feel a great disappointment because I trusted them, but it was a very humbling experience. But I learned a lot you know, and I learned a lot about myself. So it was a very humbling experience for me," Jones said.

Jones did not appear to elaborate further on the extent of his criminal charges, however, he insisted he had told the show he had previously been arrested when he completed his Idol application.

"I know that when I filled out my application, I circled, 'Yes, I was previously arrested before.' And they did a background check on me, and there was some information that I had to obtain a lawyer to take care of before I could even be on the show. And I took care of that information. I thought that I had taken care of everything that I needed to take care of to be an active member of the show, and then, obviously not," Jones explained.

Jones also played down the significance of his criminal record.

"There were a few minor, small infractions back when I was younger to have given a false name and then there was an allegation of a fight which was not true. It was not actually a fight. And then one for driving suspended and things like that, so they were very small, minor infractions," Jones told Hammer.

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