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Manager: 'American Idol' semifinalist Chris Golightly still had contract

By Reality TV World staff, 02/18/2010 

Chris Golightly's claim that he was disqualified from American Idol's ninth-season semifinals due to a misunderstanding over an expired recording contract isn't true, according to the manager he blames for the alleged mix-up.

"Chris was still under contract with Dream Projects Entertainment," Lawrence Franklin told USA Today on Thursday.

Franklin told USA Today that Golightly -- who had been part of D.R.E.A.M. 5, a boy band formed by the recording company -- had signed a new, two-year recording contract with Dream Projects on May 30, only a month before he auditioned for American Idol at the show's open auditions in Los Angeles, CA.

Franklin's claims directly conflict with what Golightly had told USA Today in a separate interview earlier on Thursday.

According to Golightly, his contract had ended a month before he auditioned for American Idol but he was disqualified because Franklin emailed the show's 19 Entertainment production company after the ninth season's Top 24 semifinalists were selected in January and incorrectly claimed Golightly was still under a recording contract. 

Golightly told USA Today that he contacted Franklin and "reminded" him that his contract had actually ended once American Idol's producers informed him of Franklin's claim and told him the contract would result in his disqualification, however a show producer still proceeded to call Golightly and tell him that he had been disqualified a day or two later.

According to Golightly, Franklin then allegedly sent American Idol's producers another email in which he said there had been "a mix-up" and Golightly had actually been released from his contract before his audition.  However Idol's producers allegedly decided it was too late and had already informed Timothy "Tim" Urban that he would be replacing Golightly in the show's semifinals.

Franklin allegedly "apologized to everybody" for his error afterwards, Golightly said.

The fact that Franklin -- who told USA Today he was willing to release Golightly so he could compete on American Idol -- did contact 19 Entertainment stating the Idol hopeful was already under contract appears to be the only key element that Franklin and Golightly's disqualification explanations share in common (except for confirming Golightly was determined ineligible to continue, Idol and Fox have remained silent on the matter).

"We asked them for release documents, and they were supposed to send them over last Friday [but they never came]," Franklin told USA Today.  "We were prepared to give our own release documents, but after waiting on the attorneys from 19 to send over their paperwork, time kind of ran out for Chris."

19 Entertainment's determination that a February release from any current Dream Projects contract still wouldn't allow Golightly to meet American Idol's eligibility rules was apparently why the paperwork was never sent.

"Although we do not have a copy of the complete contract, on the face of what we have there seems to be a current recording agreement.  If the contract exists there will be no option other than to disqualify Chris," 19 Entertainment lawyer Andy Stinson wrote a member of Idol's outside legal counsel in an February 11 email obtained by USA Today.

However Franklin told USA Today that 19 Entertainment still told Golightly a contract release would resolve his eligibility issue the day after Stinson's email was sent.

"They did advise Chris that as long as we released him, he'd be fine," Franklin said. "They told him that last Friday. And we were prepared then, that night, at any time, to release him."

Despite their disagreement over how Golightly's American Idol disqualification unfolded, Franklin does share Golightly's belief that the show didn't treat him fairly.

"We did want Chris to succeed," Franklin said. "We want him to continue. I don't think it's fair how they're doing him."

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