“American Idol” contestant Chris Golightly is upset after being deemed “ineligible” to compete as one of the Top 24 semifinalists on the Fox reality competition.
Golightly, a 25-year-old shoe salesman from Los Angeles, initially made it through as one of the 24 semifinalists but was conspicuously missing from the end of Wednesday’s episode.
Fox released a statement to Access, saying, “It has been determined that Chris Golightly is ineligible to continue in the competition. ‘American Idol’ contestant Tim Urban has replaced Golightly as part of the Top 24.”
The change was apparent to viewers, since Golightly was seen among the 24 semifinalists on stage toward the end of Wednesday's episode but was not in a shot of the 12 male singers who are advancing.
But why was Golightly booted from the competition?
“This is not fair; I don’t know what to do,” Golightly told USA Today Thursday morning. “Everything was fine when I made the Top 24.”
Golightly claims that a former manager named Lawrence Franklin contacted 19 Entertainment claiming he was under a recording contract. He was then contacted by “Idol” and told that if he were indeed currently under a contract that he would be disqualified. Golightly then contacted Franklin reminding him that his contracted has ended a month prior to his “Idol” audition.
But the damage had been done.
Golightly told the paper that a day or two later he received a call from “American Idol” supervising producer Patrick Lynn saying he had been disqualified. This occurred the same day he and “Idol” producers allegedly received an e-mail from his former manager explaining there had been a mix up and that he was, in fact, not under a contract.
At this point, his replacement, Tim Urban, had already been contacted and it was too far in the process to include Golightly.
“Since then, I’ve left them voicemails, but they’ve screened my calls,” Golightly said. “They don’t even answer me. Nobody.”
Golightly claims an attorney for “Idol” contacted him on Wednesday night and said he was removed from the competition because he was not forthcoming about the contract.
A source close to “Idol” told Access on Thursday that Golightly wasn’t disqualified because of his recording contract, but rather the fact that he failed to disclose it when producers asked him about any professional music experience during the audition rounds.
“But I went and looked this morning,” Golightly continued, “and I said, ‘No, I was not in a contract.’ If he’s trying to say that’s what it was about, they’re covering their ass.”
Golightly told the paper he’s not currently seeking legal action.
“I don’t want nobody getting hurt,” he said. “I just want the spot I earned.”
The source noted that Golightly would never be allowed to audition for “Idol” again.
The curly haired Golightly joins a string of "Idol" contestants who emerged from the thousands who audition nationwide, only to be disappointed when the show decides their work or personal history is a problem.
Last season, Joanna Pacitti was shown advancing to the top 36 after Hollywood Week but was later replaced by Felicia Barton. Pacitti released an album in 2006 and had ties to 19 Entertainment, which produces "Idol" with FremantleMedia North America. She was also deemed "ineligible to continue" in a Fox news release.
In contrast, the singing competition allowed past contestants David Hernandez and Antonella Barba to stay on after it surfaced that he once worked as a nightclub stripper, and racy photos that appeared to be her leaked online. And Nikki McKibbin says she was upfront with "Idol" producers about her stripping past before she became a finalist during the show's first season.
In other “Idol” controversy news, last month rumors swirled that semifinalist Mike Lynche had been booted from the show after his father allegedly confirmed to a Florida newspaper his son had made it to the top 24. But on Thursday, The New York Post reported that Lynche’s father had only told the paper that he read his son had made it to the semifinals on the Internet, and he was not revealing any first-hand information.
Access Hollywood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.