American Idol (season 5) - Controversy

Controversy

  • In January 2006, twins Derrell and Terrell Brittenum were charged with forgery and theft after allegedly using a false identity to purchase a car. This occurred after the "Hollywood" portion of the show was filmed, and the twins were subsequently disqualified.
  • Simon Cowell said that he did not like "last year's winner" as much as Kellie Pickler. He has since said that it was a heat of the moment thing, as Carrie Underwood had performed on the show the week before and was not very fond of the performance.
  • In January 2006, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) expressed concern about the show's portrayal of some contestants: "The real offense here was in the producer's decision to add insult to injury by turning a contestant's gender expression into the butt of a joke." Damon Romine, Entertainment Media Director, on January 20.
  • In January 2006 The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, NAAFA accused the show of being discriminatory towards its plus sized contestants.
  • In February 2006, it was discovered that José "Sway" Penala was reportedly signed to E-Real Records with his band 6th Day, at the time of his audition.
  • Two rumors about finalist Katharine McPhee circulated during early March and throughout the season. The first was that she was quitting the show and would not show up for the March 7th airing. The second was sparked by the loose fitting blouses she had been wearing, leading viewers to suspect she was pregnant. Katharine denied both rumors when interviewed by host Ryan Seacrest on the March 7th show.
  • During the March 28 show while Mandisa Hundley was singing, her name and phone number came up, but changed for a few seconds and showed Taylor Hicks' name and phone number. At the end of the show the numbers were right.
  • Mandisa Hundley was voted out after country week, whereby her rendition of "Any Man of Mine" was not well received as a good song choice. The reason behind her elimination was speculated to be what she said before she began to sing her rendition of "Shackles (Praise You)" by Mary Mary: "This song goes out to everybody that wants to be free. Your addiction, lifestyle and situation may be big, but God is bigger." Many viewers believed that the "lifestyle" stated was regarding the homosexual lifestyle, which she denied, clarifying that the lifestyle she was referring to was her lifestyle of addiction to food. Mandisa is a former employee of the Southern Baptist Convention, having joined the Convention in 2000 as a telephone sales representative for their LifeWay book division, and later in their women's enrichment events area, and later Beth Moore's Living Proof Live events. (Moore's books are published by LifeWay.)
  • On the April 25 show, the theme of which was Greatest Love Songs and featured guest coaches Andrea Bocelli and David Foster, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe forced contestant Taylor Hicks to change his song a day before air time (and the same day as the dress rehearsal). Hicks' chosen song was "Try a Little Tenderness," but Lythgoe, in a radio interview, claimed the song was more appropriate for a Blues Brothers week and was not a song that Andrea Bocelli would sing. Hicks changed his song at the last minute to "Just Once" (James Ingram) and appeared very uncomfortable on stage. Hicks fans were distressed, feeling that a) Hicks' original choice of song was very appropriate to the theme; b) The producers changed the song at the last minute even though they must have known Hicks' choice the previous week as they must obtain clearance for all songs; c) Lythgoe's statement that it was not a song Andrea Bocelli would sing was dubious, as other song choices that were approved were songs sung by Bryan Adams ("Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," sung by Chris Daughtry) and Donny Hathaway ("A Song for You," sung by Elliott Yamin).
  • During the East Coast transmission of the May 2 show, Paris Bennett was bleeped while singing Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You" at the exact point where an obscenity appears in the lyrics. However, Fox confirmed that the song was not bleeped when it was broadcast on the West Coast. Forum posters on the West Coast said Bennett sang the radio edit of the song which excludes the obscenity, leaving viewers nationwide wondering why Bennett was precensored during the earlier live transmission. Paris was eliminated in the results show the day after.
  • Following Chris Daughtry's elimination, many Idol fans claimed calls they dialed to Daughtry's line during the first few minutes of voting were misdirected. According to them, the first of his two numbers was answered by a recording of Katharine McPhee (who was also in the bottom two that night) giving thanks for their vote rather than Daughtry. Others reported similar behavior dialing other lines, such as dialing Elliott Yamin's line and hearing a recording of Daughtry giving thanks for their vote.
  • On Top 5 night (May 3), Elliott Yamin performed first, with Taylor Hicks going out last. Next week (May 10) Katharine McPhee went out last. It was expected that Yamin would go out last on Top 3 night (May 17), but he was again the first one to sing, losing what is called the "pimp spot", while Hicks was the last one to perform that night. Yamin's fans were distressed stating it was Yamin's right to go out last, while Hicks should have been first, and that the show producers arranged it to have Yamin eliminated next night (May 18), which actually happened.

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