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American Idol: Scandal or Puffery?by Sting7 -- 04/27/2005
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Former Idol contestant Corey Clark, 24, told The Globe that he had an affair with Idol judge Paula Abdul, 42, during his campaign in season two – an affair he discusses in detail in a book that he is shopping to publishers. For those of you who might not remember Clark, he was the contestant kicked off the show for allegedly beating his sister and resisting arrest – and more importantly for not telling Idol producers about his legal issues. The assault charges against him were eventually dismissed in June 2003, too late for his Idol purposes. He did, however, plead guilty to “obstruction of legal process” and was sentenced to six months unsupervised probation.
Recently, Clark alleged that Abdul offered to be his “special friend,” and that she swore him to secrecy, cautioning, “Don't screw me or you'll be sorry." Abdul supposedly offered Clark council on choosing songs to perform on the show, as well as money to help promote Clark’s career. The book proposal also describes how Abdul once came up behind Clark, rubbed his neck, and then they began "kissing passionately and feeling each other up" as they moved to the guest bedroom.
Clark further alleges that season one runner-up Justin Guarini “bragged about having an affair with Paula.” Representatives for Guarini and Abdul deny Clark’s claims.
Corey’s first solo album is scheduled for release later this year. No word yet on if a publisher has taken on Clark’s book for publishing.
Meanwhile, ABC claims to have “explosive allegations” which may or may not include Clark’s claims. ABC News announced that a special hour of PrimeTime Live "will explore explosive claims about behind-the-scenes activities at 'American Idol,' the hit television show that became a cultural phenomenon." The show is subtitled “Fallen Idol.”
Interestingly, Fox says ABC News has not contacted anyone at the rival network about “explosive claims.” But, ABC News has contacted public relations firm BWR, which represents the show, asking to interview the American Idol judges and the producers, the agency confirmed. It is not clear what level of cooperation American Idol has given to the show, or whether interviews were granted.
Already, there are those ringing the death knell for American Idol. The Globe feverishly quotes TV critic Marc Berman : "If the charges are true, then this is a huge scandal that could kill 'American Idol.' If a judge and a contestant have an affair, the future of the entire show is in jeopardy."
I think Berman is overstating. You see, the judges do not determine the winner of American Idol. If they did, he would be right to smell a rat. However, the judges’ critiques are merely window dressing at this stage of the competition. They are only, presumably, learned opinions. This is not to say an affair between Clark and Abdul is any less inappropriate, but it is more the level of a boss being involved with a subordinate. Heavily frowned upon, forbidden in some sectors of Corporate America, but well short of the 21 scandal some writers are proffering. The judges do not determine the winner. What impact help in song selection would have is debatable.
In addition to these claims, RealityNewsOnline has been made aware of an alleged message from season two finalist, Trenyce, to her fans. We have been able to verify from Trenyce herself that she did author the email. For those who may not have read it, here it is in its entirety:
Hey all,RealityNewsOnline will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.
Sting7 has been a respected published writer for many years, as a music editor, entertainment critic, columnist, and interviewer. He also has a curious love for pro-wrestling! You can email Stinger at email@example.com.
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