March 16th, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Jermaine Jones speaks on 'Idol' exit

Rejected contestant Jermaine Jones claims he was blindsided when “American Idol” producers kicked him off the show this week.

In an exclusive interview with HLN's "Showbiz Tonight," the 25-year-old - who was let go for reportedly hiding his criminal record - said he had no idea the ax was coming until it fell.

The "gentle giant" tells "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer that when he walked in the room to tape his sit-down with the show's producers, he had no reason to fear the worst.

“No,” Jones replied. “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 and that they needed to speak with me. And I walked right into the room and it was all cameras and eyes on me.”

“I didn’t know what was going on, not until they began talking to me about it,” he added.

Jones also responded to speculation that producers had prior knowledge of his criminal past - and were simply out to exploit him on-air.

“Well, I’m not sure. I haven’t even taken my mind into that and why they did what they did, because then I’ll drive myself crazy,” he said. “But I know that when I filled out my application I circled ‘Yes,’ that I was previously arrested before."

On Wednesday's show, "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told Jones that he had four outstanding warrants for his arrest, and because of that, he had to go.

Jones said "Idol" did a background check on him, "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 and I thought that I took care of everything that I needed to take care of to be an active member of the show. Obviously not.”

Understandably, Jones said he was “was very, very disappointed," and that it "hurt to watch" his dismissal. He also said that his criminal past has been blown way out of proportion.

“There were a few minor, small infractions back when I was younger, [when I was accused] of giving a false name,” he explained. “And then there was an allegation of a fight which was not true. It was not actually a fight. And then one for driving [on a] suspended [license] and things like that. So they were very, you know, small, minor infractions.”

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soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Miguel

    I hope no one stays aloof because cooutprirn affects us all. Maybe, we don't realize the seriousness of it all.@rama Me too. They just shared through FB and Twitter, and there were some snippets here and there. It deserved much larger coverage, as it was a momentous beginning where people fed up with the status quo came out in large numbers in so many cities across India. It shows that we have reached a brink of our patience. I strongly feel that it is the politicians who stopped the news from reaching more people.@Talha As rama beautifully explains later, it is not for self publicity that we wanted media coverage. It is to get more people mobilized and for the spread of the cause. We can move mountains and bring any government to its knees if we are united. This is what the political parties fear. They are always trying to make us fight in the name of religion, caste, language etc. while they unite in their corrupt methods. There is not a single party in India or a single babu who is not corrupt.

    April 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rob

    A minor infraction isn't a big deal....a string of minor infractions over a period of years is a LIFESTYLE....I'd trust a murder who had a specific cause to kill over someone that seemed pathologically inclined to ignore simple rules of society

    March 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |

    March 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hey sam

    I would hate to be your law and order loving ass when the SHTF.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sam

    That may be part of the problem, he didn't thing violating the law was a big deal. Guess he is finding out now that obeying the law, or not is a decision that you may, or may not regret for the rest of your life. Not just a minor thing now, is it?

    March 19, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. bbear

    Jermaine had an amazing voice; I think he could have gone quite far in the Idol contest. The way the producers handled informing him was pretty nasty and self-serving for ratings only. Their soft voices seemed to indicate their concern for Jermaine. What a crock of crap.He played by their rules when he came on the show; in fact wasn't he one of the lucky ones who was brought back to join the top 12? can't tell me that the producers didn't know then about this whole warrant stuff. Jermaine, I hope you get a record deal out of this and I'll be at the store to buy a copy.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Agreed. I was so sad he didn't get to perform more songs. I really hope he gets a record deal – his voice is so special and beautiful!

      March 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RebelYell

    @rp: oh cmon. Some handcuffs, dose of pepper spray, and a little tasering...would have made for some great TV! And high ratings for Fox.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • RebelYell2

      On 2nd thought-a lot of tasering would be preferred. Would have sent a nice message to this black trailer trash.

      March 19, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. r p

    None of you know what the show knew ahead of time, so quit speclating, he had for active warrants he deserved to be booted, this isnt the first contestant this has happened to. And to answer the question of why wasnt he arrested once he was on tv, the police have came out and said his warrants were for around 700 dollars, coming to arrest him was not worth the monetary cost it would take, they can just wait til he comes back home.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kathryn Nicosia

    I thought to televise the metting between the contestant and the producers was in very poor taste. The contestant must have been publically humiliated and should never have been exposed to the public in that way. Producers-shame on you!!!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. patty

    ... aside from most of the dumb comments and major spelling mistakes, the truth be told Nigel Lithgoe is only looking out for NUMBER 1! so if he has to air your business on national television to get ratings he will!

    March 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cara Doubois

    American idol is full of tricks

    March 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    It might sound like a joke or a minor inconvenience, but for a show that promotes a wholesome image that kids can "idolize," this is a big deal. Consider as well what happens to the American Idol arena tour when the police in one community step in to arrest one of the stars for outstanding arrests. It's not like the role of Jermaine can be performed tonight by a stand-in.

    March 17, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chach

    Shame on Jermaine if he comes back on American Idol. If he has an ounce of integrity he wont play their game.

    American Idol knew of his mischief related offenses. Jermaine admitted to the crimes during the American Idol application process, and he also lawyered up to clarify these matters with American Idol's legal staff.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Observer

    American Idol is liberal garbage!

    March 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leah

    American Idol...did u really have to stoop so low!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Smoke and a pancake

    His past may not matter to Jay-Z and Kanye but I bet the fact he can't sing will. You might as well get ready for him to end up in prison within the next 5 years.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Lonnie

    He should contact someone like JZ or Kanyea. He can sing and his past wouldn't matter to them. They could really put him on the map.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Pinnochio

    Yea they knew his history. Brought him back just to nail his butt to the wall for ratings. I was in jail with him once. I got nailed for lieing to a police officer. Did you know that is a felony? I got lucky and dropped to a misdemeanor.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      felony or not, MOST people are aware that it's stupid to lie to cops...either don't get caught or man up to what you've done

      March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Tyrecsha

    You whites makes me laff with yo white selfs. Y'all just jellus cause we gots stile.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Chantal Lawanda Dyneesha Pulliam

    And we are caled African Americans. We are t h e onley true peoples.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Bob

    Fried chicken eating, watermelon seed spitting, knuckle dragging, ebonics speaking, property value lowering, white woman r@ping, drive-by sh00ting, no job having, crack smoking, hub cap stealing, basketball dribbling, old lady robbing j!ggaboo.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Stephanie Travitsky

    I smell a rat with Lythgoe snd his pal. Before anyone participates on a show, a criminal background check is performed. Secondly, if the dude had four outstanding warrants for his arrest and he was on a tv show...wouldn't he have been arrested by now?

    March 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • WITHU

      When u r of a certain colour poeple like nigel would go out of his way to embrassed u. AKON has a pass that did not prevent him form being a singer.Nigel Lythgoe and the producers knew of his past, WHY NOW..... WE ALL KNOW

      March 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. zinna

    Your past always catches up with you.....

    March 16, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  24. Samantha

    And I suppose that all these charges and this arrest warrant are someone elses fault and he was railroaded. Typical.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  25. LoJenk

    March 16, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  26. bbj

    apparently not minor enough.....

    March 16, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Art Vandolay

      This dude should be arrested for making my ears bleed every Weds nite when he tried to sing. 4 outstanding warrants?! Not 1, but 4?!

      March 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      lying to police and driving on a suspended license indicate a total disregard for laws and rules of society....and that doesn't even count whether he was actually in the fight he was CONVICTED of being in....

      March 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |

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