In today’s Roundup, nine former contestants are accusing Idol of racism. Read on to find out who they are, what their specific claims are and if there’s any holes in the allegations. Also, Crystal Bowersox and Jessica Sanchez are previewing new music, and Jennifer Hudson plays a drug addict in a new film.

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Former Contestants Accuse Idol of Racism

American Idol is no stranger to scandal. But it still comes as a surprise today that nine former African American contestants have come forward to accuse the show of racism, claiming “they were all forced off Idol as part of a racist (and illegal) plot to boost ratings,” according to TMZ. The nine former contestants are: Corey Clark, Jaered Andrews, Donnie Williams, Terrell and Derrell Brittenum, Thomas Daniels, Akron Watson, Ju’Not Joyner and Chris Golightly. They’re being represented by attorney James H. Freeman, who submitted a letter to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking for the go-ahead to sue the show and FOX.

When Jermaine Jones was disqualified last year for staying silent on his criminal past and outstanding warrants, Freeman began investigating similar situations in prior seasons. He came to the realization that the nine singers who were publicly disqualified were all black. The attorney insists the “cruel and inhumane scheme” portrays his clients as “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants.” He says that Idol has “never once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production.”

Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe, responding to the allegations, is “shocked” and calls the whole ordeal “ridiculous,” stating, “We treat everybody the same … no matter the race, religion or sex. I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white … I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.”

Does Mr. Freeman have any grounds to stand on with this potential lawsuit? Considering American Idol has crowned three African American winners, it seems absurd to call the show racist. MjsBigBlog has compiled some information on each of the nine contestants. Corey Clark was kicked off for not being truthful about misdemeanor charges; he later alleged that he had a sexual relationship with Paula Abdul, and it looks like Corey is still trying to grab as much attention as possible since he obviously can’t make it in the music industry. As for the rest…

Chris Golightly had a current recording contract when he auditioned; that’s against the rules. Donnie Williams was arrested right before the semifinals. Terrell and Derrell Brittenum — remember these trouble-makers? Terrell was arrested and had outstanding warrants. Akron Watson was disqualified right before Hollywood Week after background checks found he had been arrested. Jaered Andrews was arrested for assault. While he told producers of his background, the fact that the assault resulted in the victim dying seems a good enough reason to let him go. Thomas Daniels had a DUI arrest. It doesn’t sound like he was actually disqualified, so I’m not sure why he’s on the list. Ju’Not Joyner wasn’t disqualified either, but he at one point claimed that the show is rigged, so it seems like he just wants payback. 

Bo Bice, Scott Savol and Trenyce, all finalists, had criminal pasts, but producers let them stay in the competition because they revealed that information up front. As stated in the letter written up by Freeman, all the disqualified contestants are black. So let’s look at some exceptions. Delano Cagnolatti lied about his age and Joanna Pacitti allegedly had ties to executives at 19 Entertainment. Both are not black, and both were disqualified. Pacitti’s situation is similar to Chris Golightly’s, one of the singers mentioned above who had an existing recording contract.

What do you make of all this? Do you think Freeman will be able to go ahead with the lawsuit?

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Crystal Bowersox and Jessica Sanchez Preview New Music

BuddyTV recently reported that Crystal Bowersox, now signed to a new record label, is expected to release an album in March. And she’s giving us a taste of what to expect with a new song called “Everything Falls into Place.” Here’s a video of Crystal performing it at Sundance 2013. The song fits well with her singer-songwriter vibe and folksy style.

While it isn’t a full song, Jessica Sanchez sang a snippet of a song from her debut album, which will be released this spring to coincide with her Glee guest appearance.

Video: Jennifer Hudson Plays a Drug-Addicted Mother

This news seems to have escaped almost everyone’s radar. Jennifer Hudson has a role in a new movie called The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, about a 14-year-old and a 9-year-old deserted by their mothers and left to fend for themselves. (Jordin Sparks also stars in the film.) Jennifer plays Mister’s mother, who is abusive and a drug addict, and this role is nothing like what we’ve seen from her before. Another Oscar nomination, perhaps? Here’s a scene in which Jennifer’s character argues with her son:

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.