Jermaine Jones, the 25-year-old gentle giant of hit reality competition show American Idol, has been booted from the show after producers found out he was concealing a criminal past, including several outstanding arrest warrants in his home state of New Jersey for allegedly giving false names to the police and getting into a fight.
The 6-foot-8 contestant, who was brought back by Idol judges after they eliminated him early on in the Las Vegas trials, was confronted by Idol executive producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe in a taped segment shown to viewers.
You were incumbent to tell us the truth about all of this, and it appears that you just haven't on any level, Warick told Jones, who appeared completely blindsided by their actions.
I didn't want to get judged, Jones, who said he was too scared and nervous to tell producers, confessed to CBS after the fact. I didn't want to get penalized for anything that happened in the past.
Already, controversy is brewing over the cut, with some viewers believing that Jermaine Jones should not have been eliminated for his past and still others convinced that American Idol producers knew about it all along, waiting to eliminate him at the moment when the move would generate the most publicity.
If that was indeed the producers' strategy, then they have succeeded in their goal. Jermaine Jones' elimination boosted audience numbers even as it overshadowed the performances of the remaining 11 contestants Tuesday night.
But Jermaine Jones is not the first shocking elimination to happen on American Idol. Although Jones' past appears to have halted his future plans for now, many other talented singers have been booted from American Idol only to go on to have fantastic careers elsewhere.
Below, relive some of the most egregious cuts in American Idol history, from Frenchie Davis to Carly Smithson and Corey Clark, and find out where all the singers are now.
10. Alex Lambert
Lambert only made it to the top 16 in Season 9 of American Idol, an elimination that prompted fans to create an online petition to bring him back. While the initiative failed, Lambert has gone on to become one of the more successful Idol alums in history, with several top singles to his name, work as a prominent LGBT activist and a member of web reality series “If I Can Dream,” which focused on young artists trying to get into show business.
9. Carly Smithson
The Irish-born singer was undoubtedly one of the strongest vocalist on American Idol Season 7, and many fans reported that they received multiple busy signals while trying to vote her, one explanation for her unexpected fifth place finish. Smithson is now and actress and the lead singer of “We Are the Fallen.”
8. Michael Johns
The Australian singer finished in eighth place on Season 7 of American Idol, and was understandably shocked by the loss--before his elimination, he had never once been in the bottom three. “I’m going to miss you,” Simon Cowell told him as audience members booed the news. In 2009, he released an album titled “Hold Back My Heart with Downtown records.
7. Tamyra Gray
Everyone expected Gray to be the one to face off against fan favorite Tamyra Gray on the first season of American Idol. But Season 1 was destined to feature one of the biggest upsets in Idol history, with Nikki McKibbin beating Tamyra Gray when both found themselves in the bottom two. Since “America Idol,” Tamyra has starred on Broadway twice, released her own album, and appeared in the now-canceled TV show “Boston Public.”
6. Pia Toscano
Toscano was a major frontrunner in Season 10, and her surprise elimination shocked the judges, celebrity viewers and fellow contestant Stephano Langone, who believed he and not Toscano was headed home. “I’m shocked, I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say,” Jennifer Lopez said, and stars like Tom Hanks, Snooki, Ashton Kutcher, and “Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson all took to Twitter to express their shock over the news. Since then, Toscano has signed with Interscope Records. She has performed performed God Bless America at the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs game in 2011, as well as singing I'll Stand by You and This Time at the Columbus Day parade and performing the National Anthem at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.
5. Frenchie Davis
Davis was kicked off the show due to a modeling job she did for an adult website, which producers claim the beloved belter was obligated to alert them to before entering the Season 2 competition. Six years later, when photos of contestant Antonella Barba surfaced online, Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell stood up for her, a move that both gratified and irked Davis after her own ouster. I couldn't help but notice the difference between the manner in which she was dealt with and how I was dealt with, Davis told The New York Post. I think it's fantastic if 'Idol' has evolved, and I think it's fantastic she won't have to go through what I went through four years ago … but if the rules have changed, I believe there should be something to make up for the fact that I was humiliated needlessly. Since Idol, Davis has had a successful Broadway career, and came in second place in rival music competition series The Voice on Christina Aguilera's team in 2011.
4. Jermaine Jones
Jones was cut from the show despite his affectionate following by viewers as the gentle giant of American Idol on Season 11 of the show. Beyond his criminal history, Jones was already in hot water when his father countered his claim that Jones had been abandoned by him a decade ago. Not only did Jermaine Jones' father claim that they still kept in contact; he also asserted that he had been there for his son at his Idol audition.
3. Corey Clark
Party-boy Clark is the second of only two finalists, including Jones, to be ousted from American Idol due to rules violations. He also concealed an arrest record, though his was for assaulting his teenage sister and resisting arrest when the cops showed up. The Season 2 contestant later claimed to have had an affair with former judge Paula Abdul, which Idol producers proved to be unfounded. Clark was arrested again in 2006 after his wife filed for a domestic violence protective order, and again in 2007 for possession of a controlled substance and for an outstanding warrant from Arizona. Clark has signed a one album, press and distribution label imprint deal with Universal/Bungalo Records, making him the first American Idol contestant in history to release his own album, under his own record company, distributed by a major label.
2. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson didn't even get to make it to the final five in Season 3, an astonishing omission given that she's now the only American Idol winner to have both a successful singing career and an Oscar to her name. Her elimination was so shocking, in fact, that some viewers were convinced that mass power outages in her hometown of Chicago, Ill., was to blame for the low amount of votes she received. Today, Hudson has netted over two dozen awards for her singing and acting, and is more well-known than even fellow alums Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.
1. Chris Daughtry
The most shocking elimination in the history of American Idol had to be Chris Daughtry, in Season 5. Daughtry was in the bottom two with Katharine McPhee before being eliminated, paving the way for Taylor Hicks to eventually win the title. Less than two months after his elimination, however, he had signed a record deal, and has been a Billboard chart-topper ever since. Daughtry's elimination inspired the judges' save, which saves a contestant with the lowest number of votes if the judges can unanimously agree to keep him or her in the competition.