These ‘American Idol’ Scandals Prove the Show Is More Controversial Than We Think

American Idol recently got a second wind when ABC picked up the show after Fox dropped it in 2016. While the singing competition was a household favorite for years, it was plagued with its share of scandals. You probably never knew the lawsuits, accusations, and more that surrounded the once most popular show on television. (The scandal on page 5 still doesn’t seem fair.)

Phillip Phillips once sued American Idol over his ‘oppressive’ contract

 Philip Philips playing his guitar and singing on stage.

Phillip Phillips | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Invictus Games

When Phillip Phillips won Season 11 of American Idol in 2012, it was a dream come true for him. However, in 2015, the “Home” singer filed a lawsuit against the show’s producer, 19 Entertainment, to get out of his contract. Phillips claimed he had been manipulated by the company since he won. He said the company forced him to play unpaid shows and kept important information from him. Allegedly, he did not find out about his album title until the public did. He also said the company had taken a staggering 40% of his endorsement deals.

Next: The show came under fire for this. 

Some viewers accused the show of racism

LaPorsha-Renae singing on stage.

Some contestants accused the show of being racist. | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

In 2013, 10 former black contestants on the show filed a lawsuit against American Idol. They claimed the show discriminated against them based on race. They said producers exploited their criminal background checks to eliminate them from the show. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed. American Idol also came under fire for other seemingly racist incidents, such as Jennifer Hudson’s elimination night and Trent Harmon’s Season 15 victory.

Next: This ‘American Idol’ alum made headlines for a cheating scandal. 

1 alumna made headlines for a cheating scandal with country singer Jason Aldean

Jason and Brittany posing on a red carpet together.

Their affair turned into a marriage. | Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT

In 2012, country music star Jason Aldean was seen getting extremely close to Season 11 contestant Brittany Kerr at a bar in Los Angeles. The photos made headlines. At first, Aldean — who was married to his high school sweetheart at the time — called it a drunken mistake and said he and his then-wife were working on improving things. However, Kerr and Aldean clearly couldn’t stay apart for too long. The couple ended up trying things out and married in 2015.

Next: Who can forget this feud between judges? 

The judge-versus-judge feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey

Mariah, Keith and Nicki sitting together at a tour for American Idol.

The two divas often got into heated arguments. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Nothing kicked up the American Idol drama quite like the infamous feud between hip-hop star Nicki Minaj and pop star Mariah Carey. The two never got along on the show, and some contestants enjoyed the drama while others thought it was too much. The two constantly took jabs at one another, and there were also reports of a gun threat at one point. Needless to say, neither of the judges was invited back the following season.

Next: These Idol contestants were the subject of “Textgate.”

Illegal voting might have cost Adam Lambert the competition

Singer Adam Lambert performs in concert at Terminal 5.

The texting issue was uncovered. | Noam Galai/Getty Images

When Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert to win the show during Season 8, a scandal dubbed “Textgate” was soon uncovered. AT&T admitted to handing out cellphones to some of Kris Allen’s fans, so they could vote for the singer to win the show. The company allegedly also helped teach fans how to send up to 10 votes at a time to ensure Allen’s win. Fox said all of the votes were closely monitored, and Allen’s win was deemed fair.

Next: This judge allegedly had an affair with a contestant. 

Paula Abdul was romantically linked to a contestant during the show

Paula Abdul on American Idol.

Paula Abdul was involved in a hot scandal. | Fox

Corey Clark was a contestant on Season 2 of American Idol. He was initially disqualified after not disclosing to the producers that he had an arrest record. After he was given the boot, it came out that he allegedly had an affair with Paula Abdul, a judge on the show, during his time as a contestant. The singer said he had “incriminating evidence” of the affair between the two but had no intentions of publicizing the evidence, according to People. Clark later sued the show for defamation.

Next: A scandal haunted this pop star within days of the show’s relaunch. 

Katy Perry kissed someone during auditions, prompting concerns about sexual harassment

Katy Perry at the TCA Press tour for American Idol.

Was this kiss extremely inappropriate? | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

When American Idol rebooted for a 16th season on ABC, it only took a few days for one of the judges to be caught up in a scandal. Katy Perry gave a surprising kiss to a potential contestant and had fans wondering whether it was sexual harassment. Reports claimed she had made him uncomfortable. He set the record straight by saying he did not feel he was sexually harassed by Perry and was thankful he had the opportunity to audition.

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