Twenty-five-year-old American Idol contestant Jermaine Jones was recently called to answer for reported criminal charges against him, not by an officer of the court but by Idol executive producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe. TMZ wrote yesterday that Fox would air footage of this confrontation, which feels more like an intervention, and the network did.
The conversation begins with the pair of bespectacled producers seated on a couch reviewing papers. Jones obviously knows what’s coming.
“Jermaine, there’s a number of things going on this week … we’ve been given further information that I need to talk to you about,” says Nigel. “In March of last year, you were charged, criminally charged, giving a fake name to the police of Joel Jones. In November of last year, you were criminally charged and you gave them a fake name of Kareem Watkins. You didn’t disclose those charges to us.”
“There are four active warrants out for you, Jermaine, which surprised us,” says Warwick. “We’re not judgmental at all. Lots of kids come to us that have problems … if they come clean with us and come to us at the beginning, we can help them.”
Jones sits motionless on the same couch, opposite them, and nervously defends his actions during an apparent fight that resulted in some of the charges.
Eventually, inevitably, the producers tell Jones he’s disqualified.
But how did Fox not discover the charges earlier and save itself and the young man the embarrassment? Jones is not without fault. He failed to disclose the charges. But is it fair for Fox to capitalize on the ratings opportunity?