"American Idol" contestant Chris Golightly was dropped from the top 24 semifinalists because of a "lack of veracity" during the audition process, a person close to the Fox TV show said yesterday.
Golightly didn't disclose that he'd had a music contract, a point on which all contestants are queried because singers with current deals are barred from competing, the person said. The person, who lacked authority to comment publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity, The Associated Press reports.
It was Golightly's failure to mention the contract, not whether it was currently in force, that led to his expulsion, the person said.
Golightly, 25, a shoe salesman from Los Angeles, was replaced by Tim Urban, 20, a college student from Duncanville, Texas, when the last 17 of the semifinalists were revealed on Wednesday's show after seven were announced Tuesday.
A statement from Fox said Golightly was replaced because he was "ineligible to continue in the competition." No further explanation was provided.
As for Golightly, he told a different story.
"This is not fair. I don't know what to do," Golightly told USA Today.
"Everything was fine when I made the Top 24," Golightly told the newspaper, but he said a former manager, Lawrence Franklin, e-mailed 19 Entertainment claiming Golightly was under a recording contract.
Golightly said he then received an e-mail on behalf of the show, saying he would be disqualified if he was under contract, USA Today reported. Golightly said he then called Franklin, reminding him that his contract had ended the month before he'd auditioned for "Idol."
A few days later, Golightly said, he got a call from "supervising producer" Patrick Lynn, telling him that he had been disqualified.
That same day, however, Golightly said he and the producers got another e-mail from Franklin, saying that there had been a mix-up and that Golightly had been released from his contract before he'd auditioned.
But by then, Urban had been notified.
Franklin also spoke to USA Today and told the newspaper that Golightly was under contract at the time of his audition - he had just signed a new two-year deal in May - but that he had been willing to release Golightly so that he could continue on with the competition.
Golightly is ineligible to return for another shot at "American Idol" next season because he was dropped at the semifinals stage of the contest, the person close to the show said.
The change was apparent to viewers, since Golightly was seen among the 24 semifinalists on stage toward the end of Wednesday's episode but was not in a shot of the 12 male singers who are advancing.
The ninth season of "American Idol" moves on to live performances next week.