Well, now this is awkward. American Idol is one of those star search reality competition shows that is meant to take an unknown talented person and launch them to superstardom. However, as is the case with shows like America's Next Top Model and Project Runway, only a small handful of those people who win each season actually go on to stardom let alone superstardom. Perhaps that's part of the reason that Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips is suing American Idol to get out of his contract, although that's obviously not the reason that was listed in the lawsuit.
"I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol," said Phillips in his official statement regarding the lawsuit, which, naturally, includes a list of complaints that he has regarding his contract from the show. "The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."
According to the suit, 19 Entertainment is collecting up to 40 percent of Phillips' endorsement and has allegedly withheld information about his career. In fact, People reports, Phillips didn't know the title of his own second album until it was announced by 19 Entertainment to the rest of the world. He notes the contract as being an "oppressive" one that he was "manipulated" into and, as an obvious result, is looking to get out of it so that he can return to bringing us amazing songs like "Home."
However, 19 Entertainment have issued their own response to his claims, stating: "We're very proud of everything we've accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career. We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships."
Yikes. This lawsuit is a tangled mess for both parties. Personally, it's hard for me to believe that the people behind American Idol would treat one of their former winners in this manner, especially since this is the first time that such a lawsuit has gone so public. Unlike, say, America's Next Top Model , which has a long and recorded history of former contestants complaining about various aspects of the production, editing, and aftermath, American Idol has a fairly decent reputation — not so much of producing superstar after superstar but of having a decent relationship with their contestants. Then again, just because the lawsuit doesn't go viral doesn't mean that Phillips' is necessarily the very first one ever brought against the company.
As always with things like this, all we can really do is hoping that the suit is settled in a way that is satisfactory for both parties. Phillip Phillips is an amazing musician and American Idol affords talented Americans with the kind of opportunity most only dream about getting; it might be best in this situation for them both to just go their separate ways and focus on their other ventures.
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