American Idol tries to block album of contestant who didn’t make top 24

Josiah Leming made a huge impact at his audition for American Idol. His voice was perfect, his story was one made in PR heaven, and Simon Cowell told him after his first Hollywood Week song that of all the year’s auditions, Leming’s would be the one he would remember. But the adulation didn’t last, and an emotional Josiah was sent home before the final 24 were chosen.

Leming is 19, but doesn’t look it. He’s not very big and has a face much younger than his years. He doesn’t look like a star, which likely had something to do with his dismissal as is the norm for American Idol. But he’s talented. Talented enough that Warner Records gave him a record deal in the following year and Josiah was able to move out of his car and make his dying mother proud. But not if American Idol and 19 Entertainment has anything to say about it.

Leming, 19, who didn’t make the show’s top 24, received an official letter from “Idol” threatening legal action if he puts out his record in January as planned.

“Idol” contestants must sign strict contracts with the show’s producer, Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, promising to record only with the label chosen by “Idol” – Sony/BMG. The 19 Entertainment shop also retains exclusive right of refusal for management and merchandising.

When the smash-hit show began in 2002, only finalists had to sign the contract – but now it’s mandatory for all contestants.

A rep for Leming, who grew up in Tennessee as one of eight siblings, said, “Josiah was the only ‘Idol’ contestant ever to get a record deal who didn’t make the top 24, and one of only four contestants to get a deal this year. He has personal reasons for getting his music out, threat or not.”

[From New York Post]

Leming is releasing his album on January of next year whether Simon Fuller or Simon Cowell approve, because there’s only one person who’s opinion on the record matters to Josiah. Leming’s mother has terminal cancer, and he doesn’t have much time to put a record out that she will be able to witness. 19 Entertainment had no desire to do anything with Josiah, he was a reject as far as they were concerned. No one from 19, Sony/BMG, or American Idol contacted him after they put him on a plane and sent him back to Tennessee. Now he stands to make a name for himself and their hands aren’t in the pot so they’re calling him on the paper he signed in order to be a part of the Hollywood Week where they decided he wasn’t good enough.

Josiah came from next to nothing. He was living in his car when he auditioned for American Idol. When he was sent home from Hollywood he was applying for factory work and living hand to mouth. Worst of all, he has very little time left to do what his mother wants so badly to see: her son’s name on an album cover. And that’s all that matters to Leming. He can take the threats, he can even take the lawsuits if they come. It’s not like they can take the more important things away from him when it’s all said and done.

Here’s Josiah Leming performing on American Idol:

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11 Responses to “American Idol tries to block album of contestant who didn’t make top 24”

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  1. Modesty says:

    Shame on American Idol & Simon Fuller Entertainment. So because you don’t want to give him a contract nobody’s allowed to? Sounds unscrupulous…

    H3ll, what am I saying? It’s the music industry — of course it’s unscrupulous!

  2. Enonymous says:

    I agree, American Idol & Simon Fuller Entertainment should STFU and mind their own business. Josiah Leming go ahead and do your mother (I am sure she is already) and yourself proud. :mrgreen:

    As a law student, I know that he can easily break that contract if he has a capable lawyer working for him.

  3. elisha says:

    Yeah, this is so sketchy. There should be pro-bono lawyers walking around and consulting each potential contestant on the show. If I were a lawyer I’d totally work for this kid. Plus, that header screen cap is just so sad 🙁 it breaks my heart.

  4. RAN says:

    Glad the comments finally opened up on this link! I think this kid is cute and I thought he was something special on AI. I was shocked when he didn’t get put through as a finalist. I agree with whomever said it’s time to get a lawyer. That’s just crappy on AI’s part to try and stifle this kid.

    Change his haircut and dress him differently and he could be really something – I don’t know what they were thinking

  5. Key says:

    Thankfully the kid already has a lawyer. Unfortunately in these cases it’s sometimes more of a “my lawyer can eat your lawyer for breakfast” kind of thing rather than a matter of simple human decency.

    Good luck kid, you just might need it.

  6. neelyo says:

    I’ve only heard him sing once and it really wasn’t that good, but that’s besides the point.

    I can’t recall where but on some show (or online?)they discussed the rider you sign when you audition for AMERICAN IDOL and basically you sign your life away. It’s sad about his mother and all, but it just goes to show how important it is to read fine print. Of course, I’m sure the AMERICAN IDOL producers count on most of the contestants being young and naive enough not to know better.

  7. geeeee says:

    I don’t understand the contract. I wish we could see it. Does AI make it so they could never sign with a label ever? That can’t be it, because what kind of idiot would sign something like that? I wish we knew specifics.

  8. Stacy says:

    I am buying his CD. I don’t car if it’s any good or not but I’m buying it just the same.

  9. Jaclyn says:

    He’s a good kid and deserves to be in the spotlight. Good for him for getting noticed!

  10. Velvet Elvis says:

    This is freaking ridiculous to me how they can be such bullies. I don’t understand how they can prevent this kid from going out and earning a livelihood. It would be different if they had something in the works for him themselves or had invested considerable money and time into grooming him or something and but they haven’t. Geez.

  11. Lia says:

    Are they really saying this kid can never sign with anyone else, and they have no intention of signing him either?? Are they frickin’ nuts? I hope this kid sells millions of copies, and the karma that Cowell and Fuller have created for themselves will knock AI right out of the picture. Shame on them.