“American Idol”: 5 Biggest Controversies

Truth rating: 10
american idol biggest controversies

By Jesse Spero |

american idol biggest controversies

(Getty Images)

American Idol” has had a slew of controversies during its 15 seasons. Now, Gossip Cop takes a look back at five events that rocked the Fox reality competition series. See the biggest scandals below.

(5) Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey: Minaj and Carey verbally sparred with each other throughout Season 12 on the show. There were countless barbs, snide comments, and plenty of eye-rolling during their one season together. In one heated exchanged that leaked out, Minaj ranted, “I told them, I’m not f***ing putting up with her f***ing highness over there.” In 2015, Carey describe her time series as “the worst experience of my life.”

(4) Racist voting? During Season 3, Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London, and Jennifer Hudson, dubbed the Three Divas, were the show’s frontrunners. But when the show narrowed the contestants down to the Top 7, all three black contestants landed in the bottom with Hudson being sent home. Elton John, who was a mentor that season, called the results “incredibly racist.” Barrino went on to win the season, and Hudson later scored an Oscar for her role in the film Dreamgirls.

(3) Nude photo double standard? Season 2 favorite Frenchie Davis was booted from the show after topless photos emerged of her on an adult website. In Season 6, another nude photo scandal rocked “American Idol” when naked shots of contestant Antonella Barbra leaked online. Controversy arose when Barbra was allowed to remain on the show. Producers explained that the difference was Barbra’s nude photos were leaked without her permission.

(2) The Sanjaya Malakar effect. “American Idol” is known for having fun with its occasionally not-so-great contestants, but it became extreme with Malakar during Season 6. The singer, who was clearly not as vocally skilled as some other contestants, made it all the way to seventh place in the singing competition show. Howard Stern, who encouraged his listeners to vote for Malakar, and the website, Vote for the Worst, were to blame for keeping the singer on longer than he should have ben on “American Idol.”

(1) Contestant arrests and disqualifications: Over 15 seasons, there have been numerous contestants with run-ins with the law. One of the most notable was Season 2’s Corey Clark, who was booted from the show after it was revealed that he had been arrested for assault. In 2005, Clark surfaced again, claiming he had an affair with Paula Abdul, and that she helped him with his image and music selection. “American Idol” denied these allegation, and Abdul was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by an independent counsel.


  1. Gossip Cop
  2. Mediaite
  3. LawNewz
  4. The Mary Sue