And then there were eight.
In a move that's becoming all too common, the producers of American Idol kicked another contestant off the show late Monday night after learning of an undisclosed rap sheet.
The bonehead of the week is party-boy Corey Clark, who's due in court next month on charges that he assaulted his teenage sister and resisted arrest when cops showed up to quell the family feud, according to a report published on the Smoking Gun Website.
This from a guy who suggests people would be surprised to know "I get along with everyone" on his show bio.
Apparently, Clark didn't volunteer his record when auditioning for the talent contest, which didn't sit well with producers.
In a statement released on Monday, Fox said that Clark "withheld information about a prior arrest which, had it been known, might have affected his participation in the show."
"Due to his failure to disclose, compounded by an error in a police report which misspelled Corey's name, the incident was not discovered during a background check," Fox said. "The producers and network feel that Corey's behavior warrants his disqualification."
As of this morning, the network hadn't decided how the dismissal would impact the show. Fox expanded to 12 finalists this season to stretch the series out until May sweeps but now they find may themselves short.
The news comes just five days after it was revealed that fellow finalist Trenyce (aka Lashundra Cobbins) was convicted of a 1999 felony theft charge. The producers quickly came out in support of the songbird, calling the charge a "minor matter."
However, Clark's sibling rivalry slap-up is a lot more serious than Trenyce's sticky-fingered charge. He was arrested last October when a neighbor called the cops after hearing screams coming from the family home in Topeka, Kansas. "What finally caught my attention was a lot of screaming. Then I knew somebody was getting hurt," a witness told the Smoking Gun.
When cops arrived on the scene, they quizzed the 22-year-old and his 15-year-old sister, Alecia, separately. After about 15 minutes, Clark allegedly became less than cooperative, screaming and yelling at officers. The cops responded by body-checking the six-foot singer to the ground, handcuffing him and leaving him to cool off in a squad car.
While Clark was chilling in the Topeka Police Department cruiser, he allegedly managed to maneuver his cuffed hands in front of him. Cops yanked him out of the car and once again struggled to recuff Clark until an officer pulled out a Taser and threatened to zap him if he didn't cooperate. The stun-gun threat succeeded in subduing Clark, according to the police report.
He then spent three days as a guest of the Shawnee County Jail, where he was charged with battery of his sister and four police officers and child endangerment, all misdemeanors. Clark was later released on bail and ordered to stay away from his sis. On the bail application form Clark listed "self-employed entertainer" as his occupation and was "currently enrolling into school for audio engineering."
After his arrest, Clark lived briefly in Nashville (listing the city as his hometown on his show bio) before relocating to the Hollywood Hills mansion he shares with his Idol finalists.
Clark is best known for almost blowing his big moment by going out partying in Hollywood instead of rehearsing for the semifinals audition.
In December, days after Clark made the Idol cut, he was arraigned on three misdemeanor charges in Kansas District Court: resisting arrest, battery of his sister and criminal restraint. If convicted of the first two counts, Clark could spend a year in jail, with an additional six months in the slammer if found guilty on the third count.
The crooner is due in court April 15, the same day he had been due to sing live on Idol. Among those likely to be in the audience at the wannabe star's trial are three neighbors, five cops and two sisters (Alecia and 19-year-old Ajia), all subpoenaed as prospective witnesses.
Meanwhile, this wasn't Clark's first run-in with the law. Three years ago, Wal-Mart sued him for writing more than $600 in bad checks. A year later, Clark was sued by a Topeka grocery store for bouncing a $50 check. Clark made good to Wal-Mart two years after the retail chain filed its district court lawsuit, while he settled his grocery bill with JM Bauersfeld's within six months of getting sued.
It's believed the network was aware of Clark's problem with bad checks but had no idea of his assault arrest. While it traditionally refuses to comment on the private lives of its Idol participants, the severity of Clark's charges made disciplinary action inevitable. But Clark's hardly the first to get kicked off the show.
To recap, here's a look at the trouble-prone finalists who've had Fox spin doctors working overtime: Jaered Andrews: By far the most embattled of Idol contestants, Fox kicked the 24-year-old Andrews off the show after learning he was involved in a bar brawl that resulted in the death of a Pennsylvania man. Andrews, who remains free on $5,000 bail, faces up to a year in prison if convicted on his assault charge. Frenchie Davis: Fox shocked TV viewers and Industry watchers when it prudishly booted 23-year-old Davis for posing topless for an adult Website that peddles kiddie porn. (Davis claims to have been of consenting age when she did the photo shoot.) The amateur singer has made the best of her ousting, signing a management deal with Idol's producers and serving as a Grammy correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. Joshua Gracin: There were accusations that the 22-year-old lance corporal's pipes were helping him avoid front-line duty in Iraq, a charge Fox and the Marine Corps. have repeatedly denied. Accordingly, Gracin, who remains as one of the eight finalists, could be called to duty at any moment. Trenyce: In 1999, the 22-year-old was charged with a felony theft charge and ordered to spend a year in a pre-trial diversion program. Her slate was later wiped clean, and Idol producers didn't feel the rap sheet warranted "concern regarding her participation in the show." Expect Trenyce to be one of the finalists singing in this week's episode, which honors the disco era.
The countdown to brief fame, fortune and potentially cheesy music continues Tuesday night on Fox with one less competitor.
(Originally published 03/31/03 at 1:45 PM PT.)