One of tonight's candidates was Matheus Fernandes, who was on The Glee Project (he didn't make it).
I assume the kids on the Glee Project get paid something for their time, receiving more the longer they stay. Isn't that the way most reality competitions go? But here he was, with no mention of his previous show, trying out for Idol. He did quite a good job.
So what are the restrictions for Idol? No current music contracts? Or must they be complete amateurs? (For that matter, how is "amateur" defined? In the Olympics, it seems more and more professionals are slipping in under one technicality or another.)
Yes. Jennifer Hudson sang on cruise ships. Various others have had professional singing careers before trying Idol.
Adam Lambert was in the LA cast of "Wicked". So he had had professional experience.
I am not sure but I imagine the threshold for disqualification must be a lot higher than having participated in another reality show that no one saw.
Now if he were black and previously found not guilty of a crime, he would be gone or strung along and then expelled on TV.
I think "no current music contract" is accurate. Carly Smithson (nee Hennessey) from season 7 had a major label release in the early 2000s but had been dropped by the time she did Idol. And I vaguely recall stories that Idol bought out someone's contract with an indie label so they could appear on the show.
It does put an asterisk on the term "amateur" but it's a TV show and probably wouldn't have survived if it featured only completely inexperienced singers.
This kind of stuff has been happening on American Idol since the beginning. In the first season, Nikki McKibbin had been on Popstars a year or two before. Several past finalists had dropped development or record deals in addition to Carly Smithson. In 2008 and 2009, Vote for the Worst did a few articles that theorized that the producers were planting some contestants for the top 24 or 36. I remember the articles detailed a lot of connections, singing jobs, previous competitions that some contestants had been involved in. David Archuleta had competed on the Star Search revival. There was another contestant who had been on Nashville Star. There were several people who had been backup or studio singers.
In the 2009 season, there was a contestant named Joanna Pacitti. She did Broadway work as a child and had a dropped record deal in her late teens or early 20s. In auditions, Kara DioGuardi recognized her right away and mentioned meeting her in the past. Joanna was originally selected for the top 36. Controversy about her having a dropped deal and knowing Kara forced the producers to drop her and replace her with someone else before the top 36 competition started. Joanna dated Mark Ballas for awhile.
This stuff is common on other reality show competitions. The Glee Project 2 had a contestant who had been on America's Got Talent. LeRoy Bell who was on The X Factor toured with Idina Menzel years ago.