Four American Idol finalists are coming to the show's defense after nine black ex-contestants claimed Idol is racist.
Nine black ex-contestants are said to be planning to sue producers, claiming they were publicly disqualified because they're African-American. Idol officially booted the contestants because of possible criminal backgrounds.
But season 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle, who is black, tells TMZ, "In my experience on the show, the Idol team strives to champion everyone, regardless of race. However, each contestant is explicitly told that the withholding of information that may compromise the show or artist, can and will result in immediate disqualification."
Season 4 finalist Vonzell Solomon, who is also black, adds, "I didn’t experience any [racial discrimination]... All of our contracts were clear about how the background checks worked and that we could be disqualified if we lied about our past."
Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams says, "I don't know why they are biting the hand that fed them. Those guys beat thousands of people who wanted to be on TV. Idol is picky, but I'm not sure about racist."
Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks adds, "American Idol is for everyone. All walks of life go through the show. Not once did I see the show discriminate towards anyone. It’s all about the votes."
In 11 seasons, Idol has had three black winners -- Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Jordin Sparks.