Sour Note for "Idol" Finalist
Fri Apr 01, 6:00 PM ET
Perhaps Fox should simply make a prior arrest record a prerequisite for participating in American Idol.
Beefy crooner Scott Savol is the latest Idol finalist to have the details of his sketchy past unearthed, thanks to the sleuthing of the Smoking Gun Website.
According to the Website, Savol was busted four years ago when he went ballistic on an ex-flame, Michele Martin, during a Valentine's Day dustup. He was subsequently arrested for felony domestic violence, but the charges were later reduced to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Fox officials said the finalist's past won't affect his potential Idol future. While the general public may have been in the dark about Savol's skeletons in the closet, the network claims it was well aware of them.
"Scott Savol was forthcoming to the American Idol producers and the network regarding his misdemeanor," Fox and Idol producers said in a statement Thursday night.
"After reviewing the facts, in which the charges were reduced to disorderly conduct, we felt that considering Scott's honesty and his remorse, the situation did not warrant his disqualification."
Per the police report, Savol's troubles with the law began on Feb. 14, 2001, when he went to grab some things from his ex-girlfriend's mother's house in suburban Cleveland, where he had been living with Martin and their infant son.
When Savol arrived at Martin's home, a verbal argument ensued and things quickly turned physical, according to the report.
Savol allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend, pulled an engagement ring off her finger and "stated he was also going to take their son," per the report.
The 28-year-old then allegedly attempted to snatch the baby, but Martin "stopped him from taking the child by telling [Savol] that she was going to call 911."
In response, Savol allegedly shoved Martin, yanked the phone from her hand and hurled the receiver at his former love, which "caused the phone to break," per the report.
The heated exchange prompted Martin to sign a warrant for the soul-patch-wearing heavyweight's arrest the next day. Police caught up with Savol at his home and took him into custody.
The sweet-voiced but apparently not so sweet-tempered Savol eventually copped a plea to a reduced misdemeanor disorderly conduct rap.
The end result of the fight left the crooner with a $500 fine, a year's probation, an order to complete a domestic violence program and a suspended 20-day jail term.
In addition to Savol's domestic dispute arrest in 2001, the Idol wannabe also pled no contest to a 1995 misdemeanor trespassing charge in Ohio, according to the Smoking Gun.
Naturally, this is not the first time Fox execs have had to contend with the darker side of an Idol wannabe.
Last month, finalist Mario Vazquez mysteriously and unexpectedly withdrew from competition, leaving many to speculate what skeletons he might have in his closet.
In 2003, contestant Corey Clark was disqualified after the Smoking Gun smoked out an outstanding criminal case against him.
And that's just for starters--to recap, here's a look at the trouble-prone finalists who have had Fox spin doctors working overtime:
Jaered Andrews: Arguably the most embattled of Idol contestants, Andrews was kicked off the show after Fox learned he was charged with assault after a bar brawl that resulted in the death of a Pennsylvania man. Andrews was subsequently acquitted of all charges.
Frenchie Davis: TV viewers and industry watchers were shocked when Fox prudishly booted 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 made the best of her ousting, signing a management deal with Idol's producers and serving as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.
Joshua Gracin: There were accusations that the lance corporal's pipes were helping him avoid front-line duty in Iraq, a charge Fox and the Marine Corps. repeatedly denied.
Trenyce: In 1999, the single-monikered contestant was charged with felony theft 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."
Of course, none of the controversy is likely to hurt ratings on the megahit. So far this season, Idol's ratings have been nothing but a source of glee for Fox suits. Close to 30 million viewers have been tuning in to the talent quest each week. The countdown to brief fame, fortune and potentially cheesy music continues Tuesday night on Fox.