The Unexpected Reason American Idol Is Getting Sued By A Former Contestant

american idol

American Idol might not be around to serenade viewers through primetime anymore, but that doesn't mean it can't still earn a headline or two. In this instance, it's because American Idol producers and Fox Broadcasting Co. are being targeted in a particularly unexpected lawsuit from a former contestant over an ear injury he suffered while performing on the show that may have messed up his ability to play music the same way.

Viewers who were tuned into Season 14 may remember the contestant Michael Simeon Smith, though he wasn't one of the eventual finalists. Smith is the one that brought the lawsuit to American Idol producers, claiming he suffered serious ear damage. According to the suit, Smith was prepping a performance on December 12, 2014, but the earpiece fitted into his right ear gave him immediate discomfort and pain. When the show audiologist's representative removed it from his ear, the earpiece reportedly also detached a portion of Smith's eardrum. And it was apparently as awful as it sounds.

According to Variety, Michael Simeon Smith was then taken to a different room backstage for hours as his ear bled. The suit states he received medical treatment for his on-set injuries, including a right tympanoplatsy (a corrective surgery for the eardrum). Smith claims through the lawsuit that the injuries have limited his ability to play music to the extend that he could before this situation occurred. Beyond those details, the suit also claims negligence and product liability.

It's unclear just how much moolah Michael Simeon Smith is hunting, as the lawsuit wasn't specific about the endgame being sought out. The audiologist's representative is listed as one of the defendants along with Fox Broadcasting Co. and several American Idol production companies. At this time, the network hasn't offered an official response.

It was only earlier this year when American Idol production company 19 Entertainment was the one doing the suing. The company slammed former winner Phillip Phillips with a lawsuit claiming the entertainer needed to fork over a ton of money over broken contract agreements and other breaches.

American Idol is currently no longer something that viewers can put their peepers on, but there's always the chance that the show could return in the future. (That's how some people see it, anyway.) To see what's coming to the small screen in the future, head to our midseason TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.