Inside Move: Crime doesn’t pay on ‘Idol’

Clark canned due to lying about last year's arrest

Fox’s “American Idol” is starting to look like another one of the net’s reality staples — “America’s Most Wanted.”

Corey Clark, 22, was booted from the show Monday after muckraking Web site the Smoking Gun revealed that the “American Idol” finalist had been charged with assaulting his sister, resisting arrest and criminal restraint.

Clark is scheduled to appear in Kansas District Court on April 15 and faces a maximum of a year in prison on the first two counts and six months on the last count (all misdemeanors), the site said.

In a joint statement, Fox and producers 19 Television and FremantleMedia said Clark was canned first and foremost because he lied to the show and didn’t disclose last October’s arrest. “Unfortunately, the search process is not perfect,” the network and producers said. “We regret the error, but the only thing we can do is learn from the incident, continue to improve the background check process, and move on.”

The crime drama behind “American Idol” has become almost as interesting as the talent contest on stage. News of Clark’s infractions came just days after word broke that another finalist, Trenyce, had been arrested as a minor on a felony theft charge.

But Trenyce — real name Lashundra Cobbins — had already disclosed that arrest to “American Idol” producers and was allowed to continue with the show.

Clark and Trenyce join two semifinalists who were also axed over their sketchy pasts. Franchelle “Frenchie” Davis was eliminated after she somehow left her experience in Internet porn off her resume; she’s parlayed that into multiple TV appearances, including a stint as an “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent.

And Jaered Andrews was shown the door thanks to his involvement in a bar fight that led to the death of another patron.

All told, that means at least 13% of the show’s original 32 semifinalists boast some sort of checkered history. Either “American Idol” attracts a certain element, or producers looking to get a little more ink on the show have done their job too well.

Fox and the show’s producers will announce today how they’ll deal with Clark’s absence on tonight’s live telecast.

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