Normandy Vamos sues American Idol because the program did not pay her for trying out for its televised talent show and because it made a “laughingstock” of her.
“To carry out this scheme,” the lawsuit maintains of the former allegation, “Defendants required the Class Members and Aggrieved Employees to enter into purported contracts which stated that they agree that the performance of their songs and any acting or other presentation of performance (including interviews) ‘shall not be deemed to be a performance and is not employment[.]’ Then, an in effort to further distance themselves from the truth of the employment relationship, Defendants also maintained that Plaintiff and the Class Members were ‘not being considered for an employment position’ in another document they were required to sign. Despite the attempt to usurp applicable California Labor law, the attempt here of calling a rose anything other than a rose, does not change the nature or characteristics of it being a rose, just as the attempt to exempt themselves from employment protections does not actually do so.”
Reality television pollutes the airwaves (your correspondent occasionally inhales the pollution) because it saves operating costs in not paying or meagerly paying the entertainers. This case threatens that.
The lawsuit itself reads as not as far-fetched as articles on it make it seem. On her allegation that the show made her a joke, Vamos wore sweatpants and rabbit crocs to the rehearsal while carrying a carrot purse (she says producers instructed her to bring it). The laughter came primarily from the rather shocking difference between Vamos’s cartoonishly pipsqueak speaking voice and her big-Bertha singing voice (watch the audition here).
One imagines she wins the judge’s scorn here. But she won three “yeses” from American Idol judges upon her initial audition. The yesses soon stopped and the lawsuit soon began.
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