Livermore man booted off 'Idol'
By Susan Young, STAFF WRITER
THIS week started out to be the most promising one of Donnie Williams' life. Instead, it became one of the most devastating for the "American Idol" hopeful.
The 20-year-old Livermore man, who works at the Pleasanton Safeway on Santa Rita Road, spent Sunday evening celebrating with his family at a friend's house in Pittsburg. On his way home at 2:13 a.m. Monday on Interstate 680, a Danville police officer noted Williams driving up behind him at a high rate of speed. According to police spokesman
Jimmy Lee, the officer judged Williams was going about 100 mph. He pulled Williams over near Bollinger Canyon Road.
"The officer noticed Mr. Williams appeared intoxicated, and after performing field sobriety tests, he was arrested for driving under the influence," Lee said. "He was taken to the Danville police station where a family member later picked him up."
Lee said that Williams was cooperative. But while being placed under arrest, he made a statement to the officer that this was "ruining his chances on 'American Idol.'"
It will be up to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office to determine whether to pursue the underage Williams' case. Williams turns 21 in July.
After learning of the incident, Fox decided late Wednesday to pull Williams from his upcoming "American Idol" competition. His information was yanked from the Web site, and the network issued a statement saying that while they understand Williams was not convicted of a crime, "the producers and the network feel that the nature of the charges against him warrant his disqualification." Williams can try out for the show next season "once these issues have been resolved," according to Fox.
When contacted Thursday morning, Williams said he wasn't ready to talk to the newspaper about the debacle. He did, however, tell his story on "Inside Edition," which aired Thursday night on KRON-Channel 4.
Williams said on the program that "I'm going to overcome it" and "I let a lot of people down. I just hope they don't hold this against me."
He also revealed that he told "Idol's" producers about the incident.
"I don't want to be living a lie," he said.
Several "American Idol" contestants have lost their spots in the competition because of brushes with the law. Corey Clark was one of nine remaining contestants when he was booted last year after Fox learned he was facing trial on charges he assaulted his teenage sister and battled with police while resisting arrest.
In another competition, Ohio finalist Jaered Andrews was showed the door after he was charged with assault in connection with a bar fight that ended in the death of a 39-year-old partygoer. Andrews had been celebrating with friends before he was to go to Los Angeles for the finals.
This week, Baton Rouge native Williams was to fly down to Los Angeles to begin gearing up for his appearance Tuesday night on "American Idol." Williams beat out 70,000 contestants to become one of 32 finalists set to sell his wares in front of the viewers.
Groups of eight have been competing for the past few weeks, and Williams had been slated to perform in the final group vying for votes. Voters are whittling down the contestants from the 32 chosen by judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson to the final 12 contestants going for the recording contract