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News from the Ghost of 'Idol' Present

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Here’s a question from the filebox labeled “Pop-Cultural Questions to Debate Over Weekend Brunch”: How much does an artist’s personal life count toward your decision to buy what they’re selling? No, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, and Isaiah Washington are all keepin’ it mercifully zipped today, but news about American Idol‘s Season 6 hopefuls is already filtering out onto the Internet, and I’ve got a feeling that for at least one of ’em, it could be potentially dream-crushing. TMZ is reporting that Thomas Daniels, whose successful rendition of Amos Lee’s “Arms of a Woman” was one of the few high points of Wednesday’s Idol telecast, has an arrest record — once for drunk driving, and once for hit-and-run. And while the contestant in question chalks it up to “young and dumb situation,” I’ve got to ask all of you: Will arrest kill his chances to make the top 24? And, more importantly, should it? It’s hard for me to sit here and judge without having all the facts, but HIT AND RUN? Really? That sounds a little more “young and sociopathic” than “young and dumb.” But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, the jaunty folks at DeathByCamera went and dug up MySpace pages for a number of this week’s Idol contestants — rejects like “The Hotness” and Hollywood-bound folks including adorable Matt Sato and the unfortunately named Perla Meneses. Another question: Will her teeny-bikini poses hurt or help her Idol chances? Let the debate begin!