Ryan Seacrest announced the drama ahead at the top of the show: “With the cooperation of law enforcement, we made a discovery that left us no choice but to eliminate one of our finalists from the competition. When you’re doing a live show, anything can happen.” And what better example of the wild spontaneity of live TV is there than a previously taped segment for Ryan to tease for an hour and a half?

American Idol executive producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe called Top 12 contestant Jermaine Jones into their offices to confront him on camera about the criminal history he’d attempted to conceal. In his gentlest evil-overlord-singing-a-lullaby voice, Nigel (pictured, right) informed Jermaine that the producers knew he had been criminally charged twice in 2011 and attempted to use fake names (Joe Jones, Kareem Watkins) to the police. “Oh God,” Jermaine muttered quietly. It appeared he’d been blindsided by the confrontation.

“There are four active warrants out on you, to be honest, Jermaine,” Ken Warwick chimed in, insisting that “we’re not judgmental at all” and that he wished Jermaine would have “come clean and told us in the beginning” about his criminal history.

“We are not allowed to have anyone who has an outstanding warrant on our program, and you’ve got four of them,” said Nigel. “We have to let you go.”

Jermaine thanked them for the opportunity, hugged both producers — who, by the way, thought he’d sounded fabulous during rehearsals — and left the office.

Jermaine was then shown rehearsing what would have been tonight’s song from the year he was born, “Somewhere Out There,” for a few seconds. And just as he was tenderly hitting the last few notes somewhere out on that stage — where dreams come truuuuuuuuuue — a white Ford SUV with no license plates was shown solemnly driving him away from the American Idol lot forever.

It was some great product placement for Ford! FORD.

Jermaine Jones announced his disqualification on Twitter Tuesday night, but the tweet and his account were quickly deleted. Jermaine had been brought back into the Idol fold for an “incredible second chance” on February 28 as part of the Top 13 Guys. He had previously been eliminated by the judges on the green mile. At the time, Idol had highly publicized the “extra guy”‘s return, eventually naming Jones as the lucky contestant over former hopefuls Johnny Keyser, Richie Law, and David Leathers Jr.

Were you upset at how this all went down? Do you think the producers should have handled this off-camera? And do you think the judges will really eliminate someone else tomorrow?

Stay tuned for my full recap overnight.

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