American Idol Finalist Was Focus Of NC5 Investigation
By Jennifer Kraus
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Some fans in Middle Tennessee of the popular show "American Idol" are outraged because Todrick Hall was selected Tuesday night as one of the show's 24 finalists.
Last summer, Hall was the center of a NewsChannel 5 investigation, and now NewsChannel 5 Investigates is hearing from parents who said he took their money and broke their kids' hearts.
When Todrick Hall made it another step further on "American Idol," parents in the Nashville area could not believe it.
"It makes me upset for the children that he kind of left in the wake here and the parents who put out the money for these kids to get their performing opportunity -- they're trying to live the dream too," said Cheri Urie.
Hall is the same man who promised children in Middle Tennessee a chance to be in his show "Oz, the Musical."
Hundreds of hopefuls showed up at auditions around town. NewsChannel 5 later learned that everyone who tried out, got in as long as their parents paid $50 to $75.
The show never made it to Nashville or most of the other cities around the country that it claimed it was heading to. "Oz, the Musical" closed after a show in Alabama.
Todrick Hall told NewsChannel 5 Investigates then that the show had run out of money.
"We just want our money back," said Urie.
Urie not only has two children who were going to be in the show, but she owns a dance studio in Nolensville and dozens of her students paid to be in Oz as well.
What made them mad was that after the Nashville show was canceled, parents were told there would be another show or they would get their money back.
Eight months later, there's been no show and no refunds. "There's some outrage. Some people are kind of hot especially in these economic times when money's tight. A hundred dollars means two months worth of dance classes to some of these kids," explained Urie.
Long after Hall made the first cut on "American Idol," Internet reports began to surface about his problems in Oz.
Many of them even cite the NewsChannel 5 report and what happened in Nashville.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Hall said that while he's not allowed to do interviews because of "American Idol," he said that he's worried about how the stories will affect his chances on the show.
Halls said that what happened with Oz was a "mistake." He went on to claim that, while he was the director of the show, he had nothing to do with the money.
Hall also claimed he had not heard as many complaints from parents in other cities as he has from those in Nashville. He said the parents, in part, are the reason he's being called the controversial contestant.