AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANT CRIES “FOUL”
Tucson Teenager Learns “Gold Ticket” Invitation to Hollywood Doesn’t Mean Much
Tucson, Arizona February 20, 2006-- Four days before 16 year old Tora Woloshin was due to depart for Hollywood after earning a gold ticket at American Idol auditions in Las Vegas, she received news that she had been eliminated. One of 175 contestants selected nationwide for the finals, Tora prepared for Hollywood week (Dec 4-10) immediately following the Las Vegas audition in October of 2005. It wasn’t until November 30 that Idol producers told her she had been eliminated and refused to give her a reason.
City auditions over and her contestant status secured, Tora returned home to prepare for American Idol. Knowing she would miss school, she obtained a GED and began a new job training program. However, once her boss found out she would be gone for a week, Tora was forced to resign. Other preparations included purchasing audition attire, vocal coaching and rehearsing music sent to her by the show. Numerous communications from FOX and Idol producers, including airline and hotel reservations received on November 21, confirmed Tora’s continued participation in the show.
In a statement to KMSB Fox 11 in Tucson, an Idol representative indicated there was a “red flag” on Tora’s background investigation which had led to her elimination. However, Tora’s information was fully disclosed to producers by October 20th, a full 6 weeks before she was cut. Tora’s mother recalls the phone call, “The producer was apologetic but said he didn’t know the reason for Tora’s elimination. He referred me to Fremantle Media.” Ms. Woloshin said she spoke with several people at Fremantle who refused to provide her with a reason. “I asked if it was something we had done wrong and was told that it was a casting decision and she was welcome to audition again next season. Why would they say that if there had been red flag?” Ms. Woloshin said they also refused to to tell her why the call came at the last hour. “They were very unsympathetic to the loss of school and a job." She added that if the show had eliminated Tora earlier, their lives could have gone back to normal. “I went beyond full disclosure, detailing issues I thought might be a concern. If Tora WAS red flagged, they could have called us much sooner.”
When Tora was asked what she thought about the elimination she responded, “The news would have been easier to take if they told me why. I have no idea if I’m suppose to do something different. They let a lot of people through and find out later that they're criminals. Those people lied on their background checks and they got through. I told the truth and was cut before I got there.” Tora’s mother is dismayed that show producers are sending this message to Idol hopefuls. “From a young person’s perspective
they might think they can get further by hiding issues that may not be appealing. I think you garner more respect by being honest and open about it. Tora’s issues were very minor in the scheme of things."
Although Tora was devastated by the American Idol decision to eliminate her just days before Hollywood, she refuses to give up on a career in music. Tora fronts a new rock band called Heartfelt Confessions, was featured in the Feb 23 issue of RollingStone Magazine and has extended her fan base to thousands of American Idol fans who support her.