In the seventh season it became clear that some "Idol" wannabes were not as green as they appeared to be. When it was discovered that Hennessy, the Irish singer with the big voice, had once been signed to a million-dollar record deal, some fans cried foul.
Hennessy only sold a few hundred CDs and was not under contract at the time she auditioned for "American Idol," which is in line with the show's rules. Nonetheless, when New York magazine broke the story about Hennessy and another contestant's previous record deals, a mini-scandal followed.
Another controversy from season seven of "American Idol" involved some scantily clad photos that emerged of a male contestant who had apparently worked as a stripper in Phoenix.
The show's producers were unfazed by Hernandez's past. Warwick told TV Guide's Web site: "We've had strippers on the show before. We're never judgmental about people who do things like that. If it were some sort of heavy porn, then maybe we'd have to take action. But certainly not on this."
"Idol" did dismiss Frenchie Davis during Season 2 in 2003, after it was discovered that she had once appeared on an adult Web site.
The show left it to the fans to decide Hernadez's fate -- and they did pretty quickly: he was the first of 12 finalists to be eliminated.
The year before, another set of racy photos made headlines. After topless photos of New York semifinalist Barba were leaked on the Internet, "Idol" took the unprecedented step of allowing her to stay.
Barba explained at the time that these "were photos of my personal life that got exploited without my consent."
Cowell defended her, telling USA Today, "These people haven't done anything illegal; that's their private life."
Vasquez's abrupt departure from Season 4 of "Idol" left fans speculating. When he dropped out of the finals in March 2005, he cited "personal reasons."
Two years later, it became apparent why. That's when a male "Idol" employee filed a lawsuit alleging that Vasquez had sexually harassed him while he was a contestant on the show. In the suit, former employee Magdaleno Olmos alleged that Vasquez followed him into a bathroom stall, touched him inappropriately and made advances toward him.
As for Fantasia, her manager says she'll survive her current struggle, just as she has survived so much before. She was raped by a classmate at Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina, and ultimately dropped out. She became pregnant at age 16, and on Aug. 8, 2001, gave birth to her daughter, Zion Quari Barrino.
"Fantasia will be stronger, smarter, and better for it," Dickens said. "The lyrics to 'I'm Here' from her upcoming album 'Back To Me' to be released on August 24th say it best: 'I believe I have inside of me/ everything that I need to live a bountiful life/ with all the love inside of me I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree.'"
Brian Braiker contributed reporting to this story.