The singer claims in paperwork that he's been "manipulated" by the company over the past few years.
"I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol," Phillips told ABC News in a statement. "The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."
At the core of the petition is the Talent Agencies Act, a California law that states that only licensed talent agents can negotiate gigs for their clients. Phillips' legal team intends to show that the producers were violating the TAA.
Phillips' lawyer, Howard King at King Holmes Paterno & Berliner, called the deal "oppressive" and "fatally conflicted." In a statement, he said: "Phillip appreciates the opportunity provided to him by American Idol and always expected the producers to share in the rewards of his subsequent success. However, he never anticipated that the producers would favor their own interests above his career or commit egregious violations of the California's Talent Agencies Act. Thankfully, California has a long history of protecting artists from being victimized by people illegally operating as de facto talent agencies."
However, 19 Entertainment stands by the deal.
"We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career. We have always acted in the best interest of Phillip," a spokesperson for the company told The Hollywood Reporter. "We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships."