A contestant on American Idol is suing the show for pay theft, claiming she was forced to work long hours for no pay and was branded a “laughing stock” for the sake of “viral fame.”
30-year-old Normandy Vamos auditioned for season 20 of the show in February 2020 and stood out for her childish voice and clothes. The singer then shocked the judges with her deep voice, including Katy Perry – who left the room in dramatic fashion.
Vamos, who won the judges’ favor but didn’t make the show, is now suing for working 15 hours a day with no breaks or pay while locked in her hotel room for eight days, according to Insider.
The singer initially came across as shy and sweet as she wore all pink bunny shoes and styled a carrot bag to go along with a quiet squeaky voice until she sang Tina Turner’s Proud Mary and won the favor of the three judges.
Despite the aspiring singer getting the thumbs up for taking part in the show, she was later turned down due to the cut off age of 29.
Normandy Vamos, 30, auditioned for American Idol in 2020 and is now suing. A lawsuit claims she was denounced as a ‘laughing stock’ for ‘viral fame’
The singer initially came across as timid and sweet as she wore all pink bunny shoes and styled a carrot bag to go along with a quiet squeaky voice until she belted Tina Turner’s Proud Mary and won the favor of the three judges.
Vamos, who is from Baltimore, traveled to Los Angeles for American Idol’s “Hollywood Week” after several auditions for the music show.
Before arriving in Los Angeles, Vamos was considered a volunteer rather than an employee under California law. However, the “volunteer” status remained after the contestants arrived in the sunny state, even though they took part in tapings that might be televised.
Contestants who made it to the final round of auditions were not given an exact day or time to appear on camera in front of judges Luke Bryan, Lioniel Richie and Perry. Instead, they waited on standby until called, the indictment said.
“The producers of American Idol seem to feel they can break labor laws and exploit aspiring young artists just because they want a shot at becoming the next Jennifer Hudson or Carrie Underwood,” said Chantal Payton, attorney representing Ramos. represents, to Insider.
“They treated them as so-called volunteers, when in reality they are employees who should be paid.”
According to the lawsuit, the participants had long days with short breaks and were not paid for eight days. Ramos, along with the others, also signed their rights to their performances in a “work-for-hire” contract, according to the news outlet.
American Idol representatives were not immediately available for comment.
Vamos won the endorsement of Luke Bryan, Lioniel Richie and Katy Perry. She was later told she was too old to join the show
Payton further claimed that her client was mocked and called a “laugher” for the sake of reality TV because of her high-pitched voice.
Vamos was not taken seriously at first when she showed up at her audition with the three Idol judges. When she announced on set that she would sing Proud Mary, Perry immediately added, “I thought it would be like Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Perry’s first impression of the singer changed immediately when Ramos sang the first word of Turner’s beloved song in a deep, raspy voice.
“F*** this job,” Perry joked as he walked out. ‘I’m out of here!’
She added as she returned to her seat, “I’m not going to be tricked.”
The Roar singer then challenged Vamos to sing Adele before officially deciding to take a chance on her.
As Ramos’ audition aired, her age eventually led her to producers to kick her off the show. It’s unclear why she was allowed to audition at all.
Singer Noah Thompson, 20, later won the show in May.
Now, Ramos regularly posts videos on TikTok showing off her different singing ranges, including in her regular baby voice.
Ramos always sang on a high note until she was recommended by a mentor to take less to deepen her voice, she said.
She originally planned to audition for American Idol and use her baby voice to sing, but producers advised her not to.