An American Idol contestant is suing the show over wage theft alleging she was forced to work long hours without pay and made out to be a ‘laughing stock’ for the sake of ‘viral fame.’
Normandy Vamos, 30, auditioned for season 20 of the show in February 2020 and was notable for her child-like voice and attire. The singer then shocked the judges with her deep voice, including Katy Perry – who dramatically left the room.
Vamos, who went on to win the favor of the judges but did not make it onto the show, is now suing for working 15-hour days without breaks or pay while being confined to her hotel room for eight days, according to Insider.
The singer initially came off as timid and sweet while wearing all pink, bunny shoes and styling a carrot bag to go along with a quiet squeaky voice until she sang Proud Mary by Tina Turner and won the favor of the three judges.
Despite the aspiring singer receiving the thumbs up to compete on the show, she was later turned away due to the show’s cut-off age of 29.
Normandy Vamos, 30, auditioned for American Idol in 2020 and is now suing. A lawsuit alleges she was made out to be a ‘laughing stock’ for ‘viral fame’
The singer initially came off as timid and sweet while wearing all pink, bunny shoes and styling a carrot bag to go along with a quiet squeaky voice until she belted Proud Mary by Tina Turner and won the favor of the three judges
Vamos, who is from Baltimore, travelled to Los Angeles for American Idol’s ‘Hollywood Week’ after several auditions for the music show.
Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Vamos was considered a volunteer under California law rather than an employee. The ‘volunteer’ status, however, remained after the participants arrived in the sunny state, even though they participated in filming that would potentially air on television.
Participants who made it to the final round of auditions weren’t given an exact day or time to appear on camera in front of judges Luke Bryan, Lioniel Richie and Perry. Rather, they waited on standby until they were called, according to the suit.
‘American Idol’s producers seem to feel they can break labor laws and exploit ambitious young performers simply because they may be eager for a shot at becoming the next Jennifer Hudson or Carrie Underwood,’ Chantal Payton, attorney representing Ramos, told Insider.
‘They treated them as so-called volunteers, when in reality they are employees who should be paid.’
The lawsuit alleges the participants had long days with little breaks and no pay for eight days. Ramos along with the others also signed away their rights to their performances in a ‘work-for-hire’ contract, according to the news outlet.
American Idol representatives weren’t immediately available to comment.
Vamos won the approval from Luke Bryan, Lioniel Richie and Katy Perry. She was later told that she was too old to join the show
Payton further claimed her client was mocked and made out to be a ‘laughing stock’ for the sake of reality TV because of her high-pitched voice.
Vamos wasn’t initially taken seriously when arrived to her audition with the three Idol judges. When she announced on set that she would be singing Proud Mary, Perry instantly added: ‘I thought it would be like Mary Had a Little Lamb.’
Perry’s first impression of the singer instantly changed when Ramos sang the first word of Turner’s beloved song in a deep raspy voice.
‘F*** this job,’ Perry said jokingly while walking out. ‘I’m outta here!’
She added while returning to her seat: ‘I will not be set up.’
The Roar singer then challenged Vamos to sing Adele before officially deciding to take a chance on her.
While 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 in the first place.
Singer Noah Thompson, 20, later went on to win the show in May.
Now, Ramos posts regular videos on TikTok showing off her various singing ranges, including in her regularly baby voice.
Ramos used to always sing in a high-pitched tone until she was recommended by a mentor to take lessens to deepen her voice, she said.
She originally planned to audition for American Idol using her baby voice to sing – but producers advised her to not.