AN Aussie has sung his way to Hollywood on season seven of American Idol but there is mounting speculation that he may be a record company plant.Michael Johns was praised by Idol judge Simon Cowell as a "white soul singer" when he auditioned in San Diego on last night's Idol, and was voted through to Hollywood, where the group will be whittled down to the top 24.
The 28-year-old sang I've Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding and his audition was so warmly received it is featured in one of Idol's promo ads.
Michael – who is originally from Perth and changed his name from Michael Lee – was once the lead-singer of a band called The Rising, who released a CD in 2003 on Madonna's Maverick Records label and an earlier band called Film. And, while American Idol and other internet blogs are abuzz about the Aussie's good looks and soulful voice, Underground Online and other blogs suggest he is one of several plants in the show.
The popular VoteForTheWorst Idol-site claims they were sent a list by an insider detailing a long list of rings-in who are far from undiscovered and, like Michael, have long industry resumes, including deals with major labels.
The Aussie is even exposed for allegedly screwing over his Film bandmates by walking out on the group and claiming the band's co-written songs as his own.