Family speaks out about 'Idol' wanna-be's tragic story

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Feb 3rd 2007 7:01PM
Jamie Lynn WardThe most memorable thing about Jamie Lynn Ward's Birmingham audition was not her voice, but her tragic story. The 17-year-old teen surprised all when she launched into a tale that sounded like a twisted country song called "My Daddy Shot My Cheatin' Stepmomma and Then He Shot Himself."

Nobody was more shocked to hear Jamie air her story for 33 million viewers than her family. And stepmomma Beverly wants to set a few things straight: A) She was not cheating on her husband, and B) he didn't shoot her because he caught her in the act.

According to Beverly, her husband James shot her after an argument. She believes that alcohol, Valium, and stress contributed to his actions. As for hearing Jamie talk about the shooting on national TV, Beverly says she felt emotionally "destroyed."

Grandma Sue doesn't know what possessed Jamie to share her family's tragedy, saying, "I don't know if it was her nerves or if they just pressed her for her story."

Jamie Lynn's back-story certainly has created a buzz, possibly giving her an edge over her more anonymous competitors (those without a tragic tale to set them apart). So what do you think? Did Jamie share her story to gain the sympathy vote and stand out in the crowd? Or did Idol producers cross a line and exploit the teenager by including footage of Jamie spilling the beans on her family tragedy?

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well first off. jamie lynn goes to my school. Rock High. shes very sweet. gorgeous. and really really nice. i agree that she is not nearly the best. i agree that she should not have said those things about her family. butttt. she was very nervous. and i thought she could sing okay. not great. shes really sweet and i dont really care about her family. she has a good personality and i think she did amazing. and if i was her i wouldnt have any regrets. because most of you here dont know her and how she acts toward people. it would not matter if she was white black polka dot! or bi, gay , or straigt and let me say she jUST might be.butttt. i hope her plans go well.

February 14 2007 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Look, if you can't see the obvious then take off those blinders. I have only seen a few auditions this season but I saw hers and it was very transparent. She knew that the story would garner sympathy-couple that with her looks, "accent" and a middling voice and voila. "You're going to Hollywood". Till week 2-then back to the trailer.

February 07 2007 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kellie's comments completely miss the point. I have spent 30 years providing counseling to individuals from all walks of life, every part of the country, every race, religion, and creed. The point I was trying to make (see 61 and 63) is exactly that...that none of us has the right to assume superiority based on any of those factors, nor on intelligence or academic achievement. I can assure you that I haven't sleepwalked through life. There is nothing that can be done by or to another human being that I haven't listened to and tried to help with. I was angry when I replied to Sydney, and that came across as arrogance, which was wrong. We are all God's children, in whatever form you conceive that to be, and I feel very badly for this young woman.

As a victim's advocate, it does anger me that people are so ready to denounce her for telling her life story, to accuse her of lying, etc. Based on my experience, I would guess that she has, in fact, had a very sad life and is a sweet, caring young woman who is being somewhat exploited for Idol ratings. (BTW, my momma WAS proud of me before she died of Alzheimer's, after I cared for her in my home for 7 years. That doesn't make me superior, just no stranger to tragedy.) My heart goes out to anyone who is caring for her crippled father, and I don't doubt her motives. She is only 16, after all, and this is her reality. Who are we to judge her for telling her personal truth when she was asked?

February 07 2007 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank heaven I can speed read! Didn't see it, didn't know about it and, wouldn't put it past the producers to have pushed for some "sensationalizm". After all, isn't it all about ratings?

February 07 2007 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terri Patanus

Hey put IDOL on a different station FOX is a station that no one at least anyone with a brain should watch. Give the Business to NBC and I will watch it. That station is deleted from my TV.

February 07 2007 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think she did it for the attention and votes. However, she was not the only one who did it. Since American Idol winner Fantasia shared her hard-luck background with the judges and audience(and it was a difficult one) we are hearing alot more tough stories. I do feel Fantasia's story helped her in her American Idol win. Shame on them for selling their families out for votes.

February 07 2007 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To #80, Mrs. C:

You appear to be judging, also.....Truth is, no one knows this girl's true family deal....We can all comment (since that is what this page is for) and maybe some of these people are judging...Does that make it right for you to judge these people?

"After all, if you are so much better than she, then why is it all YOU have to do is sit on your computer all day, writing about her. .......Who is pitiful now?"

I don't know who is pitiful now, but I'm pretty sure that you must have been at your computer (maybe not all day) writing about her...

February 07 2007 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jeff Foxworthy and company are doing a comedy routine...that's a little bit different than what we're talking about here. it's like comparing Chris Rock to Michael Richards when both use the "N"'s different to take a sterotype and highlight the predjudices by emphacizing it. It calls attention to people's own biases and predjudice and makes them think. When you are just badmouthing Southerners in general by saying that we sound dumb or all live in trailer parks or that it's not uncomoon to find our "deddy's is jail 'cause he caught the stepmamma cheatin' on him" that's something else altogether different. That's just ignorant and shallow thinking.

February 07 2007 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

She should be ashamed of herself....telling her family business on National TV. Even if it is true...that was no time to chat about it. It's personal and I think she used it to endear herself to the judges. I was not all that thrilled when Kelly Pickler did it either.

February 07 2007 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's possible American Idol used this girl's story to get a rise out of people.

For those of you coming down so hard on this girl.... well, shame on YOU! She's young, and I'm sure she's nervous, and some people live their lives as an open book. I'm sure her situation has an impact on her life every day, so why shouldn't she share it? If she was a little older, and wiser, would she have told her story to the judges? Maybe not. But there is no one out there that has not done something silly or regretable in their youth, so give the girl a break.

The show had a choice to air the story, or not to air it. I think they deserve the criticism that is being placed on that girl.

February 07 2007 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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