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Unforgettable 'Idol' moments

"American Idol" has created plenty of buzz. Here are a few memorable rejects, villains, spinoffs and controversies.

*Ellicottville's own Brian Dunkleman, Season 1 cohost with the now-iconic Ryan Seacrest, bowed out after the first season "in order to pursue other opportunities in the world of TV and feature films." The awkward banter between Dunkleman and Seacrest had been lambasted by critics and comedians. In 2006, Dunkleman told "Inside Edition" that the show's "cruelty" convinced him to leave.

*In 2005, Season 2 contestant Corey Clark, who had been kicked off the show for not disclosing that he was facing charges of assaulting his sister and resisting arrest, alleged that he had had an affair with judge Paula Abdul during his time on the show. He said he'd gotten preferential treatment from her and produced a phone message he said she'd left on his answering machine. A Fox investigation cleared Abdul.

*"American Idol" fans love to argue the cases for their favorites and lambaste their competition on hundreds of Web sites. But since Season 3, www.votefortheworst.com, has openly tried to subvert the contest by urging people to vote for the worst singers in the competition. The Web site says, " 'American Idol' is not about singing at all, it's about making good reality TV and enjoying the cheesy, guilty pleasure of watching bad singing . . . we want to acknowledge this fact by encouraging people to make an even funnier show by helping the amusing antagonists stick around."

*Occasional cries of fraud have been heard, especially after the finale of Season 2, when millions of votes overwhelmed the telephone system and many voters reported they were unable to get through. The elimination of several talented singers, Chris Daughtry among them, has revived the issue.

-- Anne Neville

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