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CASTING CORNER
 
Tuesday, March 4, 2003
'American Idol'

He wanted to be the next "American Idol." Now, Jaered Andrews is getting a different kind of attention.

Andrews has been charged with assault in connection with a November bar fight that led to another man's death. It happened just after Andrews learned he made the cut of "Idol's" top 32 finalists. Jaered says, "Just celebrating in a bar with some friends my recent success on ‘American Idol,’ when I happened to witness someone getting killed."

What cops say happened is this: Jaered and some friends got into a fight with a man at a rural Pennsylvania bar. It spilled out into the street where Andrews hit the man once in the face. He fell back, hit his head on the concrete, and later died.

"Extra" talked to Thomas Blakeley's family. They're fuming over, what they think, is favorable treatment for the 24-year-old singer.

In January, Jaered was kicked off "American Idol" and co-executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says Jaered's arrest for fighting doesn't make him the ideal "Idol." He says, "It was our decision at that point to release Jaered from the competition."

But Jaered says nothing about his past should keep him out of the "American Idol" spotlight. He says, "The skeletons in my closet... they are nothing that should keep me from being the next ‘American Idol.’"

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