Five reality TV blunders that lead to a ‘disaster’ for winners and huge implications for American Idol’s ‘tampering’ claim with two stars

BIG mistakes that could spell ‘total disaster’ for reality TV stars have been exposed by a PR guru after two American Idol contestants faced claims the results had been ‘rigged’.

The “Idol” winner and runner-up were forced to start their careers after the show as tampering allegations continued in the weeks following the May 21 season finale.

Iam Tongi won the final season of American Idol


Iam Tongi won the final season of American IdolPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty
Megan Danielle came in second, sparking rumors the reality TV competition had been'rigged'.


Megan Danielle came in second, sparking rumors the reality TV competition had been ‘rigged’.Photo credit: Getty Images – Getty
The allegations of idol manipulation continued in the weeks following the May 21 season finale


The allegations of idol manipulation continued in the weeks following the May 21 season finalePhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

Eric Schiffer, chairman of Los Angeles-based Reputation Management Consultants, spoke exclusively to The US Sun about reality show winners and the steps that lead to disaster.

Schiffer said runners-up will have to fight for the spotlight.

“The runners-up have to fight for attention, keep doing great work and stay connected to their base,” he said.

“And that means attentive social contacts. It means the right leadership management and the right public relations, and it means getting on tour as soon as possible so you can connect in person and cement the emotional connections that television makes.”

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As for a support system, they can also determine a participant’s success.

“For the leader, it’s about not going to your head and realizing that there’s a whole bunch of winners who’ve turned into dogs with fleas,” Schiffer said.

After the end of their show, all contestants tend to focus on one main focus: advancing their careers.

“As far as their musical career goes, they don’t want to be toast, so they have to fight and realize that nothing can be taken for granted and only the paranoid survive,” Schiffer said.

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“There’s plenty [of people] who did very well, and there are far more than total disasters, either due to drugs or bad decisions or bad leadership or huge egos blown up when nobody wanted to pay them or listen to them, and in none extent.”


In the final season of American Idol, Iam Tongi took the title ahead of Megan Danielle.

Danielle dismissed the fans’ “rigged” claims and clarified the facts.

“I would say it’s not just because I feel like God made it all happen for a reason,” the former waitress said New York Post.

“Even if I was first, second, last or whatever … I feel like each of us really deserves it.”

The 20-year-old added: “I feel like I deserve it and he’s so humble and so talented.”

“And that was his time and I’m just super proud of him.”

Tongi, in turn, credited his late father with preparing him for negativity and backlash.

“My father always told me that your music is not for everyone. There will be people who don’t like them and that’s okay, that’s normal,” I was told The Daily Mail.

“Everyone gets their own opinion. Everyone is allowed to think what they think. So it’s ok.”

Despite the scandal, Schiffer told The US Sun that both candidates were primed for success.

“Be [Tongi’s] “The win will help his career, but a runner-up who is so graceful with himself and has incredible talent will in many cases go on and do even better,” said Schiffer.

“So you’re probably going to see two rocket careers, not just one.”


There have been several other reality TV contest winners who have had great success — and struggled.

America’s Got Talent winners Terry Fator and Grace VanderWaal have both had successful careers.

Mat Franco, also an AGT winner, went on to produce his own prime-time magic specials on NBC, while spoken-word poet Brandon Leake signed to a top talent agency after his 2020 win.

But not every winner was so lucky.

AGT participant Michael Ketterer lost to Shin Lim in the final.

He and his high school sweetheart have six children, five of whom are adopted.

Ketterer’s crash was widely reported after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence following his fine performance on the show.

The arrest came just a day after the America’s Got Talent finale in September 2018.

Ketterer’s wife declined to press charges over the incident.


Schiffer also spoke about the allegations fans have made online about tampering with American Idol.

“There are a few people who think there was an intrigue between producers, executives and judges who said they had to vote a certain way,” Schiffer told The US Sun.

“NDAs and confidentiality agreements would kind of obscure all of that.

“What probably would have happened if there had been any ‘manipulation’, it was manipulation of feelings, because you have a sympathetic singer whose father recently passed away and whose kindness and positivity coupled with musical talent affects people has, in some respects, perhaps not even consciously.”

Tongi paid tribute to his late father Rodney several times throughout the season, who passed away before the season’s premiere.

With his loss story, he quickly won the hearts of the fans.

However, some viewers seemed to think the real champion had been cheated and accused the result of being faked.

Schiffer said that even amidst the chaos of the tampering allegations, neither Tongi nor Danielle lost out.

“So we don’t currently have AI (artificial intelligence) judges for a good reason,” Schiffer said of the competition show.

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“If we just look at the music, he may or may not have won. And that is the scandal and the somber comments from the internet and fans.”

“But people don’t just sort by one thing, even if they reason logically that maybe it’s better.”


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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