Phillip Phillips went from just a dude with the same name twice to a major player in the pop music world overnight when he won season 11 of American Idol with his coronation single "Home." But now -- less than three years after winning the show over Jessica Sanchez -- Phillips wants out of his Idol contract, calling his deal with 19 Entertainment "oppressive" in a new lawsuit.
Phillips cites the connection of his management and label in the suit, which also claims that he was scheduled to perform unpaid gigs in order to support less successful American Idol ventures, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
For instance, Phillips was scheduled to perform at a JetBlue event in 2013, in order to support the season 13 American Idols Live! Tour.
""In response to Petitioner's questions about why this deal would make sense, 19 admitted the deal was being entered into in exchange for JetBlue's support for the 2013 American Idol Live Appearance Tour," the petition for lawsuit stated. "Since Petitioner was not performing on the 2013 Idol Tour, the only conceivable purpose for Respondent booking the performance was to help the struggling finances of Respondent's Idol Tour."
Phillips also mentions unreasonable deals for endorsements, where 19 Entertainment will take up to 40 percent of his earnings for any event.
Phillips is looking to be released from his contract, though he was careful not to bite the hand that fed him in the first place.
"I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol," Phillips said in a statement. "The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."
For their part, 19 Entertainment is denying that they've given Phillips an unfair contract.
"We're very proud of everything we've accomplished together with Phillip, working closely to help nurture his extraordinary talent and advance his career. We have always acted in the best interest of Phillip," 19 Entertainment said in a statement. "We will vigorously defend ourselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships."