Los Angeles - American Idol contestant Jermaine Jones has been disqualified from the top 12 finalists on the TV singing contest for having four outstanding arrest warrants against him.

Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick told Jones he must leave the show based on his criminal past and said the aspiring singer put them in “a very delicate position”.

“We are not allowed to have anybody who has an outstanding warrant against them on the programme, and you've got four of them against you,” said Lythgoe, in a pre-taped segment that aired during the live broadcast on Wednesday night.

Jones, 25, did not deny the arrest warrants and thanked the producers before exiting. His departure left 11 contestants competing for the coveted title of American Idol winner and a recording contract that comes with it.

The disqualification followed a report by celebrity news website TMZ that Jones had three outstanding warrants for driving on a suspended licence and one for disorderly conduct.

This is not the first time an American Idol contestant has been disqualified from the show for having a criminal past.

In 2003, Corey Clark was removed after failing to reveal he was arrested the previous year for assault, and semi-finalist Jaered Andrews was disqualified that same year after being arrested in connection with a man's death during a bar fight. - Reuters