Season 11: The one with the gender debate
Though the judging lineup for season 11 remained constant, the show was beginning to gain a rep for gender bias after previous season favourite, Pia Toscano, was eliminated in a move so unexpected that even Tom Hanks became outraged in that genteel way that he does, tweeting: "Don't have an 'Idol' habit, but how could the USA vote Pia off? I may be done for the season!". This gender debate was later elevated when Phillip Phillips became the fifth consecutive male and white person to win the show, a phenomena now dubbed the "white guy with guitar" (WGWG) preference.
This concept was neither helped by Jermaine Jones' disqualification from 12th place for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. He steadfastly denied hiding his criminal record, which led critics to accuse the show of staging the disqualification to boost ratings.