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Thread: A.I. Media Articles

  1. #121
    FORT Fogey wisgalb's Avatar
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    Taylor Hicks and Surviving in the American Idol Hamster Wheel @ Blogcritics.org

    Taylor Hicks and Surviving in the American Idol Hamster Wheel
    By Jewels Richardson

    Unique to Season Five, we saw five contestants score record deals. A brilliant move for the show's marketing team, and a Godsend for the newly recording artists, a win-win for all concerned, you might think. Flipping the other side of this shiny coin, while as a viewer you may revel in the success stories of these fortunate few, it dampens the effect and glamour of winning this show.

    Compile this factor with the focus on Simon Cowell and his obvious delight in fostering the feel of continued competition, aspiring contestants should think long and hard about the personal costs. As time, and now six years into the show, it feels like American Idol is much more Survivor or Big Brother than Star Search.

    Of course the music industry is rife with competition, top of the charts is where it's at - the common conceptual image of prestige and success. That said, the pressure and emphasis levied on the American Idol success stories seem amplified, magnified, and a more oppressive force than found for artists who find their way to stardom outside the show. The contestants on American Idol are locked into a perpetuating cycle revolving around comparisons against one another. Is American Idol on its way to shooting itself in the foot by the very concept it is founded upon - competition? It looks, as the seasons pass, that the contestants are contracted into an infinite circling competition, thrust into a rivalrous miasma trapping them inside that pulsing blue virtual hamster wheel of contention against their fellow contestants. Profiteers to this situation, the producers, 19E and of course, Simon Cowell.

    In this recent article from People Magazine titled, "Simon Trashes Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Hicks", Simon says, "As for Taylor Hicks, who won season 5's competition, "They (Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson) loved him. I couldn't stand him. I didn't get it," Cowell snapped, adding that "at the end of the day you have to find a bona fide recording artist. Just because you win the show doesn't mean you will sell a lot of records. Chris (Daughtry) is the one who sold the albums, not Taylor."

    This man digs his barbs into the meat of the most profitable area of Idol. Controversy. By Mr. Cowell's very contentious nature he creates buzz for the show and that creates viewers. He is an intelligent, savvy man who innately knows how to butter his bread. Commentary about Taylor Hicks, whether positive or negative, gains immense attention which is Mr. Cowell's main role on the show. Hudson, who may have only finished 6th in 2002 on the show recently has won an Oscar for her acting debut in the movie Dreamgirls. Cowell's commentary in this recent article, attributes Idol for her success. While the show may have served to assist her in gaining attention, credit should be placed on her shoulders for the advancements she has made for herself.

    This People Magazine article emphasizes a continuing prime news making example, Mr. Cowell continues to link Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks, and in this piece, in the same sentence. Apt commentary regarding Chris Daughtry's sales and success, would be more in-line to compare his CD, Daughtry and how it is selling against Nickelback's All the Right Reasons. (Daughtry is currently at number 2 on the top 200, All the Right Reasons at number 15.) By meshing and comparing apples with oranges, Simon keeps the in-house competition alive, and the American Idol wheel turning.

    Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks certainly played their part in opening up the Idol cage to a wider field of aspiring artists, gaining acceptability outside the tried and true Pop star image originally in the show's prospectus. This season I'm seeing several of these new contestants monkeying Idols that have come before. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but too much of 'seen that, heard that', becomes a bore.

    One example I'm talking about is this season's popular contestant, Chris Sligh. He enters the show bringing attention to his curly afro, and in his own blog had said his fan base should be named the 'Fro Patro' (no that is not a typo). He mentions in first audition to the judges that his goal on the show was to make Hasselhoff cry. This in reference, of course to David Hasselhoff's tears, he was in attendance, when Taylor Hicks was crowned winner in the finale. Second week of competition, Mr. Sligh performs one of the songs that was a stand out hit for Taylor Hicks, Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble". He's being obvious in his attempts to travel ground already trodden, to jump the Hicks' train to attract viewers. His saving grace, the guy's got a great sense of humor.

    Watching Simon Cowell I can tell he already has a sweet spot for at least one of the contestants. He also seems a little more acid tongued this year as do Randy and Paula. That may lie in wake of the really limited standout performances we've seen so far from this year's crop of Idol Wanna-Be's. Might this shed any light on the condition we are seeing with this season? More attention is being garnered by one of the girls in the show becoming a household name by racy on-line pictures being submitted by past pals, and a disgruntled former boyfriend over some of the girls with superior singing skills like Melinda Doolittle. One of the guys in the competition, through no real action of his, has gained notoriety for being supported by Vote For the Worst, a site that proclaims they are dedicated to revealing the truth as they see it behind Idol.

    My point, the singing this season is being eclipsed by the behind the scenes machinations and negotiations. Yes, truly this show is looking increasingly like Big Brother or Survivor with on-line participants 'virtually' included in the show (VFTW). Last year this time we were reeling from the singing performances, this year the show is becoming steeped in manipulations and alliances.

    Last season's fourth place finisher, Chris Daughtry is discovering first-hand it's not as easy to shed the Idol chain as it is to switch his wallet chain. In an interesting article written by Michael Endelman of EW.com, he interviews Daughtry while the singer visited Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian. Shockingly Mr. Endelman writes that Chris Daughtry canceled the Question and Answer session that had been planned, then proceeds to critique a collage of snapshots from American Idol designated for the hospital scrapbook. He winds up signing it, commenting, "How did they get all these cheesy photos?" (Nice commentary.) According to Mr. Endelman, following an introduction by the hospital administrator as 'Chris Daughtry from American Idol',

    'the tightly wound singer snaps. He turns discreetly to a member of his entourage and whispers, "Are they even going to mention the album? Are they even going to talk about the band? It's just Idol," saying the last word with special disdain.'

    Considering that the show is using his song, "Home" off of the CD, Chris Daughtry is going to find that wheel's gonna keep on turning.

    Simon Cowell's jabs at Hicks being outsold by Daughtry have legs only when spoken within the top 40 Nickelback rock boundaries. Chris Daughtry's sound is in a more popular genre. What Taylor Hicks proved successfully last season (along with his fans), is that the coercion techniques that Simon Cowell, the King (apparent) of Opinions That Matter can be defeated. The Idol cage could be infiltrated by one other than the 'chosen' or should I say, ideal contestant. His obvious manipulations to influence the show's outcome can be overturned. Simon Cowell with his ego will never forget that.

    What has also been seen and proven in the media, and in the marketing of the Idols is win or lose, American Idol runs somewhat like in The Wizard of OZ, the contestants and viewers are are subject to the 'man behind the curtain'. Should viewers get too wise to the man behind the curtain, this juggernaut hit could be on its unwitting way to creating a self-consuming monster.

    Regarding The Soulman's CD, referring to units sold, those numbers don't carry an accurate assessment of the fan base Taylor Hicks has developed. I prefer Taylor Hicks, in his natural state, no I'm not referring to him in the buff; I'm talking about him being sans the overproduction trappings cast into his CD by the producers, i.e. Matt Serletic. Hicks carries naturally that throwback vibe, he is not Pop mainstream, nor does he want to be.

    Regarding his fan base; I don't think it is a matter of it diminishing, I do think that many who became fans enjoyed Taylor Hicks the natural musician. The man thought to have distinctive choices in music. The man possessed of a growly, raw vocal sound. The man who delivered Ray Charles' "Georgia" heard on-line last year, in a manner that would have made Ray proud. By Serletic selling Hicks on the concept of broadening his fanbase, it weakened the potential of the product. One thing Taylor Hicks needs remember, that Idol wheel may keep on spinning, but sometimes the hamster has to jump off. Bo Bice has picked up on that, and eventually so will The Soulman. Now if we can just get the keys away from that man behind the curtain.

    Groove on.

  2. #122
    Yumpin' Yiminy roses4me's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    What a great article from a very articulate writer. Thanks so much for posting this. Simon's disdain for Taylor is unbelievable. He won Simon, get over it and move on.

    I can't think when I have to think. ~~moi~~

  3. #123
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    In my own little world where all things are Idol......
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    Mar 2 2007 7:48 PM EST

    Booted 'Idol' Hopeful On Antonella Barba's Sexy Photos: 'Get Over It''
    By Corey Moss

    One thing was clear after the latest "American Idol" eliminations: America is not that into Nina Simone.

    During the first truly controversial week of the season thanks to those Antonella Barba pictures spreading across the Internet two of the four singers eliminated sang Simone's "Feeling Good." Another sang a jazz standard, and the fourth took on the Dixie Chicks and, well, we know how Middle America feels about them.

    We caught up with the four castoffs to talk regrets, future plans and those racy photos.

    Nicholas Pedro
    After bowing out in the Hollywood round last year, the 25-year-old from Taunton, Massachusetts, made the final 20 this time around. Unfortunately, his rendition of "Fever" didn't spread like, say, last year's McPheever.

    Q: Any theories on your elimination?

    A: I just wasn't enough people's favorite, I guess. Or maybe because I got good comments, they just didn't pick up the phone and assumed I was safe. I don't know, sometimes it's just the luck of the draw.

    Q: Do you think song choice played a part?

    A: Absolutely. It's probably the key thing. But Melinda Doolittle sang an old jazz standard too and she did unbelievable. I always thought of myself as an R&B singer, but since they liked "Fly Me to the Moon" so much, I went back to the judges' suggestion.

    Q: How did last year's Hollywood round impact your run this time?

    A: Last year, I was just completely exhausted. I didn't get any sleep for a few days, and I was just defeated. I couldn't retain any information and was just totally spent. I had such a feeling of defeat and I didn't want to be remembered that way. I wanted to come back and show the world how good I could be. And that made this season all the more sweet.

    Q: Some of the contestants this season have been snapping back at the judges, but not you.

    A: I wanted to always maintain my honor. I had to bite my tongue a little bit. Last week Simon said I was charming [and this week he said Nick needed to show more charisma]. I think charisma and charming go hand in hand. But I just wanted to take my bow and not get into it with anyone.

    Alaina Alexander
    After her rendition of the Dixie Chicks' Grammy-sweeping "Not Ready to Make Nice" got her eliminated, the 24-year-old singer/songwriter from West Hollywood, California, became the first "Idol" semifinalist in history to fully break down during her exit performance.

    Q: It looked like that final performance was pretty tough for you.

    A: I haven't seen it back yet and I'm a little nervous, but it was really hard. I kinda knew it was my time, so I mentally prepared myself and felt OK until I looked at someone who was crying and it just triggered. I couldn't hide it, so I just rolled with it. ... Now all of America has seen my cry.

    Q: How can you become so close after just a few weeks, especially when the other girls are your competition?

    A: Well, for one, you spend so much time together. And everybody's completely different, so it's like, "How good can you be?" It's not, "Can I be as good as Melinda?" We're completely different. So that allows you to bond with people.

    Q: Were you worried about that Dixie Chicks song and how it could be polarizing?

    A: I felt like I could just deliver that song and connect with it. I was using that emotion as me in the competition and not ready to make nice with the judges. There was nothing political about it whatsoever. But if I could do it over I would be more educated on song choice. I've never sang other people's stuff. I've always just sang my own songs. And it was kind of hard for me. The judges just dogged me on my song choices.

    Q: Could you have sung your own material?

    A: [Executive producer] Nigel [Lythgoe] told me I could sing whatever I wanted, so they would have let me. I was thinking of doing it next week, but I didn't have the chance.

    Q: Were you ever nervous that private pictures of you might hit the Web?

    A: No, I wasn't worried. It's unfortunate when that happens, but you have to keep going. I didn't really pay attention to the Internet or newspaper so I could stay focused, but I overheard people talking about it. Antonella's strong and doing just fine and she'll pull through.

    AJ Tabaldo
    After auditioning for "Idol" five seasons in a row, the 22-year-old from Santa Maria, California, finally made the semifinals, where he became a judge favorite. Voters, however, felt differently.

    Q: How did you decide on "Feeling Good"?

    A: Based on my first performance, I took the judges' constructive criticism and chose something different, and they liked it. I guess it was just coincidence [that Leslie Hunt sang the same song] because we didn't know. I love the song. It didn't go over with America, unfortunately, but I'm happy with it.

    Q: Five times, that's pretty persistent.

    A: "American Idol" for me has been such a perfect outlet for a struggling artist like myself. I've been trying this since I was 12, and when you get the door constantly [slammed] in your face, it hurts and it's hard. Then there's this show, which is perfect for the average underdog who is not getting a chance. I have no regrets. If I could try again, I would.

    Q: Do you agree with the judges that you were one of the better singers?

    A: This is a tough year. There's some big contenders. Based on what the judges said, I think I was up there with the better singers. But not only is it a singing competition, but it's a popularity contest.

    Q: Were the guys talking about what happened with Antonella?

    A: There's some sleazy people out there doing sleazy things and I feel bad for her, but she's beautiful and she's going to do well. But we tried to stay away from it.

    Leslie Hunt
    The 24-year-old Chicago native also tackled "Feeling Good" and had similar results.

    Q: Any theories?

    A: I've thought about it, and maybe I'm just not that mainstream. I chose songs that aren't at the top of the charts. I don't know because I don't know the show that well. I just auditioned on a whim and ended up going really far.

    Q: How many "Idol" shows had you seen?

    A: I saw the episode where Kelly won. But I did some research when I got the call to go to L.A. and bought some CDs.

    Q: Is there a hex on "Feeling Good"?

    A: It got Alaina through in L.A. and I know other contestants have done the same song on the same night in other seasons, but maybe it's the curse of "Feeling Good." ... I did have an epiphany after watching myself back this week: I'm white. Nobody told me that. ( )

    Q: In your "Idol" bio, you mention your life was saved last year in Brazil. What happened?

    A: I had an adverse reaction to the yellow fever vaccination and I basically shut down, my organs were failing and my brain was swelling. I was getting yellow fever times 30. I'm like the only person to survive that kind of thing. I don't remember any of it. But it pretty much changed my outlook on things, if you can imagine. Like, I don't know if I would have auditioned if I hadn't just been reminded that I'm mortal. It's easy to think you have all the time in the world. I realized I do have lupus and I don't have all the time in the world, so if I'm going to do something, I need to dive in. And why not "American Idol"?

    Q: What did you think of the dedications?

    A: Shooting that package, I couldn't even get out some of the words. I miss my grandpa a lot. So it kind of distracted me a little bit and added to the drama of the whole thing. I should have dedicated it to someone with no emotional ties.

    Q: Was it hard to see Antonella get through?

    A: There's certain hype that comes with her, and that's not really something I understand. It doesn't excite me that she has pictures like that. I mean, who doesn't? Whatever, get over it. But I knew getting into this that it wasn't just about singing.

    I love Leslie Hunt! While her remarks about Antonella could be viewed as "catty", I love that she speaks her mind. And she's white! Who knew??
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

  4. #124
    FORT Aficionado echo226's Avatar
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    Stuck in the Middle
    I love Leslie Hunt! While her remarks about Antonella could be viewed as "catty", I love that she speaks her mind. And she's white! Who knew??
    Thanks for posting that bama ! I love Leslie too and was really sorry to see her go.
    "The way to become boring is to say everything." Voltaire

    " The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. "
    Mohandas Gandhi

  5. #125
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    In my own little world where all things are Idol......
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    New `Idol' Singers Fighting Blah Factor

    NEW YORK (AP) - Blah. If any word were to sum up this year's mostly bland and sometimes unwatchable batch of "Idol" contestants, that'd be it.

    Sure, there are some standouts - sweet-natured former backup singer Melinda Doolittle, big-voiced belter LaKisha Jones and cocksure beatboxer Blake Lewis are shoo-ins to face off in the weeks before the Fox talent show's big May finale. Each are confident, worthy performers - yet they don't leave you wanting more.

    Yes, I'll admit it: I miss Taylor Hicks and his herky-jerky dancing. I miss watching the kittenish Katharine McPhee make goo-goo eyes at the camera. I miss making goo-goo eyes at the TV when bald rocker Chris Daughtry worked the stage like a pro. Then there's my personal favorite, the soulful and snaggletoothed Elliot Yamin, who had me in tears when he was voted off last year. (Yamin has since had a full dental makeover, complete with new veneers.)

    "It's a very hard season I think, at this point, to pinpoint who has the `it' factor," said Michael Slezak, who blogs about the show for Entertainment Weekly magazine's Web site. "Which is strange, because usually by this point in the `Idol' season, you could say: 'Fantasia has IT. Carrie Underwood has IT. Chris Daughtry has IT.'"

    It must be noted, though, that this year's guy to watch - the scrappy Lewis, who nailed a cover of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" - is a lot hipper than Hicks. The likable Doolittle seems less of a diva than McPhee, who at times came off as aloof and self-aware. Still, last season's talent pool - stuffed with variety, excitement and star quality - might have set the bar so high that viewers are feeling let down by the new kids.

    Give them time to develop, said host Ryan Seacrest, who counts Doolittle and Jones as "the favorites."

    "I can hope that the guys get better and better each week," Seacrest recently told AP Television. "And, in terms of anything else, the contestants are experiencing something they've never been through before and (are) thrown into this. And, it's a long process."

    "We are SO early in the season and in the series, you also don't want to be somebody (who) peaks too soon," he continued. "You want to make sure you're good enough to stay in but you're building with each week, so the audience gets behind you."

    In other words: Don't write off this crop of contenders just yet. After all, the top 12 finalists have yet to be announced.

    "This group of singers has a chance to redeem themselves," Slezak said. "Right now, I would say it's gonna be tough for them to outdo last season. But I think there are enough good singers that it could be as good as last season."

    One of those singers is the spunky and stylish Stephanie Edwards, who tore up her rendition of Beyonce's "Dangerously In Love" last week. "So many people are going to be in love with Stephanie Edwards right now," gushed Paula Abdul.

    Hope so. Producers should show more of Edwards' backstory, so we can get to know her better. Her competition - especially Jones, who gives us someone to root for as a single mom to an adorable little girl - has an edge on her in that respect.

    Edwards, 19, who is from Georgia, would also do well to separate herself from the pack of female front-runners: Jones, Doolittle, 17-year-old Jordin Sparks and curly haired Sabrina Sloan. All are going the R&B route, which makes for boring TV on a star-making show that has crowned such disparate acts as Hicks, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Fantasia Barrino.

    What's missing on this "Idol," Slezak said, is "a real mix of different types."

    "A lot of the guys are working a sort of Justin Timberlake-y, Usher-y vibe, and a lot of the women are sort of working an old-school Gladys Knight, Aretha kind of vibe," he said. "I was surprised by the fact that there aren't really any legitimate rock singers, that there doesn't seem to be anyone who's a country singer."

    Remember Tami Gosnell, the pedicab driver from Colorado? Now there was a star. When she sang "Whipping Post" during her audition, it was like that scene in "The Queen" when Helen Mirren's Queen Elizabeth is nearly rendered speechless by the sight of a magnificent, elusive stag. Such moments happen rarely, when we least expect them.

    So invigorating was Gosnell's bluesy, natural performance that it required another viewing, courtesy of DVR. She had a certain something - a quality that can vaguely be described as "IT."

    She was also inexplicably cut after this year's Hollywood rounds. In a sea of "blah," Gosnell certainly stood out.

    Isn't that worth voting for?
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

  6. #126
    TestPattern : 'Idol' making up rules as it goes along

    'Idol' making up rules as it goes along
    Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 4:23 PM by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

    There are a few certainties about "American Idol." Simon will be booed by viewers for stating what's clearly obvious to anyone with working ears. Paula Abdul will act loopy, convincing viewers that there's something other than Coca-Cola in her red plastic glass. And of course, one or more of the "Idol" wannabes will see a scandal from his or her past surface and threaten to knock them out of the competition.

    This year, two minor scandals bloomed forth even before their singers got very far in the contest. Akron Watson was disinvited from the Hollywood round for no apparent reason, leaving most to assume it's because of the marijuana bust in his past. Ashlyn Carr, memorable because Simon and crew first disinvited her to Hollywood, then called her back, apparently once confessed to dumping sugar in an ex-boyfriend's gas tank. But Akron's dismissal was quietly shoved under the rug, and Ashlyn didn't last long enough for her sugary-sweet past to become a worry.

    They're hardly the first "Idol" wannabes to have run-ins with the law. Perhaps the most famous is Bo Bice, who almost won it all in 2005. The long-haired rocker was arrested twice in the four years before his competition, once for felony cocaine possession. He completed a drug program and had that charge dismissed. When The Smoking Gun dug up the charges, Fox was almost snippy about defending Bice, calling the site "salacious" and saying that Bice had been honest with the network show about his charges.

    A more uncomfortable moment ensued when finalist Scott Savol turned out to have a domestic violence arrest in his past, allegedly shoving the mother of his son and breaking a telephone on her. (Telephones are made of pretty sturdy stuff, so, ouch.) Again, Fox said Savol had been honest, and he stayed on the show.

    Compared to drugs and domestic violence, current "Idol" singer Antonella Barba's reported risque photos seem pretty mild. Some say she's not even the person in the racier photos, and even if she was, what's her crime? She was young and stupid and someone had a camera. Viewers can't help but remember Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1984, who had to give up her crown thanks to naughty photos, and went on to be recognized as the most talented Miss America ever.

    "American Idol" producers have been ignoring Barba's photos, and that seems like a fairly sensible decision, especially considering she does not possess one of the show's strongest voices and is unlikely to go far. But there's one problem with the producers' sudden attack of logic: Frenchie Davis.

    Davis was booted from "Idol" in 2003 because she'd posed for racy photos on a Web site. She was paid for her photos, while Barba (if it is Barba in the questionable pics) appears to have been just goofing around. But Davis was kicked off the show, while Barba was not. Was the fact that she accepted money for her photos the difference?

    Since Davis is black and Barba white, some are calling it racism. Davis isn't among them. She doesn't think race has anything to do with it, but from interviews with her, it's clear that she does see a double standard. And she claims she was clear about her photos before going on to the show, just as Savol and Bice reportedly were about the issues in their pasts.

    Davis went on to find Broadway success, and is currently singing in the musical "Rent." She's hinting that she wouldn't mind a monetary settlement from the show, which is absolutely the wrong thing to say. The ground she's standing on would look a lot more firm if she simply went forward and saying "I don't want money, I just want someone to explain the difference."

    "American Idol" is a family show, no question about it. Obviously, the show producers would love it if all their contestants came to the stage fresh from feeding the hungry and building homes for Hurricane Katrina victims. But these singers are at varying stages of life -- some are wide-eyed and 16, others are married parents, aged 27 or 28.

    And the show is kidding itself and its audience to pretend that the music scene that its contestants desperately want to enter is just one step away from the convent. When Bo Bice's drug arrests became public, savvy observers laughed at the idea that a guy who's been playing music in bars for years was expected to have never come in contact with drugs.

    It's not that Fox should let a serial killer into its tidy little contest -- no one's asking for that. And most people don't think Barba's photos (again, assuming they are of her) are worth kicking her out over, either.

    But if the show wants this Barba-Davis issue to go away, someone at Fox needs to step up and address the issue. This is very unlikely to happen, considering how secretive the show is about things such as vote totals and phone-line glitches, but here's how I'd like it to go down.

    A show spokesperson should speak publicly and explain why Davis was kicked off and Barba hasn't been. Maybe hand out a chart: Domestic violence: OK, if it doesn't involve anything heavier than a phone. Drug arrests: OK, if you get treatment. Racy photos: OK, if you're not paid for them. Or make a blanket statement: If we know about your issue ahead of time, we'll take it on a case-by-case basis, but if if we're blindsided by the tabloids while you're on the show, you're going home.

    Whatever their explanation is, if it rings true, viewers will know. If not, then the show has deeper problems.

  7. #127
    the simple things babymay's Avatar
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    Wasn't Frenchie booted because the website that the racy photos were posted on was fake child porn?
    You've got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince!

  8. #128
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    In my own little world where all things are Idol......
    Davis went on to find Broadway success, and is currently singing in the musical "Rent." She's hinting that she wouldn't mind a monetary settlement from the show, which is absolutely the wrong thing to say. The ground she's standing on would look a lot more firm if she simply went forward and saying "I don't want money, I just want someone to explain the difference."
    I agree 100% with this statment.
    Reality is the beginning...not the end....Wallace Stevens

  9. #129
    There is another article which covers the same topic.

    iWon News - 'American Idol' Flap: Barba Vs. Frenchie

    'American Idol' Flap: Barba Vs. Frenchie

    Mar 6, 11:06 PM (ET)


    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Frenchie Davis, dumped by "American Idol" in 2003 for lingerie shots posted on a Web site, moved on to Broadway success and thought she had buried a humiliating chapter of her young life.

    That changed in the last few days after contestant Antonella Barba was allowed to stay on the top-rated Fox series despite the emergence of racy online photos that purport to be of Barba, but with no verification.

    The first big controversy of the show's sixth season swelled Tuesday when fans and a civil-rights activist rallied to Davis' side, saying she was the victim of unfair and potentially biased treatment. Davis is black; Barba is white.

    "We object to having one rule for black contestants and a different rule for white contestants who exhibit the same behavior," said Najee Ali, community activist and founder of Project Islamic H.O.P.E.

    Davis said she is bewildered over what's happened with Barba, 20, of Point Pleasant, N.J.

    "I don't necessarily think that (it's racism), but I can certainly look at this and understand why people would draw that conclusion," Davis said Tuesday from New York, hours before going on stage in the musical "Rent."

    "I'm not bashing 'Idol' or Antonella. She's a beautiful girl and she's young. I think it's great that she didn't have to go through what I went through," said Davis, 27, who suggested that the show's producers might have learned from how they treated her.

    Davis would welcome a public apology from them as "a great start." But she said she is owed more for "the manner in which I was humiliated and the manner in which Antonella was defended and protected by the same people who humiliated me."

    "Now they need to come to the table and see what we can do to make up" for her treatment, Davis said. She declined to say if she would seek a financial settlement or a record contract or other deal.

    Belinda Foster, Davis' manager, took part in a small protest Tuesday with Ali outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles where "American Idol" tapes. She said there are stark differences in the treatment of the two contestants.

    Foster noted the sympathetic comments of "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe, who was quoted on Entertainment Weekly's Web site recently saying he was aware of the photos associated with Barba, but adding: "It's sad, isn't it, that your best friends are the ones that come forward with information that will go to Smoking Gun or put your photographs on the Web?"

    Fox and the producers have declined further comment on Barba, who was to perform again Wednesday as the contestants are narrowed down this week to the 12 finalists. All the singers, including Barba, have been unavailable for interviews.

    A source close to the show, who asked not to be identified because of the lack of authorization to comment publicly, said Fox and the producers believe seminude photos of Barba were posted without her consent and that racier shots, showing a sex act, were of a woman other than Barba.

    Whether Barba posted any photos or allowed them to be posted is immaterial, Ali said.

    "'American Idol' has first and foremost proclaimed it is a family show. ... No matter who made the photos public, it still speaks to her moral character and integrity, and certainly her silence speaks for itself," he said.

    A fan group lead by Chris Tian, a singer-songwriter in Portsmouth, N.H., is calling on Fox to give Davis another shot at competing on "Idol."

    Although she's wonderful in "Rent," Tian said, "a lot of Broadway artists don't get record deals. This could open up the path for her big record deal and big break."

    The series has rarely managed a quiet year, with past issues ranging from voter complaints over overloaded phone systems to a contestant's allegation of an affair with judge Paula Abdul, which she denied.

    The big-voiced Davis, on the verge of being voted a finalist by viewers in the year in which Ruben Studdard won, said she was honest with producers about posing for lingerie photos at age 19, five years before going on "American Idol."

    In a statement Tuesday, Fox said, "We have never discussed the specifics of why Ms. Davis was eliminated, nor will we now."

    The network said it had "no desire to revisit history and sully the reputation of Ms. Davis. She was removed from the show over four years ago and has gone on to a successful performing career."

    That achievement has been a salve, of sorts, for Davis.

    "I don't feel anything about the show. I haven't watched it. When 'American Idol' comes on at 8 o'clock at night, I'm on stage," Davis said.

    My 2 cents:

    I can NOT stand Barba so I'm not going to defend her. Just want to mention that her photos were made for a b/f and were not meant for the Internet and the whole world to see.

    Davis got PAID for the photos. She knew exactly what she was doing by posting for the site.

    There IS a difference IMO.

  10. #130
    RENThead JLuvs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Commuting for Work
    Davis got PAID for the photos. She knew exactly what she was doing by posting for the site.

    There IS a difference IMO.
    She posed for the photos, yes, but the site that she posed for was not a kiddie porn site at the time. It became one a few years later.
    Whenever you see darkness, there is extraordinary opportunity for the light to burn brighter.

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