No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is American Idol racist?

That's the questions many headlines have posed this week. What, just because there's never been an Asian or Latino Idol winner, the show is racist?

No, not exactly.

Producers of Idol have been facing charges of racism this week, but not for a lack of diversity among their winners. Let's face it - Idol producers cast a diverse set of finalists, and its 'America' decides who wins and loses. So the fact that winners have come from just two races (and highly disproportionately from the South, if you want to know the truth) isn't really in the hands of the producers. What the Idol producers decide is who gets kicked off the show for contravening the rules. And it's in these murky waters that the producers find themselves struggling this week.

A few years ago, a busty singer with a big, big voice by the name of Frenchie Davis made the Idol finals but was kicked off the show when producers found out she had posed topless for a soft-core porn site. Fast forward to this week. One of this season's top 24 competitors, one Antonella Barba, had some fairly explicit pictures of her own pop up on the web. Unlike Frenchie, Antonella can barely string two on-key notes together. Unlike Frenchie, Antonella has been allowed to stay on the show. Unlike Frenchie, Antonella is white.

Hence the hubbub. It looks like an open-and-shut case of preferential treatment for the slender, pretty white girl. Until you look a bit closer. Frenchie, you see, was paid to pose for those photos. When she filled in her Idol background check, she didn't disclose that she had posed for, and been paid by, the site. So she was kicked off for lying - or at least the that's the party line. Antonella, on the other hand, seems guilty of some bad judgement. The photos online were posted by an ex-boyfriend, scanned from a cheesy calendar she had made for him. Antonella was not paid to pose for them, nor has she financially benefited from their release. So she has bad taste in guys but she didn't lie to producers about her background. And so she stays. And sings. Badly. And those folks agitating for a second chance for Frenchie - now staring in Rent on Broadway? Well, they're going to be waiting an awfully long time.


Post a Comment

<< Home