By now I’m sure all of you have seen the very NSFW (I repeat, VERY NSFW) photos of klassy-with-a-K American Idol contestant Antonella Barba writhing all over the World War II Memorial.
And you’ve probably read some of the blogger debate comparing Antonella Barba’s nude picture scandal to that of season 2 contestant Frenchie Davis.
The ostensible reason that Barba hasn’t been booted off the show is supposedly because her naughty photos were intended for her boyfriend’s eyes only, whereas Frenchie posed topless because she needed the money.
The whole controversy is quite unsurprising. Just look at the careful compliments the judges have been giving Antonella — “the good news is, you’re an attractive girl,” and phrases to that effect. Dancing around the hard cold truth that she’s only there for eye candy and not for singing ability.
No wonder she’s the champion of Vote For the Worst. I blame that site for Taylor Hicks’ victory last year, too.
The fact that Antonella Barba is still on the show just underscores how much the recording industry prizes image over talent. I’m not gonna say looks over talent, because Frenchie is quite the fly chick. She has the it factor, and there’s no denying that. They just couldn’t fit her outsize persona into their tidy little package.
In almost every photo I’ve seen of her, her makeup is flawless. Whether it’s in her often seen American Idol audition video, or in these artistic gay pride photos with Eva Pigford, she’s always wearing amazing makeup and daring the camera to not love her. If you ask me, it’s impossible not to instantly fall for her.
Frenchie is my kind of American Idol. She’s a proudly big, proudly black woman who genuinely embraces all the fans who love her, unlike other idol wannabes who have carefully cited religious reasons for shunning their gay fanbase. She goes the extra mile by offering expert break-into-Broadway advice on her MySpace blog. And she can sing her butt off.
She rocks her TWA in bright, vibrant colors, and has been unapologetically natural and short-haired since day one. Love that.
Plus size women also have much to admire in Frenchie Davis, she is extremely confident in herself and works her curves to her advantage instead of cloaking herself in self-doubt and tent-like tops.
She offers a great perspective for women struggling with self esteem issues in this interview with Amaze Magazine:
“I just want everyone to be comfortable with themselves… and know that beauty doesn’t have a size. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that to be comfortable with yourself means that you don’t have to take care of yourself. I have learned the importance of being healthy and I have been going to New York Sports Club for the past 2 years, and I take my power walks, and do my yoga poses because I want to live a long and active life, oh and be able to get through 8 shows a week without being exhausted… but what can I say? I loooove my curves and my personal life hasn’t suffered because of them,” she declares.
I can certainly get behind that philosophy!
Frenchie hasn’t spoken out about the scandal yet, but I think that’s because she’s moved on so far from the show. American Idol is in her rear view mirror now, and good riddance. Frenchie’s a very outspoken individual, so I’m sure her lack of response definitely isn’t because she’s being shy!
It seems to me that losing on American Idol can be more of a blessing than winning. Since Idol, Frenchie moved on to star in Rent on Broadway. She’ll be leaving in May and I’m excited to see what she does next.
Frenchie has also played Effie in Dreamgirls, and filled the role to perfection. Check her out here performing Heavy, and there are quite a few video clips of her performing the musical’s staple, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Truth be told, between watching Jennifers Hudson and Holiday duke it out, I’ve gotten completely sick of that song.
So here’s an early Idol Season 2 clip of two of my faves — Kimberly Locke and Frenchie taking on the disco classic “Band of Gold.”
Frenchie, you’re a fierce and fabulous inspiration to afrobellas everywhere. Keep on doing your thing and making us proud!
** edit: Thanks to anon, I learned that Frenchie is demanding an apology. And I certainly hope she gets one. Apparently there is also going to be a protest. Seems like the beginning of a media circus if you ask me. There’s a lot more to protest about in this world.