OK, this may be the first REAL Idol scandal of the season.
One of our favorite haunts, Vote for the Worst is loaded with photos of Point Pleasant Princess Antonella Barba, and some of them are not too, ahem, flattering. The photos include Barba giving the finger to the camera, baring her breasts, grinding up against another woman and sitting on the toilet, among other things. Interestingly, Antonella's BFF Amanda Coluccio is nowhere to be found in any of the photos, which feature a bunch of other girls. Hmmm, maybe it's time for Antonella to change that "Most Embarrassing Moments" question on her Idol profile.
As Vote for the Worst says, "Let the train wrecks begin!" After posting two pictures it found on Bastardly.com, Vote for the Worst uncovered a whole bunch more, noting "It seems Antonella Barba loves having pictures taken of her... a lot. And it seems her friends like to put them on the internet." We're including some thumbnail shots of the photos (cover the kiddies' eyes). If you want to check out the full-size photos, click on the Vote for the Worst or Bastardly.com links above.
Vote for the Worst also informs that Brit boy-band member Tom Lowe, one of our early favorites, is no innocent either. VFTW says "BillyMasters.com uncovered a picture of openly-gay Tom from what they allegedly say is when he 'dabbled in a bit of escorting' and took a bunch of nude shots."
CLASSIC IDOL VIDEOS
Starting this week, we will present videos of classic Idol performances from finalists or semi-finalists from Seasons 1 through 5. Kicking it off, is Season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson, who many expect will be walking off with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "Dreamgirls" Sunday night, and who proves with this rendition of "Circle of Life" that she was eliminated far too early from the competition.
And Hudson talks about her pre-Idol days on Friday's "Tyra Banks Show," telling the host, "I tried to work at Burger King but that didn't work out too well. I worked there once for about 4 months and I either quit or got fired, I don't know, and then I went back and I got a little bit better, but I was not the best employee at all. I was at the cash register and I used to fuss at the customers and they would be like, 'You can't talk to the customers like that' and I would be like, 'I don't have to do this for the rest of my life. I can fuss at the customers if I want to.' So that didn't work out." Hmmm, another diva-in-training?
LET THE HANDICAPPING BEGIN
It's never too early for gamblers to start setting the odds, and so some prognostications have already been made on who will win this season's competition.
According to Yahoo! Buzz, which bases its popularity predictions on the percentage of Yahoo! users searching for that subject on a given day, multiplied by a constant, Antonella Barba has an early commanding lead in the pack (and if you've read the first item, we're gonna bet the house that it's going to skyrocket this week). They base their prediction of this three-pronged attack: The bikini cheesecake montage of Barba and BFF Amanda Coluccio aired during the New York auditions; the drama of her beating out her musically trained BFF for a Top 24 spot; and her and Amanda's destroying of 16-year-old San Antonio favorite Baylie Brown. And now they can add Internet photos to the list!
Others who scored high Yahoo! Buzz scores were Chris Sligh and Sundance Head. Last year we found that the Yahoo! Buzz score had very little to do with who advanced each week.
Chris Sligh is also widely favored on the Entertainment Weekly Power List, which not only places him in the No. 1 position, but attributes a whopping 26 percent of the total votes to him. Other list leaders include Melinda Doolittle (12 percent), LaKisha Jones (10 percent) and Sanjaya Malakar (9 percent). Of the 24 semi-finalists, these four contestants together account for 57 percent of the total votes.
Real oddsmakers also put Chris Sligh in the lead, including The Online Wire gambling newswire, BetCHRIS and the UK's Online Betting Guide.
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF AN IDOL
The Washington Post examined the arduous preparations that take place behind-the-scenes as the coaches help American Idol contestants choose songs and polish performances before they take the stage in front of millions of viewers. The guys work with associate music director Michael Orland and vocal coach Matt Rohde, the gals with Dorian Holley and vocal coach and arranger Debra Byrd. Orland and Byrd revealed how a typical week spins by, along with the pressures and challenges faced by the contestants, some of whom have never sung in public or performed with live musicians.
Day 1: The day after the results show is the most important and is "the hardest day, absolutely, because it's their music-picking day," Orland said. Contestants learn the theme of the upcoming show and get a CD with snippets of 50 to 200 songs that fit in the category. The final choice of what to sing, Orland said, falls to the contestants. "We are technically not allowed to help in the song-picking," Orland said. "However, we can say, 'What did the judges say to you last week? What is it you want to show different?' "
Each contestant gets an hour to select a song and find a proper, comfortable key. The song then is edited to fit the 90-second performance slot. Music director-bandleader Rickey Minor and associate music director John Beasley are e-mailed MP3 files of the contestants performing their songs. After some fine-tuning they score each song and develop the orchestration themselves or delegate it via computer to one of 20 freelancers around the country.
Day 2: Coaches spend a half-hour with each contestant to "perfect their song," Orland said, including finding ways to keep on pitch from the first notes. Concurrently, the "Idol" band starts rehearsing to prepare for live filming. Before Minor arrived at the beginning of Season 4, contestants sang to prerecorded music. But that, Orland said, "left no wiggle room for tempo, holding a note longer or holding back for dramatic effect -- the things that happen in a live performance with live energy."
Days 3-4: The contestants' often-hectic weekends include filming commercials, shopping, sitting for photo shoots and choosing a wardrobe. Though the contestants are urged to rest their voices, the coaches are always available to work on the songs.
Day 5: Contestants rehearse with the band several times and learn the group number they will perform that week. The coaching teams help contestants shape their songs vocally and emotionally, and try to break some bad habits. "We constantly fight, constantly ask them to pull it back," Byrd said. "We'll work on it, but when they are under the gun, when the camera's rolling, when the audience is yelling, they'll fall back on that habit -- and whatever bad habits they have -- and just backslide." But Byrd knows trying to teach or improve technique at this stage probably would hurt or confuse the mostly untrained contestants.
Day 6: This is the most exhausting day of the week, full of drama and pressure. Contestants sing a song at least three times before showtime: once for sound check, once for camera blocking and lighting, and once for a dress rehearsal in front of an audience. (It's not the same audience that will be there that night, though clips from that performance will be used in the show.) The day ends with the all-important final performance -- the one that counts with millions of viewers.
Day 7: Results day -- always very emotional -- has a different energy than any other day as the hopefuls learn who is cut from the competition. But the remaining contestants have to get over it immediately and get back to work as the whole grueling process revs up again.
From Foxes on Idol's weekly Chartwatch by Donna Reynolds.
This week’s album charts:
Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts was #19 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Country chart.
Daughtry was #3 on the Billboard 200, #7 on the Internet Album sales chart, #7 on the Digital chart, and #2 on Top Rock Albums.
Katharine McPhee dropped to #11 on the Billboard 200, was #10 on the Internet Album sales chart and #12 on the Digital list.
"Dreamgirls," featuring Jennifer Hudson, was #14 on the Billboard 200, #15 on the Internet Album sales chart, #1 on the Soundtracks chart, and #3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Taylor Hicks was #87 on the Billboard 200.
Fantasia was #110 on the Billboard 200 and #21 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Kellie Pickler’s "Small Town Girl" was #84 on the Billboard 200 and #13 on the Country chart.
Ruben Studdard’s "The Return" was #62 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
This week’s singles charts:
Taylor Hicks’ “Just to Feel That Way” is #30 on the Adult Contemporary chart; “Do I Make You Proud”/“Takin’ It to the Streets” was #9 on the Single Sales chart.
Katharine McPhee’s “Over It” was #60 on the Hot 100, #39 on the Pop 100, #40 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart , #36 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart, and #45 on the Hot Digital Songs list; “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/“My Destiny” was #4 on the Single Sales chart.
Kellie Pickler’s “I Wonder” was #49 on the Country chart. “Red High Heels” was #83 on the Hot 100 chart and #76 on the Pop 100 listing.
Chris Daughtry’s “It’s Not Over” was #6 on the Hot 100, #13 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #4 on the Pop 100, #6 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #6 on Hot Digital Tracks, #6 on Hot Digital Sales, and #3 on the Adult Top 40 listing.
Bucky Covington’s “A Different World” was #37 on the Country chart.
Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” was #36 on the Hot 100, #42 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #38 on the Pop 100, #43 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart, #27 on Hot Digital Tracks, #36 on Hot Digital Sales, and #27 on the Adult Top 40; “Wasted,” was #82 on the Hot 100, #57 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, #11 on the Country chart.
Kimberley Locke’s “Change” was #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Clay Aiken’s “A Thousand Days” was #29 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Fantasia’s “Hood Boy” was #46 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #46 on the R&B Airplay chart, and #29 on the Adult R&B list.
Ruben Studdard’s “Make Ya Feel Beautiful” was #76 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, #72 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, and #22 on the R&B Adult airplay list; “Change Me” was #23 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles, #23 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Chart, and #3 on the R&B Adult airplay list and #73 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.
Jennifer Hudson’s “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” was #81 on the Hot 100, #55 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart, # 16 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, #16 on the R&B Airplay chart, and #7 on the R&B Adult airplay list.
Josh Gracin’s “I Keep Coming Back” was #29 on the Country chart.
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