Access Hollywood reports that Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell attended a party the other night at the Playboy Mansion celebrating the series premiere of E! channel's "Paradise City," executive produced by Seacrest. Asked if they had seen the photos of Antonella Barba that had been leaked on the Internet, Randy joked, "Who's Antonella?" After Simon was shown several of the photos, he said, "You know what, whoever sold those is despicable. I really mean that. It's despicable. That is private property. Out of order. Honestly. It's repulsive."
The photos were reportedly taken for a calendar Barba made for an ex-boyfriend, a lacrosse player at the Catholic University of America where Antonella is a student. It had been widely reported that the ex-boyfriend, who has yet to be ID'd, may be the one who released the photos. Cowell later told the "Access Hollywood" reporter that he hoped the culprit would be identified soon. Randy expressed the same sentiment. Simon added that he loves the controversy, that it was good for the show and joked there was probably a lot more coming.
The reporter then showed Hugh Hefner, 80, the photos, who remarked, "She really looks sexy here." Asked if he would consider making Antonella an offer to pose for Playboy should she be voted off "American Idol," he answered, "Very real possibility. Yes, absolutely." Hefner also told USA Today, "I think in America we have a very strange attitude toward sexuality and nudity, and it makes no real sense." Cowell told the paper he believes photos showing nudity should not be grounds for dismissal. "These people haven't done anything illegal; that's their private life," he stressed. He believes that the racy photos of Barba should "not affect her standing on the show, and if the public wants to keep her in, they'll keep her in."
"Nobody's clean in the entertainment business," seconded Jackson, recalling Frenchie Davis, who was famously booted from Idol in Season 2 when it was revealed that she had worked for an adult Web site. "There are definitely some moral things that go on with this show." It is the morals of the person who leaked the Barba photos that Seacrest finds most repugnant. "It's just tacky, disgusting," said Seacrest. "You've got a girl who's trying to make it on a show where she needs a vote, and someone's trying to tear that away from her." Though he said he had not yet seen the photos, Seacrest added that he would "absolutely let [Barba] stay on. If American Idol is a true representation of American youth, we're going to find imperfections. And it's OK to be imperfect."
Also at the party was Season 4 runner-up Bo Bice, who dealt with his own Idol controversy -- he had a prior arrest record on drug possession charges -- during the fourth season. He admitted to "Access Hollywood" being hurt by all the negative publicity he received but said, "If you don't like the business don't do it. Stay home." Bice believes if Barba was up front with the producers as he was she will be safe, "I think that's the most important thing, is if you're willing to learn from your mistakes." He also said anyone on the show could have fallen victim to unflattering photos being released by so-called friends, "You learn who your friends are. Your friend base becomes a lot closer so you do, you got to watch your back."
YOUR FAVORITE COKE CUP
Thousands have submitted their designs for a new Coke Cup, and Americanidol.com and Coke have narrowed the competition to just three. You can vote on your favorite Coke Cup here. The winning cup may appear in front of Simon, Paula and Randy on the show this season.
FOR HUDSON, LIFE IS GOOD
Jennifer Hudson appeared on the cover of a recent issue of LIFE magazine, which included an interview with the Oscar winner. Excerpts from the interivew include:
On Jamie Foxx: "Jamie Foxx would call me every Sunday and say, 'I've been down the same road you're going down,' And I'd say, 'Me? No way,' and he'd say, 'Yeah, you're gonna be there -- the Golden Globes, the Oscars.' It's so great to have somebody to lean on when things are changing so fast. He's my lifesaver."
On life before fame: "The only nonentertainment job I took was at Burger King [as a teenager]. My older sister, Julia, was the super-employee. I made a mess of everything: Burgers would go flying out of my hand. I'd drop the cheese. It made me realize I better find a job doing something completely different."
On what Idol judge Simon Cowell told her: "The people who don't win will never be seen again." She said, "I never once thought about Simon Cowell during 'Dreamgirls.' It wasn't about 'Aha, I want to show you!' Being eliminated showed me that God has a greater plan."
On her music idols: "When nobody else saw my talent [on American Idol], Elton John did. He and Barry Manilow [whose songs she also sang] are like part of my family. I still hear from them with words of encouragement. To have these guys in my corner, it's like, whoa."
On gaining 20 pounds to play the plus-size Effie in Dreamgirls: "I did it by eating cookies, cakes and pies at all hours of the night. The trouble is, we were dancing so much, it was hard to keep the weight on. I'd lose an inch, and they'd yell, 'You've gotta eat more chocolate cake!'"
e-mail Idol Addict