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Friday, March 2, 2007

Barba on the Internet.

The Internet strikes again.

The immediacy and the speed with which information spreads really is astounding.

The latest victim of the new media is Antonella Barba, a contestant on American Idol.

From her page on the Idol website:

Q: What other talents do you have?

Barba: Violin, piano

Q: Most embarrassing moments?

Barba: Saying the wrong things before I think

I think Barba might need to revise those answers.

LOS ANGELES -- The Internet was abuzz Friday over a series of racy photos linked to an "American Idol" contestant. The pictures, posted on several Web sites, included one with four women posing topless at the beach, their hands covering their breasts, and others with a woman engaged in a sex act.

The anonymous postings alleged that Antonella Barba, 20, of Point Pleasant, N.J., was depicted in the photos and didn't indicate how they were obtained.

Alex Gillespie, a Fox publicist in New York for the top-rated show, said the network would have no comment on the incident or whether it might affect Barba's participation in the contest.

Gillespie said the network is not making any of the contestants available to speak to the media.

...Nigel Lythgoe, an "American Idol" producer, was quoted on Entertainment Weekly's Web site on Friday as saying he was unaware of the photographs.

"We have really good background checks on everybody, and we deal with that every season," he told EW.com. "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?"

Interested in seeing the photos?

Here's more photos alleged to be Barba.

It is sad that her "best friends" were willing to post these compromising photos of Barba on the Internet.

I wouldn't call them friends.

However, much sadder than the betrayal by these so-called friends is the fact that Barba engaged in the behavior depicted in the photos.

Quite literally, she blew it.

American Idol has a precedent to follow. Other contestants have been forced off the show for behavior that its producers deemed inappropriate.

I don't see how Barba can be allowed to remain if it's determined that the most sexually graphic photos are actually of her. It would be inconsistent with the treatment that other contestants received.

I suppose Barba could spend a day or two in "poor judgment" rehab. She could blame an addiction. Maybe Donald Trump could intervene and make things all better.

But in the final analysis, the show must uphold the standards it has set.

Actually, I don't see Antonella Barba as a victim of the Internet or disloyal "friends."

She made poor choices and those choices have consequences.


What are the consequences for Barba? Other than being publicly humiliated and getting an incredible amount of attention, NONE.

If the ones responsible for releasing the photos hoped to destroy her chances to remain on the show, they made a gross miscalculation.

American Idol producers are going to support her. Why? Ratings. Money.

Barba's popularity has skyrocketed. She has a new audience of admirers.

As long as she stays on the show, American Idol will be attracting a new demographic -- the cramped hand demo. Yes, the producers have decided to reap the benefits of the sleazy photos.

In my opinion, it's creepy and reflects poorly on the show.

I wonder how the show's producers would have reacted if sexually explicit photos of a male contestant surfaced. Would they be as forgiving in that case?

I'm not sure what the lesson here really is.

I guess if you want to be famous, Barba is a role model.
Labels: Celebrities


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