Thursday, March 1

Being Almost Famous: Antonella Barba

In one of the more interesting recent public figure public relations twists in television, Antonella Barba managed to surprise American Idol viewers with mildly risque photos, gain their sympathy when a second set of pornographic photos were proven to be fakes, and then lose all likeability last night with a display of spoiled daughter syndrome. Many viewers seemed put off after she likened herself to Jennifer Hudson given Barba delivered the worst performance of any female vocalist.

Hudson, of course, went from American Idol contestant to star as Effie Melody White in the 2006 musical film Dreamgirls, for which she won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and a SAG Award. Most people look back and conclude she was voted out too early. Barba brought Hudson up after sticking her tongue out at Randy Jackson and then claiming Simon Cowell was as wrong about her as he was Hudson. Cowell said he didn't vote Hudson off, the viewers did.

Barba's mini-tantrum over the judges comments won't bode well for the 20-year-old wannabe singer, especially after Jackson, Cowell, and even Seacrest went to bat for her in USA Today. Here's a recap of USA Today sound bites...

• "Nobody's clean in the entertainment business," said Jackson.

• "[I would] absolutely let [Barba] stay on. If American Idol is a true representation of American youth, we're going to find imperfections," said Seacrest.

• "[The photos should] not affect her standing on the show, and if the public wants to keep her in, they'll keep her in," said Cowell, who also stressed the photos were not illegal, but personal (but not so personal nowadays).

After last night, their USA Today opinions read as pointless. After Barba's extremely bad performance, followed by an unwillingness to accept criticism (which traditionally prompts viewers to vote ego-oriented contestants off), it seems to me that Barba's best bet is if she carries the vote. She'd better hope so, because if last night's public relations/personality gaffe is any indication of the real Barba, then her 15 minutes of fame might be over.

From a public relations perspective, Barba would have been better off agreeing she could have done better, leaving the American viewing audience to wonder if the stress of the photos possibly impacted her performance. Instead, she came off as smug, irritated by the fact the judges didn't think she did as well as she thought, giving viewers a clear indication she's not bothered by anything other than something standing in her way to being famous, er, almost famous. I guess we'll see tonight.



Rich on 3/1/07, 10:24 PM said...

It is less surprising than dissapointing that Barba did indeed survive with help from

Rich on 3/2/07, 5:55 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

"I didn't really pay attention to the Internet or newspaper so I could stay focused, but I overheard people talking about it. Antonella's strong and doing just fine and she'll pull through." — Alaina Alexander

"There's some sleazy people out there doing sleazy things and I feel bad for her, but she's beautiful and she's going to do well. But we tried to stay away from it." — AJ Tabaldo

"There's certain hype that comes with her, and that's not really something I understand. It doesn't excite me that she has pictures like that. I mean, who doesn't? Whatever, get over it. But I knew getting into this that it wasn't just about singing." — Leslie Hunt

Three of the four former contestants tell MTV their take on Barba.


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