American Idol snippets: Of record contracts, boy-band pasts, racy photos, lap dances and rocker wigs
CHANNEL SURFING - Althea Lauren Ricardo () - March 13, 2008 - 12:00am

Owing to the nature of my “day job” as an English trainer, where I work in Europe time and follow French holidays, I’ve been relegated to watching prime time TV reruns, if I still feel like watching any TV at all when I get home past midnight. This, in a nutshell, is why I’ve been spending a lot of my downtime online—and why I’ve been writing about my recent current addictions.

But it’s back to the TV now, because the current season of American Idol has whittled down the contestants to its final 12. I try not so much to invest any feelings towards the final 24, because it’s just too much energy wasted on too many people who are now yesterday’s news. Besides, there’s a pretty and talented Pinay, Ramiele Malubay, who just might make it farther than Jasmine Trias did—which would be a feat, considering Jasmine finished third! What’s great about Ramiele is that she’s really open about her goal to be the first Asian American Idol. No false humility there, which is really admirable, even as Camille Velasco’s and Jasmine Trias’ politeness and respectfulness towards the judges were also a refreshing breather from the usual sassiness. She’s also playing the Pinoy card to her benefit. I’m sure you’ve all seen that episode where host Ryan Seacrest had her speaking in Tagalog.

I didn’t have the time to follow the Top 24 of American Idol on TV, but I did play catch up online and found some interesting snippets of information, my favorite of which was what supposedly got “rocker” Robbie Carrico booted out early. I use quotation marks because I agree with what judge Simon Cowell said about Robbie’s authenticity, having seen old pictures of his younger, boy-band self. More than this, however, Robbie, who is also one of Britney Spears’ pre-stardom exes, was made popularly “unpopular” because he was allegedly wearing a wig. Of all the things your being an artist can be judged for!

David Hernandez, who is part of the Top 12, also had his share of the glare when it was revealed that he used to work as a stripper in a gay bar. There were pictures to support this too. I don’t think people expected him to go—and thought beautiful flamboyant gay boy Danny Noriega would stay on—but perhaps America’s ready for someone who’s given his share of lap dances in a gay bar, but not yet for someone who’s openly gay?

Another contestant who’s had her turn in the rumor mill is Carly Smithson, who was “exposed” to have had a failed album on MCA Records back in 2001, when she went by the name Carly Hennessy. People questioned her being part of American Idol, a contest for amateurs, when she already had a record contract.

Producer Nigel Lythgoe quickly explained, however, that according to show rules, contestants only had to be free from any recording contracts when they audition. Even top favorite David Archuleta already had his turn under the spotlight, having won Star Search when he was 11. If you’re a fan, maybe you can dig up his old videos online.

Ramiele was the recent contestant to have her share of intrigue—because of photos she put up herself in her Facebook account. The photos were leaked into the Internet, and, by the power of the forward button, were propelled into a full-blown “scandal.” The photos are pretty ho-hum, though.

An aside: If you’d followed last month’s Edison Chen scandal, where pictures of the actor and his past actress-girlfriends in intimate positions were unleashed on the World Wide Web, you acquire another, more tangible definition of “scandal.”

Incidentally, if you still care, recent updates say that the over 1,000 photos stolen from Chen’s computer also include Hong Kong socialites.

Fortunately, after the dust of the scandal, flimsy or otherwise, has settled, only a bit of name recall can remain—and even this can only take you so far. For this year’s American Idol finalists, it’s on with the show.

Email your comments to You may also text them to 0920.273.7087. Please remember to mention your name in your text messages. You can also visit my personal blog at Boy-band to Rocker? Is this even possible?

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