Antonella won’t be disqualified over photos; Simon, Ryan, and Randy support her

Antonella Barba, whose topless photos have been talked about far more than any actual performance on American Idol 6, will not be removed from the competition because of them.

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said that she won’t be disqualified. Extra’s Mark McGrath reported last night that “Lythgoe [told] Extra he’s not kicking the Jersey girl off, her fate is in the voters’ hands,” according to Reality TV World. In a story on its web site, Extra says that Lythgoe essentially said that viewers would have to get rid of her instead. “Without question, any competition like this is part popularity competition,” he said.

Simon Cowell said yesterday at the Playboy Mansion, of all places, that the photos “[should] not affect her standing on the show, and if the public wants to keep her in, they’ll keep her in.” He added, “These people haven’t done anything illegal; that’s their private life.

Talking at the same party, Ryan Seacrest agreed, telling USA TODAY that while he has not seen the photos, the fact that they were released is “just tacky, disgusting. 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.”

And Randy Jackson said, “Nobody’s clean in the entertainment business. There are definitely some moral things that go on with this show,” while Hugh Hefner, who was hosting the party attended by the three men, said that criticism of Antonella over the photos is “hypocritical and dumb.”

I’m sure Frenchie Davis appreciates their thoughts and support.

‘Idol’ producer says Antonella Barba won’t be disqualified over photos [Reality TV World]
‘Idol’ Controversy: Will Racy Photos Mean Bye, Bye Barba? [Extra]
‘Idol’ chatter dominates Playboy bash [USA TODAY]