American Idol 8’s fake controversies: singers’ pro experience, Casey Carlson’s bikini pictures

American Idol typically has a scandal or two during its four-month run, but what happens if there isn’t really anything to talk about? That’s when it’s time to make a big deal out of not very much at all, creating fake controversies just to fill space, like when idiot, sensational bloggers make a big deal out of a not-all-that-uncommon phrase spoken by an auditioner.

The newest faux scandal has to do with some contestants’ professional experience. This isn’t new, but the AP reports on it, saying “there are several crooners who’ve already had a shot — or several — at making it in the music industry.” Among the evidence: “Danielle Roundtree was Miss New York USA in 2008. Adam Lambert was a cast member in the Los Angeles production of ‘Wicked.’ Von Smith sang on ‘The View’ after Rosie O’Donnell spotted him wailing on YouTube. Jackie Tohn is a professional actress who has several film and TV credits to her name, including ‘The Sopranos.'”

Clearly, they’re all such huge household names that they need a TV show to increase their fame.

Another person cited in the AP’s piece, Joanna Pacitti, has gotten the most attention. Access Hollywood claims Joanna Pacitti “came under fire when it was revealed she was allowed to audition and was put through to ‘Idol’s’ Hollywood round” because “Pacitti’s experience is considered, by some, to be much broader.”

The tabloid TV show’s evidence? “a host of bloggers on ‘Idol’s’ official forum.” That doesn’t even make any sense, and even if it did, forum posters who actually contribute to the show’s official forum are probably not representative of public sentiment. And since Kara DioGuardi acknowledged Joanna’s experience and record contract immediately when Joanna walked into the room, it’s not like the show is trying to hide anything.

Meanwhile, there have been plenty of naked and semi-naked Idol contestant stories in the past, perhaps most notably with the topless photos of top-24 contestant Antonella Barba that were revealed while she was on the show.

Thus, American Idol 8 needs its own naked picture scandal. Some stories have focused on Casey Carlson, who made it to Hollywood. MTV News referenced “naughty-picture scandal of the season” and then says “Casey Carlson has set some kind of ‘Idol’ record for being, um, exposed as a bikini model for a Web site called Campus Girls USA.”

Yeah, she’s so exposed she has the pictures on her “official web site”, and those photos are, at best, PG. Still, The Post Chronicle calls them “naughty-looking bikini photos” that prove Casey is “not as ‘good’ and innocent as she looks.” In other words, there’s not much here. Even those controversy-inventing hacks at TMZ don’t make a big deal out of it, calling the pictures “some unbelievably erotic poses” but note that Campus Girls USA “sells calendars and donates all the profits to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

Many ‘Idol’ wannabes aren’t new to spotlight [AP]
‘American Idol’ Contender Joanna Pacitti Comes Under Fire [Access Hollywood]
Move Over, ‘Bikini Girl': ‘American Idol’ Hopeful Casey Carlson Has Her Own Bathing-Suit Pics [MTV News]
Move Over ‘Bikini Gal,’ Casey Carlson Strips [Post Chronicle]
“Idol” Wannabe Has Ridiculous Body of Work [TMZ]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.