|Born:||May 7, 1979|
Washington DC, U.S.
Franchelle "Frenchie" Davis (born May 7, 1979 in Washington DC) is an R&B singer and former contestant on the second season of the American reality television show American Idol. Davis performed in Rent on Broadway in 2003.
Davis was a semi-finalist on the second season of American Idol but was disqualified due to topless photos taken earlier in her career.
According to Davis, she was up-front about her pictures:
- “When I first discovered that I had made it to Hollywood and found out I would be competing to get into the top 30 and then later in the top 12, they had given us all this paperwork to fill out, background checks and that whole thing. So when we were doing that I had a discussion with some members of the production staff and I exposed to them a piece of my past; that when I was 19 years old, I took some pictures and that’s not the person I am [anymore]. I wanted to be up-front about it. We talked about it and then nothing happened”.
The “Idol” staff took no action then, but two months later, they decided that Davis’s participation would be inappropriate. “They had decided that because ‘American Idol’ was a family show, that they could not have me on the show because of the pictures I had taken – though they had never seen the pictures,” she told EuroWeb. She also added that no one was able to find the pictures in question as the website that featured them had been taken down.
American Idol topless photo controversy
After revealing pictures of season six American Idol contender Antonella Barba surfaced on the internet, many drew parallels to a similar situation involving season two contender Davis. In an interview conducted for The New York Post on Monday, March 5th, 2007, Davis said,
- "I couldn't help but notice the difference between the manner in which she was dealt with and how I was dealt with.... I think it's fantastic if 'Idol' has evolved, and I think it's fantastic she won't have to go through what I went through four years ago … but if the rules have changed, I believe there should be something to make up for the fact that I was humiliated needlessly ".
Project Islamic H.O.P.E. activist Najee Ali has accused the show of racism: “It’s obvious that it’s a racial bias ... when you have a situation where a black contestant is punished and a similar situation happens to a white contestant and there is no punishment and they’re allowed to continue on the show.” According to EuroWeb, Ali staged a protest in front of The Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, CA on Tuesday, March 6th, 2007. Protesters are seeking another chance for Davis at the competition . Talk show co-host Rosie O’Donnell has commented on the "Idol" scandal; on The View, Tuesday, March 6th, 2007, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck used the justification that Davis was paid for her pictures whereas Barba was not. Rosie’s response: "I think it's racist. I do…I think it's because she's black".
Musical theatre career
After American Idol, Davis appeared in the Broadway musical Rent in 2003. She sang the solo in the opening song of Act Two, Seasons of Love, and in ensemble roles such as Mrs. Jefferson (Joanne's mom), a woman with bags, a coat vendor, Mrs. Marquez (Mimi's mom) and others. She also occasionally played the part of Joanne. On June 1 2005, Davis returned to her previous role in the Broadway production of Rent. Davis had previously announced that she would leave Rent in May 2007, but announced her final performance following a mid-April 2007 show. During the weeks leading up to the 4-29 Rent 10 year reunion Davis appeared in an iTunes Podcast (Rent: The PodCast). She also joined the original cast for a special encore performance.
In 2004, Davis held the role of Effie in a West Coast touring production of Dreamgirls, which appeared in Sacramento, San Jose and Seattle, and later went to Pittsburgh, PA.
From August 3 to 19, 2007, Davis starred alongside Miche Braden and JMichael in the role of Mahalia Jackson in the Hartford Stage production of Mahalia, A Gospel Musical, written by Tom Stolz and directed by Jeremy B. Cohen.
In 2008, Davis, along with Ruben Studdard, will be starring in the 30th anniversary national tour of the musical review Ain't Misbehavin'. The show first appeared on Broadway in 1978 and ran for some 1600 performances. Cities are presently being booked, and the show should run through at least May, 2009.
- 'AMERICAN IDOL' DOUBLE EXPOSURE DOUBLE STANDARD: Ousted 2003 hopeful Frenchie Davis speaks exclusively to EUR.. EuroWeb (2007-03-05). Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- Frenchie Davis Questions 'Idol' Double Standard. KDKA-TV (2007-03-07). Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- Rocchio, Christopher (2006-03-06). "Ex-'Idol 2' semifinalist Frenchie Davis crying foul over Antonella Barba". Reality TV World. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- Way, Jo Anne (2006-03-06). " Rosie O'Donnell Dives Into Frenchie - Antonella Barba Topless Fray ". The National Ledger. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
- DREAMGIRLS: CALIFORNIA MUSIC THEATRE. California Music Theater (2003-2004). Retrieved on 2007-08-22.
- RUBEN STUDDARD, FRENCHIE DAVIS TO TOUR IN AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'. Retrieved on 2008-01-03.