'Idol' contestant linked to racy photos


The Internet was abuzz Friday over a series of racy photos linked to an "American Idol" contestant.

The pictures, posted on several Web sites, included one with four women posing topless at the beach, their hands covering their breasts, and others with a woman engaged in a sex act.

The anonymous postings alleged that Antonella Barba, 20, of Point Pleasant, N.J., was depicted in the photos and didn't indicate how they were obtained.

Alex Gillespie, a Fox publicist in New York for the top-rated show, said the network would have no comment on the incident or whether it might affect Barba's participation in the contest.

Gillespie said the network is not making any of the contestants available to speak to the media.

A message left Friday on an answering machine at the Point Pleasant home of Barba's parents, Vincenzo and Valerie Barba, was not immediately returned.

This week, Barba survived the first round of viewer voting and was scheduled to compete again next week.

Nigel Lythgoe, an "American Idol" producer, was quoted on Entertainment Weekly's Web site on Friday as saying he was unaware of the photographs.

"We have really good background checks on everybody, and we deal with that every season," he told EW.com. "It's sad, isn't it, that your best friends are the ones that come forward with information that will go to Smoking Gun or put your photographs on the Web?"

In the past, "American Idol" has dropped contestants for actions unrelated to the show. Frenchie Davis was disqualified in 2003 because of her appearance on an adult Web site -- but she bounced back with a role in the Broadway production of "Rent."