Someone using the online handle "JoesPlace" looks to be giving "American Idol" fans an early Christmas present — or is at least peeling back the fancy wrapping and ribbons to show them just what is going to be underneath the tree.
In posts on IdolForums.com, "JoesPlace" has listed the names, ages, home cities and MySpace pages of contestants fortunate enough to actually make it to Hollywood, where judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson will whittle the top 50 down to the top 24. And it appears that the list may be legit, based on information contained within the MySpace pages of the supposed "Idol" contenders.
According to "JoesPlace," he started compiling the list back in late October and found the contestants "through media and word of mouth." He asks that "if you know any of these contestants or can add any info, just [message] me. You will remain completely anonymous. Nothing will be posted that you don't want. I would appreciate any hints, spoilers, news or info. No info is too small. ... Anything is helpful."
The list is broken down into various segments: Those who've gone before the judges, those who've made it through Hollywood Week and those who've been cut — including, apparently, Fantasia Barrino's brother, 24-year-old Ricco. The list also includes the names of the songs some contestants performed during various portions of the competition.
Why are so many fans interested in spoiling this upcoming seventh season of "Idol"? And is "JoesPlace" just out to ruin it for everyone? Why do people insist on spoiling the experience for others and themselves?
Fox isn't talking, declining MTV News' request for comment — and leaving fans to speculate as to the validity of the posts. But after a casual perusal of the MySpace pages of several of the reported finalists, one immediately notices that all of those on the list seem to know each other.
Despite living in separate cities and states, they've all been leaving each other friend comments, and most of them share the same top friends — each other. While that's not definitive evidence that the list is solid, we did hear from some "Idol" hopefuls — both in the running and out — who verified that at least some of the names appear to be legit.
The closest MySpace friends, though, are the folks believed to be the true finalists — the ones who, presumably, are still in the running.
For instance, alleged top-24 "Idol" contestant Lorena Pinot, a 26-year-old from Miami, lists Alisha Dixon, an 18-year-old from New Jersey who was cut late last month, as one of her top friends. On Dixon's page, Pinot wrote, "Miss you girly, hope you're doing well and back to [your] routine." But no one has more "Idol" friends than Chikezie, a 22-year-old who resides in Glendale, California, and apparently made it to Hollywood during the show's sixth season; "JoesPlace" doesn't seem to know what his last name is.
His top friends include Jason Castro (who left a comment praising Chikezie's most recent performance ("Whoa man that was deep! You just rocked the soul"), and Cardin Lee McKinney, who seems to miss his (or her) presence in Hollywood. Also on Chikezie's page is a message from Brooke Helvie, an 18-year-old from Wellington, Florida. She must have been cut, as her message to Chikezie reads, "I miss everyone so much."
Chikezie's friends also include "Idol" contestant Brandon Green, who is also connected to Lee McKinney and Charity Daw, another of Chikezie's friends. On Castro's page, Daw wrote, "I didn't get to hear you do your original song. It seems to have went well (wink wink). It was cool meeting you." To Daw, Dixon wrote, "It was really nice to meet you." Daw's page is also filled with messages from her pre-audition pals, inquiring how she was holding up during the competition. Dixon also wrote to her that "I had a blast with you, and your music is so good. You're just too f---ing talented, that's totally what it was." Other messages of condolence are sprinkled throughout her profile.
The top friends of Lisa Aukerman, 22, from Gainesville, Florida, are all alleged "Idol" contestants. Her friends have posted messages to her on her page, including "Remember us when you get to the top." Meanwhile, the page of Kevin "The Voice" Boyce, from Bellevue, Nebraska, features one comment from a hometown friend: "I heard it through the grapevine that you went to 'American Idol.' Is that true?"
Now, none of this is confirmed. There's no real way of telling if "JoesPlace" has come up with a legit list of the singers who will be raked over the coals by Cowell next year. But when MTV News did try to contact some of the names on the list for interviews, these are the sorts of responses we were met with — make of them what you will:
"I'd really rather not risk anything by saying something," responded one.
"Sorry, mayne — no can do," said another.
"I would love to talk with you, but being that I'm still under contract with them until the show airs, everything is confidential until then," was the answer we received from another on the list.
"I'm sorry, I am unable to speak about that at the moment," said another. "I appreciate the thought, though."