Media "uncovers" 'Idol' semifinalist Becky O'Donohue's 'Maxim' shoot
By Reality TV World staff, 02/23/2006
Only two days into its semifinals, Fox's American Idol 5 has its first media-invented would-be mini-scandal.
Apparently desperate to dig up whatever "dirt" it could on American Idol 5's largely squeaky clean twenty-four semifinalists, Extra has broadcast a report of what it claims to be "a huge Idol shocker" -- the fact that 25-year-old "sultry singer" Becky O'Donohue and her twin sister Jesse were previously featured in a photo shoot for Maxim magazine's online fantasy baseball game.
Although knowledge of the nearly two-year-old photos and an accompanying 71-second web video (still featured on Maxim's website) had been floating around the Internet for some time, Extraclaimed to have "uncovered" them during a "Dirty Little Secret Exposed" segment aired on the syndicated entertainment news program's Wednesday broadcast.
Other media outlets quickly pounced on the report, and the magazine's Maxim Online website was being hobbled by would-be Becky admirers by Thursday morning.
The photos, taken in 2004 as part of a "Maxim Fallacy Baseball" feature tied to the magazine's online fantasy baseball game, show Becky and Jesse posing in a baseball-themed shoot. In typical Maxim fashion, none of the photos contain any nudity. Some feature the twins posing in skimpy baseball outfits while others show the sisters posing in unbuttoned baseball jerseys, bikinis, or wrapped in only small towels.
Similar to the photos, the video features the scantily clad twins mimicking a variety of baseball activities, including pre-game stretching, pitching off a baseball mound, arguing with an umpire, and celebrating a big win by spraying each other with champagne.
"They were athletes in college, then models, and now they're vocalists," Jordan Burchette, Maxim Online's executive editor, told The Associated Press. Now, the Maxim photos have "found new life" due to Becky's Idol appearance. "There's all kind of new buzz surrounding them," said Burchette.
Becky O'Donohue (right) poses alongside her twin sister Jessie (left) in a photo released by Maxim Online
Jesse, like Becky, an aspiring professional singer and part-time model, was unable to try out for American Idol 5 due to recent throat surgery. In addition to their Maxim appearance, the twins also previously appeared on a special twins-themed episode of NBC's Fear Factor. Along with her sister, Becky played Division I basketball for four years in college, attending Niagara University on a full scholarship. She graduated with a bachelors of arts degree in communications in May 2002. Prior to making Idol's semifinals, she worked for an entertainment company and also as a waitress.
Extra correspondent Terri Seymour "surprised" American Idol judge Simon Cowell with a "private screening" of video after Becky performed in Tuesday night's Idol performance show. "Wow! Hopefully, she'll make the top two," the show judge joked to Seymour (Cowell's real-life girlfriend.)
American Idol 5 will eliminate four -- two men and two women -- of its twenty-four semifinalists during tonight's live broadcast of the new season's first results show. Becky is considered unlikely to win American Idol's fifth season, with one online gambling website recently listing her at 45-1 odds, thirteenth among the twenty-four contestants.
Since the media reports of the photos only emerged on Wednesday, they will not be able to impact this week's voting of home viewers (American Idol 5's voting lines only remained open for two hours after the Tuesday performance show in which Becky performed aired.)
A spokesperson for Fox had no comment on the photos.