Franchelle "Frenchie" Davis (born May 7, 1979; Washington, D.C.) is an R&B singer and former contestant on the first season of the American reality television show American Idol. Davis performed in Rent on Broadway in 2003. In 2011 Davis became a Top 8 semi-finalist and came in Second place on Christina Aguilera's team on the first season of The Voice.
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 5, 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 6, 2007. Protesters are seeking another chance for Davis at the competition. Former talk show co-host Rosie O'Donnell has commented on the Idol scandal; on The View, Tuesday, March 6, 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 April 29 performance of Rent's 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 was cast in 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.
From August 3-19, 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 fellow second-season American Idol participants Ruben Studdard and Trenyce Cobbins, starred in the 30th-anniversary national tour of the musical revue Ain't Misbehavin'; the tour ran until May 2009.
In the fall of 2010, Frenchie was cast in the role of the Fairy Godmother in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (Enchanted Edition) at the Berkeley Playhouse, the resident theatre company at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, California.
Frenchie is the featured artist in the Tony Moran single "You Are" that was released December 1, 2009 and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard hot clubplay chart. "You Are" was the debut single from Tony Moran's album titled "Mix Magic Music".
Frenchie, auditioned for the 2011 reality competition series The Voice, featuring celebrity judges/coaches Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton. In the first episode, she performed "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry, advancing to the next round as a member of Aguilera's team of 8.
On the May 10th episode of The Voice, Frenchie competed in a sing off against Tarralyn Ramsey, both singing "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé. Frenchie won and made it to the next round.
On the June 7th episode of The Voice, Frenchie performed "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. She was told, "You may very well have the strongest voice in this whole competition."
In the next week, it was announced that Frenchie did not win the fan vote from last week's performance, which would have allowed her to move on in the competition. However, her coach Christina Aguilera used her own vote to move Frenchie onto The Voice's Elite 8.
On the June 21st episode of The Voice, featuring the Showdown of the Elite 8, Davis performed "Like A Prayer" by Madonna.
Frenchie Davis was eliminated during the semi-finals, finishing fifth overall. She did, however, join the other members of the final eight contestants of the show: Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez, Beverly McClellan, Casey Weston, Xenia and Nakia on a U.S. tour summer 2011.