Entertainment Tonight hires Frenchie. The fallen ''Idol'' will do red-carpet Grammy coverage

By Gary Susman
February 19, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Fans of Frenchie Davis, the ”American Idol” contestant who was booted for having posed topless on a porn website four years ago, have hoped the brassy-voiced belter would find stardom anyway. She’s certainly getting a leg up thanks to ”Entertainment Tonight,” which has been giving her exposure of a more positive nature. The syndicated news program announced this week that she would be ”our very special correspondent” this Sunday on the red carpet at the Grammys in New York. ”ET” even plans to arrange a face-to-face between Davis and her own idol, Aretha Franklin, who’s a Grammy presenter this year.

Over the weekend, Davis explained to ”ET” how her pictures ended up online at Daddy’s Little Girls, a site catering to men who fantasize about underage girls (though Davis was 19 when she posed). ”Four years ago, I modeled in lingerie on an adult website,” she said. ”From what I hear, the Web site is under new ownership and it’s a lot different now than when I worked for it. I would never compromise my integrity to be successful.” She said she posed because she ran out of money during her first year at Howard University (where she is now a senior) and had to drop out for a year. ”The year I didn’t have money to pay for school, I was homeless for three months,” she said. ”I went through struggles, even then I knew there was a greater good.”

Davis says she was up front about her past with ”Idol”’s producers, and she questions the timing of her dismissal from the show. ”They knowingly allowed me to advance in the competition and two weeks before I was to perform [on Feb. 25], this is the decision they reached,” she said. ”I’m disappointed in that.”

”Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe told ”ET” his company would still try to help get Davis a record contract. ”Frenchie was nothing but honest with us,” he said. ”Are we going to discard her? No. Certainly, 19 Entertainment will be doing anything that they can to ensure that Frenchie gets a recording offer outside of ‘American Idol.”’ Helping her meet Aretha Franklin probably won’t hurt.