Radio Hosts Ask: Would Mandisa Be an 'Idol' Front-Runner if She Were White?

3/26/2006 4:26 PM PST

Radio Hosts Ask: Would Mandisa Be an 'Idol' Front-Runner if She Were White?

The top rated 'Kevin and Bean Show' on Los Angeles radio station KROQ posed an interesting question Friday morning: Would Mandisa be a Top 10 contestant on 'American Idol' if she were white

"It's fascinating that she can be a front runner and look like she does, yet there's no way 'Whitey' shows up at 280 [lbs.] and gets in the Top 10. It's not even possible," commented Bean, half of the the popular team of Kevin and Bean -- both of whom are white.

Listen to the KROQ segment

With Mandisa considered one of 'Idol's' favorites, the discussion, which included co-hosts Ralph Garman and Lisa May, focused on how overweight Caucasian 'Idol' contestants are seemingly treated differently from African-American contestants. "What is the double standard?," they asked. "Why is it acceptable for the African-American contestants -- and we're not just talking about 'American Idol'-- in all the world, you can be big and black and be considered sexy and no one's trying to get you to lose any weight... yet the big white guy all of a sudden is a pariah."

The hosts singled out past 'Idol' winner Ruben Studdard, who once tipped the scales at well over 450 lbs., as an example of that double standard -- and callers agreed. America is "used to seeing white skinny women," one female caller said. She added: "Black women are celebrated for their curves."

But another caller took issue with the notion of a double standard, commenting that the public often overlooks a singer's appearance and "gives them a pass because that supports that voice." The caller cited Aretha Franklin and Fats Domino as examples of singers whose girth actually enhanced their voices.

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