Those of you who have been keeping up with the American Idol auditions most likely remember the real star of the Greensboro auditions: Ms. Rhonetta Johnson. She has been touted as this year's Idol "Worst Of" and has taken ranks with William Hung, Mary Roach, and that Derrick guy from Season 1.
Rhonetta took the small screen by storm as she high kicked the camera and cursed out Paula Abdul. Idol took a long look at an angry Rhonetta as she stormed out, and they successfully made her appear to be the villain of the story. The story was often unflattering, showing clips of Ms. Johnson in unsavory poses, as well as embellishing a certain well-remembered shot where they made it appear that Rhonetta was exposing herself during a high kick. They focused on Rhonetta's refusal to drink Paula's water and Rhonetta's subsequent rage, which was almost inexplicable until you know the real reason that Rhonetta was upset. (Here's a hint: it was edited HEAVILY.)
Musical Ramblings wasn't satisfied that the whole story was told, so I contacted Rhonetta through her representation, and she was gracious enough to engage me in some old-school question and answer. And wouldn't you know, we DIDN'T know the whole story. And is Paula Abdul as innocent as she was made out to be in the show? Let's find out!
M.R.: What motivated you to try out for American Idol?
Rhonetta: I wanted to make a better life for myself.
M.R.: Can you tell us a little about your experience at the Greensboro
Rhonetta: It was fun at first, until they made us wait so long.
M.R.: We saw quite a bit of you on the show. Was it edited in any way?
Rhonetta: Yes, they edited out a part when Paula was screaming "NO" and slammin' her hands on the table.
M.R.: Were you surprised at how the editing turned out?
M.R.: The judge you seemed to be the hardest on was Paula. Simon and Randy seemed a lot meaner to you, so why did you single out Paula Abdul?
Rhonetta: Paula screamed at me, but y'all didn't see that.
M.R.: Was the Rhonetta we saw on TV the REAL Rhonetta? Or was it an act?
Rhonetta: It was me when I'm very upset. However, I'm really a nice person.
M.R.: About that outfit...were you really not wearing any underpants?
Rhonetta: I had on black panties.
M.R.: What about Ryan Seacrest? Was he nice to you?
Rhonetta: Ryan was VERY nice.
M.R.: Did you at any point think that you might be able to win the
M.R.: Did you meet any of the other contestants that we saw on TV? What did you think about your competition?
Rhonetta: Yes, I met some of them. There was great competition, but I was confident.
M.R.: We've all seen the court documents documenting your past run-ins with the law. What would you like to say about your police record?
Rhonetta: Yes, I have a past, and the past is the past. I'm moving on to become a better person and create a "positive" life for myself.
M.R.: There has been a lot of hate directed toward you since your appearance, and some fans have even gone on to create a website at www.rhonettajohnson.com to make fun of you. What is your response to these people?
Rhonetta: They need to get a life! What they say doesn't offend me.
M.R.: Would you ever try out for Idol again?
Rhonetta: No...I'm too much for American Idol.
M.R.: Looking at your website, I see you're starting a V-blog to document yourself rapping in different places. Are you hoping for a career in the rap industry?
Rhonetta: No...I was just having fun! I would like to sing, though.
M.R.: What sort of projects do you have lined up for the near future?
Rhonetta: I have a role as a lawyer in a movie called "Tragedy to Triumph". I also will be in Rolling Stone magazine this month. I hope to do some modeling, singing, or even a reality show.
M.R.: Some of the previous Idol contestants like the Brittenum twins have had legal troubles, but they've also been offered record deals. Do you have any offers coming at you?
Rhonetta: No, not at this time.
M.R.: If you could describe each past Idol winner in a few words, what would you say?
Rhonetta: Kelly Clarkson: Born Star with class and cute! Ruben Studdard: Where is he? Fantasia: Great singer! Carrie Underwood: Very talented
M.R.: What advice would you have for anybody who might try out for Idol next year?
Rhonetta: BE CONFIDENT! If the judges say say you are not good; don't give up...keep trying.
M.R.: Any final words you'd like to say to the judges?
Rhonetta: Don't be so mean!!
M.R.: Anything else you want to tell the fans about yourself??
Rhonetta: Thank you for supporting me and not giving up on me despite my past. Please visit my website, www.rhonetta.net to see what will be the next thing.
So there's the complete dish on the girl who is supposedly the worst contestant this year, but who actually turns out to be a very nice person indeed. Thanks very much, Rhonetta, for being a good sport and for sitting down with us. I'm sure there are things about Paula's tantrums we'd all like to know. Thanks also to Candyce, Rhonetta's representative, for all her help in contacting Rhonetta.
Stay tuned to this spot for more contestant interviews as we dip behind the scenes of American Idol!!