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Idol Comes out Swinging

If twice as many women as men made it to Hollywood Week on "American Idol" this year, but the producers insist on sending exactly 12 women and 12 guys through to the actual start of viewer-voting competition this week, the guys are going to be the weaker group.

So how come they kicked off this year's "American Idol" competition with performances from the 12 guys?

It was very bad.

In a nutshell:

Rudy Cardenas: Scott Baio as boy-bander singing in a bar bad.

Brandon Rogers: He was a Christina Aguilera backup singer? bad.

Sundance Head: Never pick a Moody Blues song bad.

Paul Kim: George Michaels lite with bare feet bad.

Chris Richardson: Not as bad as the others.

Nick Pedro: Simperingly sweet bad.

Blake Lewis: Bravely chose Keane song and not too bad.

Sanjaya Malakar: His hair was best part of performance bad.

Chris Sligh: Not so bad.

Jared Cotter: Who?

AJ Tabaldo: Theme-park bad.

Phil Stacey: Treacly bad.

The good news: No one is going to be talking about the performances from the first night of real "Idol" competition. They'll be talking about the knock-down-drag-out among judge Simon Cowell, show host Ryan Seacrest, and singer Chris Sligh.

It all started when Sligh, the Osbourne kid lookalike, sang "Typical." Good song choice.

"I'm torn here, I'll be honest with you, because I've got to know you, I like you very much and I think you're a fantastic personality," Simon starts to blather in his usual puffed up way when it is his turn to comment on Sligh's performance.

"Having said that I felt that I was at some weird student gig...."

"What's a 'student gig'?" fellow judge Randy Jackson interrupts.

"You know -- students and someone gets up and sings a song," Simon explains.

"I really am struggling tonight," Simon continues.

"Why do they sing?" Randy interrupts again, still stuck back on the "weird student gig" comment.

"Why do they sing?" Seacrest chimes in.

"Who's asking you?" Simon snarls at Ryan.

"I'm asking you," Ryan says.

"No no -- you do the links sweetheart. I'll do the judging," Simon says dismissively.

"Don't call me sweetheart!" Seacrest snaps.

"Don't call me sweetheart!" he reiterates, to show he means it.

"Sweetheart," Randy says, catching up.

"We don't have that kind of relationship -- I don't want that kind of relationship," Seacrest continues.

"I don't want that kind of relationship," Simon responds.

"Exactly! We'll just work together. That's fine with me," Seacrest says.

Simon: "Fine!"

"Chris, sorry about this," Ryan says turning to Chris. "Right now, it's about Chris Sligh."

"That's the point I was trying to make," Simon says.

Finally, it was Sligh's turn to speak:

"Obviously, the audience thinks that this kind of music is very popular right now. What I have to say is, just because I don't sing Il Divo or Teletubbies doesn't mean that...."

"Oh! Chris! Yeah!" Randy shouts, once again interrupting, while Paula jumps up and pretends she is riding a stallion.

(Simon is the guy behind the international boy band Il Divo and ages ago did soundtracks for the kiddie characters known as Teletubbies.)

"Chris, you can always do the latter," Simon sneers, referring to Sligh's Teletubby-esque body type.

"Simon, you're terrible!" Paula chides.

"I love you, you know that," Sligh says to Simon. (Or maybe Paula?)

"Chris, I like you, I just don't think it was an incredible vocal performance -- that's the point I was trying to make," Simon says.

"Yes, sir," Sligh says, sounding rather like David Copperfield talking to his new stepfather, Edward Murdstone.

"It was okay," Simon says, scowling darkly at Sligh and Ryan on stage.

"I think you've hurt his feelings," Ryan tells Sligh.

"No you haven't," Simon tells Sligh. Then, turning to Ryan: "But you've made this very uncomfortable, Ryan, now."

"Because for once instead of you insulting someone else, you've been insulted?" Ryan asks, rhetorically.

"No, no -- you've made it uncomfortable," Simon says.

"I think you two need to talk," Randy offers.

"I think we need to move on with this show and handle this at another time," Ryan says.

Maybe Rosie is right -- "Idol" is meaner this season. Yum!

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 21, 2007; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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