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 "American Idol"
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Comments

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Simon makes the show. When he leaves, the show will be over. Maybe he is mean. But he's the only reason I watch.

Posted by: Justin | February 21, 2007 10:05 AM

Simon is mean and he is the reason why most people watch, but it was nice to see Ryan and Chris take him down a peg.

Posted by: Ali | February 21, 2007 10:23 AM

Chris Sligh and Blake are the only standouts, although it was obvious that nerves were high among the rest and I think that some of them have potential to improve. Chris S may have burned some bridges with his teletubbies comment; it'll be interesting to see if Simon is overly critical of Chris's performances from here on out (and I think he's going to be on the show for quite some time).

Posted by: Steve M | February 21, 2007 10:23 AM

I am so over Ryan Seacrest. His comments are reliably stupid, especially when he attempts to match wits with Simon.

ExCap - Out!

Posted by: ExCap | February 21, 2007 10:24 AM

Am I the only one who doesn't mind Seacrest? I mean, he's kind of toolish, but seriously the whole show is, so the bar is pretty low.

That said, I thought Chris's comments were a little unnecessary, because he really wasn't that great. Seemed to me the lovefest over his sardonic humor has gone to his head.

Posted by: chickie | February 21, 2007 10:46 AM

Bring back House!

Posted by: Bring back House! | February 21, 2007 10:49 AM

Agreed - the guys were terrible and Jack Osbourne shot himself in the foot. I liked the Keane song by the beatboxer guy though, but mostly for gumption.

Posted by: NoVA | February 21, 2007 10:54 AM

Seemed to me that Chris had stocked up that Teletubbies comment, but emptied his quip quiver far too soon. Randy was doing a good enough job of challenging Simon's criticism. Chris should have saved that remark for a time when Simon really laid into him; now he just unnecessarily caused bad blood.

Posted by: JD | February 21, 2007 11:12 AM

If you closed your eyes and listened, Blake sounded a lot like John Lennon. Lennon wasn't a particularly great singer either, but he was able to make a living at it.

Posted by: Independence Ave | February 21, 2007 11:21 AM

If you closed your eyes and listened, Blake sounded a lot like John Lennon. Lennon wasn't a particularly great singer either, but he was able to make a living at it.

Posted by: Independence Ave | February 21, 2007 11:23 AM

Seacrest is lame. Period. He really adds nothing to the show and could be replaced by almost anyone with decent looks that doesn't stutter.

Simon is the core of the show. He may come off as mean but he is also the only one of the judges that says anything of substance. Simon was dead on last night when he remarked that the viewing public agrees with him more often than not.

After all, is there anyone else on the show that has his track record of success for creating pop stars before American Idol? The answer to that is no.

Posted by: TC the Terrible | February 21, 2007 11:23 AM

Pookie, I don't even watch AI. I can't even imagine trying to watch it.

Thanks to your dramatic re-creations, I can still enjoy the drama!

Truly, you watch "so that I do not have to." Thanks!

Posted by: Stu in Towson | February 21, 2007 11:39 AM

Pookie, I don't even watch AI. I can't even imagine trying to watch it.

Thanks to your dramatic re-creations, I can still enjoy the drama!

Truly, you watch "so that I do not have to." Thanks!

Posted by: Stu in Towson | February 21, 2007 11:41 AM

Pookie, I don't even watch AI. I can't even imagine trying to watch it.

Thanks to your dramatic re-creations, I can still enjoy the drama!

Truly, you watch "so that I do not have to." Thanks!

Posted by: Stu in Towson | February 21, 2007 11:42 AM

Also, at the end of the show, Ryan thanked Randy and Paula and pointedly ignored Simon.

And I agree, bring back "House."

Posted by: Dottieb | February 21, 2007 11:42 AM

Sorry about the repeated postings. My computer locked up!

Posted by: Stu in Towson | February 21, 2007 11:44 AM

I agree more often with Simon and his assessment of the contestants than with the other judges.

To me Ryan is a Jerk!

Posted by: Susan | February 21, 2007 12:05 PM

Thanks for the recap - we weren't able to watch last night. My son will be pumped to read what happened! I do wish there were less bickering between the judges and Seacrest - it's pointless blather and adds nothing to the show.

Posted by: Meg in PA | February 21, 2007 12:08 PM

Last night was horrible. I am not sure why the judges are so hard on the men. They chose the final 12. A lot of good singers were let go. If the women are just as bad, I am not going to watch again until the final show. I am a big fan but last night was quite disappointing.

Posted by: lwa | February 21, 2007 12:08 PM

This show stopped being about the talent in the intial stages after the first year - the year of Kelly. That Simon and Paula playfully bicker so much is sickening. Randy gives great advise but is so stuck on "keepin' it real, dog" that it gets very old and redundant. I agree that Simon is usually dead on with advice and criticism but probably keeps the ratings high by being such an insulting snob about it. Does Paula ever have an original thought besides the impression she gives of "gee, that guy is cute"?

The guys overall were pretty bad last night but they usually are on the first night of the show. I truly hope that Thomas (the last guy cut) is feeling some vindication since Sundance just cannot cut it with a band behind him and an audience in front of him. He is holding on to a wasted slot.

Posted by: T. Hicks | February 21, 2007 12:10 PM

This show stopped being about the talent in the intial stages after the first year - the year of Kelly. That Simon and Paula playfully bicker so much is sickening. Randy gives great advise but is so stuck on "keepin' it real, dog" that it gets very old and redundant. I agree that Simon is usually dead on with advice and criticism but probably keeps the ratings high by being such an insulting snob about it. Does Paula ever have an original thought besides the impression she gives of "gee, that guy is cute"?

The guys overall were pretty bad last night but they usually are on the first night of the show. I truly hope that Thomas (the last guy cut) is feeling some vindication since Sundance just cannot cut it with a band behind him and an audience in front of him. He is holding on to a wasted slot.

Posted by: T. Hicks | February 21, 2007 12:11 PM

I watched some of A.I. last night and caught the weird exchange between Simon, Ryan, Chris, Pitchy Dawg and Sleepy. I didn't get it, and nothing I've read here really explains it. What was the big deal about "sweetheart"? The fuss over that made it seem like there was some innuendo there, but what & regarding whom? What was Simon "hurt" about - the "sweetheart" reaction or the dumb Il Divo/Teletubbies comment?

My daughter didn't like Paula's bangs; I thought she was trying to hide her eyes - she looked & sounded like she was ready to doze off.

Posted by: m.a. | February 21, 2007 12:12 PM

Sanjaya got a bad rap - that kid can sing...

Steve

Posted by: Steve | February 21, 2007 12:24 PM

Kind of toolish? Ryan is a whole Craftsman set of tools and more. He had another pretend spat with Simon at the end of the show as well. Anyone who beleived these "heated exchanges" are anything but scripted is crazy. The parade of no talents ground the show to a halt so it was time to crank up the heat with a little psuedo-confrotation. Boring and unwatchable for most of the evening.

Posted by: FL | February 21, 2007 3:29 PM

I turned it off at 9:30 during the all-cast brouhaha. Enough is enough. The guys were neither good nor bad. To hear Randy and Paula tell it, most of the men were pitchy. What the hell does that mean? Pitchy, pitchy, pitchy. Argh!

Randy needs to get rid of the "dog", and Paula needs to go back to whatever planet she came from. She behaves like a silly 12 year old goof ball adolescent.

They all need to give their critiques and then shut up. Neither Paula nor Randy has anything to offer. They are clones of each other. Simon could carry the show by himself.

Posted by: Shelley | February 21, 2007 5:44 PM

I gotta say that the Sanjaya-and-his-sister business officially entered Creepytown with that Stevie tune he sang. I have hopes for the guy, as he sings well for his age and realistically could appeal to girls internationally if he were to be chewed up and spit out of the AI machine. When he said she picked his song out for him, I was curious. Then he started. He was singing it right to her! Ew. Those two are crazy about each other. I mean, I don't blame the guy for being attracted, but get out of the house, man.

Posted by: Sean | February 21, 2007 6:11 PM

I gotta say that the Sanjaya-and-his-sister business officially entered Creepytown with that Stevie tune he sang. I have hopes for the guy, as he sings well for his age and realistically could appeal to girls internationally if he were to be chewed up and spit out of the AI machine. When he said she picked his song out for him, I was curious. Then he started. Of all the tunes to pick, it was that one - and he was singing it right to her! Ew. Those two are crazy about each other. I mean, I don't blame the guy for being attracted, but get out of the house, man.

Posted by: Sean | February 21, 2007 6:13 PM

"What was the big deal about "sweetheart"? The fuss over that made it seem like there was some innuendo there, but what & regarding whom? What was Simon "hurt" about - the "sweetheart" reaction or the dumb Il Divo/Teletubbies comment?"

Simon called Ryan "sweetheart" as a dig on Ryan's sexuality, because he knows how badly usually reacts to that bait. It's just like how Simon says things that he knows will make Paula react crazily, because maybe he likes torturing her and he thinks it will make good TV. For years now, Simon has been making all of these insinuations and Ryan reacts in a way that makes him look like he might be overcompensating. So on that count, Simon knew exactly what was going to happen.

I think Simon was only really thrown off by Chris Sligh's insults. He does not like the contestants talking back to him like that, and he probably didn't think his criticism of Chris' performance really warranted that kind of response.

Posted by: Arabella | February 21, 2007 7:01 PM

Thanks, Arabella! It all makes sense now.

Posted by: m.a. | February 22, 2007 9:50 AM

SANYAJA, not sure if hes a girl or guy, more than likely hes a fa$$$$g, and how he is still on the show, i dont know, must have got all his DOT friends to vote for him, and half of india did also, now tell me he wouldnt suck a co$$$ck, im sure he can do that better than he can sing, the show is a rip off, not worth watching anymore.

Posted by: pjpj2045@yahoo.com | March 15, 2007 11:38 AM

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