The Emasculation of Simon

"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell appears to have been neutered since we saw him last.

Simon apparently believes the number of votes being cast for Idolette Sanjaya Malakar each week by little girls and older women is directly proportional to how mean Simon is in his review of Sanjaya's performance.

So Simon no longer will say cruel things about Sanjaya.

Or, it would appear, any other Idolette.

"Let's try a different tactic this week -- Incredible!" Simon said of Sanjaya's "Cheek to Cheek" routine in which, Sanjaya said in his taped bit that he hoped to "make America see I actually CAN sing."

Turns out, Sanjaya not only cannot sing, he cannot dance. Our psychic sources tell us Fred Astaire (who introduced the song in "Top Hat" back in the '30s) has been turning over in his grave ever since Sanjaya's performance aired.

And yet Sanjaya, who, once you get to know him, really is something of a megalomaniac, shouts back at Simon "Welcome to the Universe of Sanjaya!"

Blake Lewis twirled and caressed himself through "Mack the Knife." And even he admitted to show host Ryan Seacrest he had trouble with the lyrics -- you know, like understanding them. And yet Simon gave him a 7-out-of-10 (though he gave the band 8.)

Phil Stacey sucked the life out of "Night and Day." The best Simon could do with that was "it had all the joy of somebody singing in a funeral parlor." Simon was completely shot down by Phil, who responded that he'd sung the love ballad to his wife in the audience. (Which, by the way, will totally keep Phil out of the bottom three this week.)

Chris Richardson's version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" was fun, but he still has that really annoying thin, nasal voice. Here, Simon went with "believable," "kind if hip" and Chris's " best performance" to date.

Gina Glockson did an impression of a Goth Girl singing Charlie Chaplin's sweet song "Smile" -- a set- up tailor made for a Simon skewering. All he could muster was a comment that her vocals weren't as good as Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks who'd sung before her.

Haley Scarnato was so bad Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, in an "American Idol" first, actually punted, refusing to give comments. They tossed to Simon, who turned and told them it was rude not to critique Haley's performance. Then, remembering he'd been fixed, he told Haley, "I think you've got great legs."

Lakisha Jones, Simon said, was back in form with a "sassy, great performance." Which was true -- but still.

Most tellingly, when Melinda Doolittle sang, Simon wept on her shoulder that "I don't think we're ever going to be able to criticize you," which he said was a big problem.

"Why is it a problem?" Ryan wondered.

"Because we like being mean to people, occasionally," Simon said, sadly, kissing his manhood goodbye.

Editor's note: For more on last night's "American Idol," read Lisa's TV column.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 4, 2007; 8:32 AM ET "American Idol"
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Comments

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First!

Posted by: Fairfax | April 4, 2007 9:07 AM

I didn't get Chris Richardson at all last night. He seemed way to happy for a guy who doesn't get around much anymore.

Posted by: Sunshine State | April 4, 2007 9:41 AM

Still can't stand Timberlake's Monkey. If he'd gain the 50 pounds back and do some gay bear porn, I'd pay attention.

Posted by: Domokun | April 4, 2007 9:56 AM

dial idol has Lakisha in the bottom 2 this week. how tragic. America must REALLY be on something (even though that's already obvious because of Sanjaya's success on the show).

Posted by: dcfan | April 4, 2007 10:25 AM

While Sanjaya is the worst performer of the group, it's not like the rest of the Idols are all that great.

Phil and Haley are downright dreadful, and Lakisha sings the same freaking "diva" song every single week.

At least Sanjaya is entertaining. Here's hoping he sticks around.

Posted by: Justin | April 4, 2007 10:38 AM

Did anyone else notice that both Lakisha and Haley completely ignored Tony Bennett's advice? He told Kiki not to do the run at the end, but she did, and suggested Haley would ruin the meaning of the song if she added 'and you', but she did. Someone like Tony Bennett gives you advice on how to present a song, you listen!

The other odd criticism from the judges was that they suggested a couple of performers made the songs sound "old fashioned." Well, duh - the songs ARE old-fashioned! I love the standards, I'm Harry Connick Jr.'s biggest fan, but seriously, they're a bit out of place in a contest that spawns America's next pop idol.

Posted by: Meg in PA | April 4, 2007 10:42 AM

I think that the problem with Lakisha is that she so desperately wants to trance channel a sultry songstress like Lena Horne or Shirley Bassey - but that's just not her. I also don't think it has to do with her size. Peggy Lee was a big woman - but she oozed it. The more dressed up Lakisha gets (in the evening gowns) the younger she looks to me. And what was that supposed sultry "look" she gave the camera? That look, plus actually singing off key in a dreadful arrangement of a nice song I'd normally like - certainly didn't make her one of my favorites last night. And her habit of continually ignoring the advice of the pros isn't helping her, either.

Posted by: Jean | April 4, 2007 10:49 AM

One more thing. Lakisha? Please, honey, SMILE! Show us some teeth! She's not going to last because she doesn't ooze personality. Girlfriend can sing, but sadly, doesn't have the whole package.

Posted by: Meg in PA | April 4, 2007 10:54 AM

Thank you for noticing that Chris R. has a thin, nasal voice! I'm not the only one!

Posted by: Phillyfilly | April 4, 2007 12:07 PM

Sanjaya has a great voice but weak projection. His notes are pure, he's got a delightful vibratto, and he sings with his heart. Would the coaches please teach him how to project?? Sanjaya is sweet and good, but maybe for this reason, he lacks the ego to belt it out. Someone needs to show him how to PROJECT. Sanjaya all the way. No one else comes close. Melinda, yes, but she's a professional songstress who should not be on the show at all. She's no amateur.

Posted by: mk | April 4, 2007 12:14 PM

OK, I am over LaKisha. Going by only her first name, blatantly ignoring all the mentors' advice? Someone needs to tell her she hasn't actually WON anything yet, and if the dialidol results are any indication, she WON'T be winning anything at all. Heck, even Fantasia realized that once she got out of the Idol sanctuary she wasn't big enough to go by one name, and she actually WAS the American Idol.

And I can't resist a couple Sanjaya comments: First, he's the type of person I would totally love to sucker punch, just because I think it would be fun to watch him whimper. Second, what is with that child's eyebrows?!?!? Does he draw them on each day with charcoal briquettes or something? Maybe after Idol he can get a deal as the new pitchman for Kingsford.

Posted by: Puh-leez | April 4, 2007 12:21 PM

Am I the only one who didn't think Haley was all that bad last night? Certainly not as bad as Chris, Phil, or Sanjaya (of course).

Maybe I was distracted by her shoes.

Posted by: Alone? | April 4, 2007 12:27 PM

No, you're right "Alone", Haley was not all that bad. It was actually one of her best performances. OK, here's a run down on some of the idols.

Blake Lewis: Nice song choice. Mac the Knife is always fun and he did a decent job, especially with some movement on the stage. Oh, and Randy, Mac the Knife is NOT jazz. Try swing, dawg. (And I thought you were a music producer or something.)

Sanjaya: Atrocious as usual. Did anyone else notice how creepy he looks up there? He tilts his head down and gives a sort of leering look. Maybe he thinks it's sexy -- when it's really just creepy.

Haley: One of her best performances. Most importantly, though: she's got legs and cleavage -- and knows how to use them all. She's smokin' hot and is using that to her advantage. Smart move. I love her. Singing abilities are so overrated these days (I mean, if Paris can make a half-decent song, who can't?).

Gina: Not so good for the rocker girl being forced to sing old tunes. She loses her rocker exemption for the week (though hopefully she'll regain it next week) and this could hurt her chances this week except for . . .

Phil Stacey: He combines creepiness with dirge-like boredom. If only we could get rid of him and Sanjaya in one fell swoop.

LaKisha: LaKisha is not attractive and I really don't need to see so much of her cleavage. She doesn't smile (to answer someone else's question) because she has a giant gap in her teeth. Also, she has a serious lisp, which anyone with half an ear can hear in her singing. Finally, does she know how to do anything but belt out her songs? Is the idea of subtlety lost on her? She should be kicked off in a few weeks.

Chris Richardson: So sick of the J.T. lookalike.

Melinda Doolittle: She did her great "Me? You like ME?" look again after Tony Bennett complimented her. Getting tired of it. Also, why doesn't she have a neck?

Jordin Sparks: If there is a God, Jordin should win the whole thing. She's cute AND has a great voice. Can't say enough good about her, although I would like her better if she did rock songs.

Posted by: Ryan | April 4, 2007 12:50 PM

Haley really needs to go! It is just sad when women who are talent-challenged try to use their physical assets to get ahead. But I suppose she would not be able to get away with it if the voters paid more attention to her actual singing ability (or lack thereof) than on her "shoes" and legs. I just wish she would put on some clothes when she performs and quit with the hair extensions.

Posted by: kdinsd | April 4, 2007 12:51 PM

Why hasn't anyone pointed out the obvious about "Sangina": He is still in the competition because of the large voting block of all viewers of East Indian descent, a very formidable population in this country. They have never had one of their own to vote for before. The power of this faction of the voting audience will lose its effect when there are fewer contestants to vote for.

Posted by: realityboy | April 4, 2007 12:52 PM

BLAKE AND JORDAN.... THESE TWO NEED THE CHANCE. I ENJOY THEM. THEY ARE FUN TO WATCH. MELINDA IS TOO PROFESSIONAL AND ALREADY A SUCCESS. SHE SHOULD NOT BE ON THE SHOW. YES, SHE IS A GREAT SINGER.... :o)

Posted by: Larissa | April 4, 2007 12:56 PM

I'm so glad someone else noticed LaKisha was off-key last night! Her low notes were off and kind of nasal-y. Yet the judges continued to give her the tongue bath!

Posted by: RM | April 4, 2007 1:07 PM

Lakisha's sexy look at the end looked like she had a mouth full of pork rinds.

Posted by: Carla | April 4, 2007 1:14 PM

The Indian population in the US is probably less than one percent of the total population, so it's ridiculous to think that's why Sanjaya is staying in. Get a grip.

Posted by: idolfan | April 4, 2007 1:24 PM

Ryan, you are my hero! You took the words outta my mouth about all of 'em. My mother and I have been wondering for weeks where Melinda's neck is and whether we should send out and APB to recover it.

And as for LaKisha, the only way she'll stop showing her cleavage is if one of those things pops out. (Mind you, I can't imagine anyone who wants to see *that.*) And even if Tony hadn't advised her to leave off her little personalization at the end of the song, it was still a stupid add.

Phil has amazing eyes, but the bald thing really doesn't work. Dude, wear a hat. Please.

And Sanjaya? I keep praying that he'll come to his senses and just quit. But no ... he's become much too full of himself to do that. I think he's starting to believe he really should be there.

I miss my snarky Simon...

Posted by: Veronica | April 4, 2007 1:24 PM

Add me to the people who wish that LaKisha would take at least some of the advice that the guests give her. I found it annoying last night that she would choose to ignore Tony Bennett's advice about not ending "Stormy Weather" with a line from "Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone." "Stormy Weather" is a classic torch song. No need to add novelty touches to it. I have liked many of LaKisha's previous performances, but she annoyed me last night because she wouldn't just let the song BE the song and sing it unadorned. Especially when she had been coached to do just that by a very successful, legendary singer who has been in the business for over 50 years, and so might ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT!

Gina's interpretation of "Smile" also annoyed me because it is NOT a happy song and I wish she had not sung it with so many smiles on her face. It's a bittersweet song. Her voice was actually rather nice on it, but her facial expressions were really distracting me from the emotion of the song.

I don't get the judges' lavish praise of Chris R. at all. I thought his performance was quite weak last night.

Posted by: Abigail | April 4, 2007 1:29 PM

P.S. As has been mentioned, Haley also disregarded some of what Tony Bennett suggested for her, as did Phil.

I realize that the Idolettes want to be considered individualists and to sing with their own interpretations -- but I also think there's something to be said for taking the advice you're getting from people like Diana Ross, Lulu and Tony Bennett.

Also, I wish Blake had thought a bit more about the lyrics of "Mack the Knife." He could have still done that swing version, but with a layer of danger. Would've made it more interesting, I think.

Posted by: Abigail | April 4, 2007 1:34 PM

OK, I give up. This blog is called "De Moraes On TV," but every single post on the front page -- 12 of them and I didn't bother seeing how much farther back this goes -- are about American Idol.

I get that the show is popular, but I am not sure Lisa's television gets any other shows. Her obsession with Idol, to the exclusion of almost everything else on TV, is breathtaking.

Posted by: SteveG | April 4, 2007 1:49 PM

There's a problem with all these "stylists": Blake simply ISN'T "dangerous". Now Bobby Darrin WAS dangerous - to young teenage girls - and he was actually a good 10 years or so older than Sandra Dee and seemed very dangerous to "Tammy" indeed.

Lakish just ISN'T "sultry". And for all her short skirts and "you and you and you and you", Haley doesn't come off as much of a tramp. Just a tramp wannabee. Simon was right about one thing - she's just too "pageanty" to take very seriously. But she would be more believable in that role if she were more "former Miss USA".

And as for Sanjaya . . . let's just say that the only girl who could really get him goin', IMHO, would be one who offered to drive him to the beauty parlor. In terms of knowing yourself and perfect song choice, I doubt he can top "I love to wash in your old bathwater." He's just that pervy to me.

Posted by: Jean | April 4, 2007 1:50 PM

I predict SanGina will get a recording deal regardless of how long he avoids the boot.

Posted by: Da Pradicta | April 4, 2007 2:07 PM

Tony Bennett, Mony Schmemmet. He's a great singer with a massive track record. But he's not necessarily in touch with pop culture, like it or not, and he isn't infallible. For everyone criticizing those who chose to do their own thing because the great Tony made a suggestion they didn't follow, why are you hating on Sanjaya? Tony certainly didn't. He said he had a great voice! Haley did well. She sings well, she's sexy and she performs well. Clearly, many believe THAT is the point of AI, not voice quality. Is she Melinda? No, but who are teenage boys going to think about in bed at night? THAT sells records.

Posted by: Chris | April 4, 2007 2:18 PM

I might add that Bennett's critique of Haley's interpretation of Ain't Misbehavin' was hogwarsh. The lyrics are somewhat vague and can CERTAINLY be interpreted in a coquettish fashion as Haley chose to do. You can argue the merits of her adding "and you, and you and you," but it is not incompatible with how she chose to perform it at all. It was cute.

Posted by: Chris | April 4, 2007 2:21 PM

You know who is much much meaner then Simon: those voting who are keeping Sanji in. Do you really think those people would buy an entire CD of his singing and listen to it over and over. It's NOT a singing competition??? Then what will be on their CD...isn't that the POINT of it all ?!?

Posted by: RichieRich | April 4, 2007 2:25 PM

For those fretting about Lakisha, Jordin and whomever else's standing on DialIdol, recognize that they are saying aside from Melinda, ALL the contestants are essentially in the same position. Lakisha is second to last NOT because she's actually second to last, but because she had to go somewhere and everybody's pretty much tied at this point, behind Melinda. I mean c'mon, do you really think Phil is #2? Yikes!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 2:25 PM

"but who are teenage boys going to think about in bed at night?"

Answer: Sanjaya

Posted by: Abu Nahasapemmapetalun | April 4, 2007 2:32 PM

.

Posted by: . | April 4, 2007 2:37 PM

SteveG, Lisa does write about television and American Idol is the undisputed ratings champ. Doing a television column and not mentioning Idol would be like writing a sports magazine and not mentioning whatever team is hot. BTW, her column is full of non-Idol goodness. Read that.

Posted by: well duh | April 4, 2007 2:58 PM

Haley has not an ounce of singing talent. The only thing that is keeping her in the competition are the "shoes."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 3:15 PM

Hmmm...at times I feel that I'm watching another show from some of the people here.

Blake--I've heard many renditions of this song and this was one of the weaker versions. Blake is only a so-so singer and by going slight flat on the top of the range and slightly sharp on the bottom of the range, he managed to shrink the already small range of the song about a step to a step and a half. It made the song somewhat dirge-like and creepy. Mack the Knife turned from a gangster to a creepy Halloween stalker. I think that rendition is likely to end up the theme to Friday the 13th Part XXIV. Definitely far from his best performance.

Phil--despite the advice of Bennett to liven it up and put some soul into the song, it was still soulless. I'd have to say that it wasn't a very good touch to add that he sang it to his wife when the rendition was so devoid of emotion. He managed a little in the high range towards the end, but not enough. It doesn't sound very good to dedicate that to his marriage. Definitely bottom-3 performance for me.

Haley--I think that Haley actually is a good singer, but no more than that. And I think she should be proud of where she's gotten, but at this point, she's out of her league. She's only in it for the "Looks 10, Singing 3" (sorry, bad CHORUS LINE reference here) anymore. The only question left is can she survive another week or two and how much more skin is she willing to show? There isn't very much more that she can show without it being called a costume malfunction (although she might want to invest in some of the costumes on Dancing with the Stars or American Ballroom Challenge). Another Bottom-3 performance for me.

Gina--wow. Although she has a great voice, the last several weeks have really highlighted how limited her range and focus really are. Outside her comfort zone of rocker-babe, she really doesn't know how to read a song or perform a song to sell it. She keeps coming out as vocally solid but so out-of-touch with the music. Again last night, she really had no concept of what the words and the song were about or how to deliver it. And so, the song fell flat. Another bottom-3 for me.

Chris R--definitely my wife's least favorite performer. She cannot stand his nasal quality anytime he passes his break point (between chest and head voices). Fortunately, he kept last night's performance lower and even on the high end managed to tone down most of the nasal pitch. The unfortunate side effect was that it was pitched lower in his range and he lost power and some pitch at the beginning where it was just a little low for him. Not a great singer, but definitely a perfomer for the young. I think there is an age barrier around 30 when you stop appreciating what Chris can sell. My perception is that his salesmanship of his performances is predominantly appreciated by the 20-somethings.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | April 4, 2007 3:15 PM

Hey, idolfan, I wasn't saying the East Indian population (India, Pakistan, etc.) were solely responsible for Sangina's "success", but combined with VotefortheWorst, Howard Stern, and the unexplainable pre-teens, they have helped sway the vote.

Posted by: realityboy | April 4, 2007 3:20 PM

Hey wellduh, I'm not saying she shouldn't write about Idol, I'm saying that 12 entries in a row about nothing but Idol (and probably more if I'd gone past the first page) is entirely too much.

There are dozens of good and interesting shows on TV, and there are a lot of us out here who would like to read and talk about something other than wanna-be pop singers day after day after day.

duh.

Posted by: SteveG | April 4, 2007 4:21 PM

While Melissa and Lakisha obviously have talent, my favorite is Jordin. She has a great voice, great range, talent and a lot of personality. I think Jordin is the whole package. I got Carrie Underwood right (my only one so far), so I'm hoping to see Jordin as the next AI!

Posted by: Milwaukee | April 4, 2007 4:46 PM

Despite Ryan's brand of overblown drooling after Haley, everytime I see her sing, I think of Linda Blair in Exorcist II, although unlike Linda--who could act once upon a childhood--Haley's Mini-Boob and Thigh Show is thin compensation for her lame, off-pitch, warbly, second-rate voice. I hope she gets the boot--and fast. I'd even put up with that no-talent Timberlacking clone one more week to see the annoying phoney-gal Haley take a walk.

...And don't let me get started on how some people's preferences for a certain...shall we say...set of cultural features are causing LaKisha and Melinda's appearances to take a beating on this blog this week....say what you will--home girls can blow!

Oh, and in case Ryan didn't know--lot's of women have boobs and legs. Some have boobs and legs and can actually sing.

Posted by: Coloratura | April 4, 2007 5:44 PM

>I predict SanGina will get a recording deal regardless of how long he avoids the boot.

Da Pradicta - (Heh heh. He said Sangina.) yes perhaps a recording deal, but who'll buy it? NO staying power whatsoever; a flash in the pan is he. Although the judges' reaction to him baffled me last night. Paula - "Thanks for the Dance!" Simon - "Incredible!" Call me naive but I do think that if they would weigh in heavily against him based on his lack of talent, at least some of the voters with integrity would be swayed to vote based on the performance and not the perception.

Steve G - shoo. Shoo shoo shoo! Go read another blog for a while, won't you.

Posted by: Meg in PA | April 4, 2007 6:31 PM

SteveG, I didn't realize your browser only allows you to open this blog. Maybe you should get a new computer.

No one's stopping you from reading or talking about something other than American Idol.

Duh.

Posted by: Gee Steve | April 4, 2007 6:43 PM

Hey realityboy--
Did you pull that mumbo jumbo about "the large voting block of all viewers of East Indian descent, a very formidable population in this country" out of thin air? How do you know this? I haven't seen any PROOF of such a bigoted fabrication or, for that matter, any of the paranoid swirl out there about Howard Stern and vote-for-the-worst keeping Sanjaya afloat on AI.

The reality is: WE are keeping Sanjaya out front on AI--blogging, flogging, making him out to be a bigger deal than he is. So what if the kid wears white suits, plays with his hairstyles, etc., etc, etc? Big deal. If we ignored him, he'd probably go away. As it stands, we've collectively made him too big to contain, so we might as well just shut up and ride this on out.

Posted by: unpreedictable | April 4, 2007 8:29 PM

Hey, coloratura, why the heck are you attacking me? This is a blog about a television show. You need to get over yourself.

By the way, what are "cultural features"?

Oh, and you're quite wrong about the cleavage and nice legs. We're talking about people on AI -- not society at large. And she can sing. Just because she doesn't have Melinda's voice doesn't mean she can't sing at all. Jeez, it's like you don't even understand how comparisons work.

Posted by: Ryan | April 4, 2007 8:56 PM

You know what I'm starting to wonder after watching the results show? How many of the middle of the road singers (Justin Timmberfake to name one) have the hate on for Sanjaya and Haley (Scarnato!) because they are still in this competition for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to sing. Other than Melinda who allegedly has no clue of her talent (!), the rest of them must know that they are better than Sanjaya. I really felt kind of bad for Gina. My husband keeps waiting for someone to have a fit when the ousted are asked to sing, and I thought it was going to happen this week.

Sanjaya is really starting to believe his own press, which is really funny or really frightening, depending on my mood.

Anyone else like Haley better when she was honestly trying to sing and not let her *shoes* do all the talking for her?

Posted by: tyeinmd | April 4, 2007 9:58 PM

To Ryan...swing's not jazz? Wow, guess all those big bands of the 30s were confused about what they were playing.

And Haley stunk pure and simple. She sang a song about giving up wild ways to be with the guy she loves in the character of, what, a trampy chick who actually DIDN'T give up those wild ways, wink wink? It was just weird.

Posted by: jw | April 5, 2007 8:15 AM

Ryan, dear.
"Attacking" you? Wait a minute. I think it's YOU who should get over yourself. In case you didn't realize--it (AI and you) jess ain't important enough in the grand scheme of things to warrant an "attack". I'm so sorry your feelings were so terribly hurt. I must have overreacted, feeling vomitous as I was after reading all that gushing you were doing over Essentially Plain Girl Haley's flapping cleavage and skinny calves. I won't debate with you about whether or not phony Yuk Girl Haley can sing--you're entitled to believe her cleavage-and-legs-surely-means-she-can really sing, too.

Cultural features? Let me spell it out: your post suggests your idea of "beauty" does not include LaKisha or Melinda, but instead the "fairer" types, like Little Linda. How's that? Clear enough for you? I can be more explicit if that will help.

Posted by: coloratura | April 5, 2007 11:42 AM

Who's Little Linda?

Posted by: Ryan | April 5, 2007 12:55 PM

Hey, Ryan. It's my sarcastic name for Haley. Short for Little (young, teenaged) Linda Blair in Exorcist II.

Posted by: Coloratura | April 5, 2007 12:57 PM

Chris is so hot! He will be the next American Idol and if not he will get a contract anyways. His smile, his eyes come on he is soooo sexy!

Posted by: Kathy | April 11, 2007 8:37 PM

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