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'Idol' suffers historic ratings low after Seacrest spoils it

[This blog entry has been updated]

After "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest spoiled the outcome of Wednesday night's results show for millions of west-coast viewers when he tweeted the outcome right after its east-coast broadcast, the episode suffered the smallest audience among 18-49 year-olds for a regularly scheduled in-season episode in "Idol" history.

We're guessing Seabiscuit is in a mess o' trouble the next morning.

"Packed radio show tomorrow...got tonight's voted-off idol lacey brown," Seabiscuit tweeted to his 3 million Twitter followers, before the show aired on the West Coast.

Some of his followers seemed most seriously displeased:

"Thanks for ruining the surprise for the west coast," responded one, dripping sarcasm.

"OMG I can't believe u spoiled it for us west coasters. Shame on u!" chimed in yet another.

And, this, most horrifying for Fox suits, tweet:

"Thanks a lot! Now I have no intention on watching it! Way to ruin it for the west coast. "

While Wednesday's "Idol" was still the most watched show of the night - the only show on any network, in fact, with an audience that cracked double-digit millions - it was the franchise's least watched regularly-scheduled in-season episode ever among the younger viewers that Fox sells to the show's advertisers.

Thursday morning, on that radio show he was so hellbent on promoting that he was willing to nuke the Fox reality series that made him famous, Seabiscuit did not apologize to either the network or his Twitter minions for ruining Wednesday night's "Idol." Also no apology to Lacey Brown, who got her very last chance to sing before a national audience Seabiscuit may have diminished.

We called Fox for comment about his show-nuking stunt. They haven't gotten back to us with their official response yet.

But Seabiscuit's twitter is only in keeping with a pattern we've noticed this season on the singing competition, which is the country's most watched series and the tentpole of Fox's ratings success.

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Seabiscuit has been undergoing a transformation this season on the show, from innocuous Nice Guy to Raging Bull. It appears he's trying to appropriate all the publicity about the show by making sure he creates all the news.

His tweet happened only shortly after outgoing judge Simon Cowell had smacked him down spectacularly on Wednesday's show. That was in response to a stunning on-air confrontation Seabiscuit ginned up during Tuesday night's live performance episode.

That night, Simon gave his usual performance pointers to Idolette Mike Lynche. It was nothing out of the ordinary and, as usual, spot on. Simon said Lynche's vocals were good but called his dancing during the performance both "corny" and bordering on "desperate."

Up on stage with Lynche, Seabiscuit then asked Simon exactly what about the dancing was desperate. Simon asked Seabiscuit if he wanted Simon to speak to him or to the contestant. Then, to everyone's surprise, Seabiscuit unbuttoned his bespoke suit jacket dramatically and stormed off the stage and up to the judges' desk, got all up in Simon's face and sneered, "I actually was trying to help him out a little, buddy - you alright with that?" while the show's other judges looked on, stunned.

Simon immediately pushed back his chair about a yard, put his hands up at face level and said, "This is getting very uncomfortable. Please go back on stage!" Once he'd recovered a bit, Simon added one of the non-funny, vaguely homophobic cracks for which he has become famous: "We can sort this out in my trailer afterward if that's what you want to do."

So at the start of Wednesday's show, when Seabiscuit strolled over behind Simon's chair, Simon said, "Do you want to get the eyeballing out of the way?"

"What's wrong?" Seabiscuit faux-wondered.

"Your aggressive behavior last night," Simon snapped.

"I just thought that, um, you needed to be a little more constructive with him," Seabiscuit offered, weakly.

"Do you want my job?" wondered Simon -- speaking for us all.

"No, I'm comfortable with mine," Seabiscuit said, but without conviction.

"Good, because it felt like an audition," Simon snarked, adding, "Can we agree we don't cross the line? The eyeballing, the aggressive behavior?"

"No, I loved it -- stop staring at me," Seabiscuit said, trying for a joke and missing by about a mile.

"We're friends, right?" Simon said a minute later.

"Of course?" Seabiscuit said tentatively, sensing a trick question.

"Just don't ever do that again," Simon snarled

While Seabiscuit did not apologize for ruining Wednesday's "Idol" for his west-coast fans the next morning on his nationally syndicated radio show, he did talk about the uncomfortable-making confrontation he'd concocted on Tuesday night's show.

In the mistaken belief we were born yesterday, he explained that he had gotten into Simon's personal space because "at times it's hard to hear" what the judges are saying from the stage.

Also, he added, "there was a little smugness to the way [Simon] was talking." File that under Let Me Know When Simon Isn't Smug -- That Would Be News.

"So I walked down and looked him in the eye, and, you know, I saw his Botox up close. But just for the record, it's all part of the show," he blathered on.

"We went to dinner last night."

"And I paid," added Mr. Hyde.



By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 18, 2010; 3:22 PM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Keep your shirt on; 'American Idol' sends Lacey home
Next: Miley Cyrus this week's mentor on "American Idol"

Comments

Seabiscuit -- Is Seacrest being compared to a racehorse or has spell check gone rogue?

Posted by: Curiouser1 | March 18, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, this whole program has so jumped the shark. The confrontations - whether real or as staged as professional wrestling - are not entertaining; they are uncomfortable.

And maybe nobody would have watched anyway because (a) we don't really care about any of the potential voting-offer and (b) the voting off programs are so boooooring - or downright awful - such as the opportunity to sing that losing song just one more time in case any of us missed its original horribleness.

Desperate? So-called "singing for your life" - when your departure is a foregone conclusion - is really the epitome of desperate. That a program puts the contestants in such a faked and awkward position in an attempt to garner viewers is reason alone for viewers to switch the channel.

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 18, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I really like Ryan Seacrest but I sure don't like his act this season!

Posted by: MrsKirby | March 18, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The whole season has stunk. I gave up during "Hollywood" week and haven't watched since. The judges are horrible and the whole thing feels tired and over-the-hill. Put the dawg down.

Posted by: GenuineRisk | March 18, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What is with calling this guy Seabiscuit? Who cares about Idol when you have a crazy women writing for the post calling other people names, apparently for no reason at all. I wonder how she would like it if people called her a female dog? B!tch. Grow up!

The WP has gone to the dumps ...

Posted by: nimes1 | March 18, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Stop insulting the real Seabiscuit. Seacrest is mere hay feed in comparison.

Posted by: wpost4112 | March 18, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Where is the selection for neither one?

Posted by: ozpunk | March 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

It's as if people think TV is real. Pathetic.

Posted by: fatman985 | March 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

It is all staged, for crying out loud. It's all an act.

And the author of this blog needs to learn how to spell. It is spelled "all right," not "alright." And you don't get "all up in someone's face." You get "in someone's face."

Posted by: retabroad | March 18, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Lots of people on this thread are not familiar with Lisa's blogs and/or didn't take their happy pills this morning.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 18, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

retabroad: 'First time I've read Lisa De Moraes, but it seems to me she peppers her style deliberately, not mistakenly, with urban (and I don't mean Keith) sophistication. That's why "alright" and "ALL UP in someone's face" and "mess o' trouble" are fine. 'Just how she rolls... :)

Posted by: earlyburd | March 18, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

According to Merriam-Webster, "alright" is an accepted usage "in common use especially in journalistic and business publications". And "all up in someone's face" is no less acceptable than "hug someone's neck" meaning simply "hug someone". Language need not be colorless and devoid of regionalisms/colloquiallisms...particularly in a blog, for crying out loud.

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | March 19, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Seacrest doesn't have the testicular fortitude to be a raging bull-- or a race horse, for that matter. He needs to quit trying to steal the show and cash his happy little paycheck.

RS's stunt didn't help, but I think the ratings are down because at least half of these contestants shouldn't even be in the top 12. Weak crop this year with only a couple of gems.

Posted by: inkydog | March 19, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"RS's stunt didn't help, but I think the ratings are down because at least half of these contestants shouldn't even be in the top 12. Weak crop this year with only a couple of gems." -- inkydog

I agree with you completely, inkydog. This year's weak crop should be an embarrassment to its creator Simon Cowell and producer Nigel Lithgoe, and if the ratings stay low, it should be enough to snap them out of their past seasons' arrogance to do the right thing.

Here's what else I think: when the March 11th elimination show smashed the hopes of four of the BEST contestants in favor of four of the WORST, it was way beyond obvious that something was very wrong. Shots have been fired at the crass votefortheworst.com, which claims victory in getting less than stellar crooners Paige and Tim in the top -- just to mess with AI! There were also busy signals, bad weather power downs and other mysteries that prevented some votes from getting through...

A petition at change.org to reinstate Alex Lambert, arguably the best of the four booted on the 11th,if not the whole crop, is still going strong after ten days, drawing in, to date, over 17,900 signatures while generating national attention and disgruntled rumblings among thousands of fans. Add to that Alex's revelation recently that his song choice for his last performance was bad-mouthed by an AI producer, who suggested he sing an older song instead. Alex took the suggestion and got the boot, but was that producer's advice sabotage? And was the rumor that AI wants a female winner this year the incentive for it? Is AI in cahoots with votefortheworst to control their choice for winner?

AI's not looking good. Check out Alex Lambert vs. The Hungry Gorilla: http://bit.ly/alex-gorilla.

Maybe the stress of nefarious goings on got to Ryan's sensibilities and he's acting out his frustration: weird tweets and confrontational stare-downs with Simon... What's next?

Posted by: earlyburd | March 21, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: rritkonlyyou | March 22, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: rritkonlyyou | March 22, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

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