'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.
Lisa de Moraes
March 18, 2010; 3:22 PM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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