American Idol Recap: Simon Loses It For Real
Okay. Now Simon's reeally P.O.'ed.
This Sanjaya thing was okay when the goofy man-child was knocking off also-rans like "Legs" Scarnato and that guy with hair like Sideshow Bob.
But now he's in the Top 7. And with actual singers like LaKisha Jones turning in increasingly worse performances (she gets my pick for Jennifer Hudson treatment -- one top contender always gets voted off early, and i'm afraid girlfriend is in the cross hairs if she doesn't pull herself together), there's always the chance Sanjaya could squeak by into the top five -- my prediction -- or worse.
Surely Simon Cowell is seeing his golden goose headed for the chopping block. And with visions of his multi-million dollar ride ending, he let loose with an avalanche of insults he seemed to be saving since the ponyhawk episode.
"Oh shut up Ryan," he exploded, going after unctuous host Seacrest after a typically lackluster Sanjaya performance -- this time, a bland cover of Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About (odd to hear a rendition of a blues singer's pop hit during country week, but OK). "It was as bad as anything we've seen at the beginning of American Idol...It was hideous." For another hideous moment, see my pal Sean Daly's blog about Cowell's most unfortunate eye roll.
True enough, Sanjaya's overturned the gossamer-thin pretension that Idol is a singing contest, prompting producers to promise in the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly that he will not win (isn't that odd, to have people who are putting on a contest promise that one of the contenders won't win BEFORE the contest has ended? Maybe instead of a vocal coach, Sanjaya needs a good attorney).
What does seem obvious, is that ratings would be tanking ever harder if Sanjaya wasn't providing some buzz. Country night was a another dud, with star coach Martina McBride coming off so blandly that its no surprise image-challenged Phil Stacey finally found his groove here; his strong showing may even keep him out of the bottom three, where LaKisha, faux-Timberlake Chris Richardson and, with any luck, Sanjaya are headed.
Imus the Second Most-Covered Story of the Year
It certainly felt like it to me, at the center of the storm, but the Project for Excellence in Journalism has confirmed that Don Imus' swift career destruction was the second most-covered story of the year, beating out the Duke rape case, the battle over immigration, and yes, even Anna Nicole Smith (the debate over the troop surge in Iraq was tops).
I'm still doing interviews on the subject, even. I'm supposed to appear on Bubba the Love Sponge's Sirius satellite radio show today to discuss Imus and more (there's rumors he may have used the n-word in private!). This time, I get to visit his Tampa studio, which is outfitted with a camera system, an array of sexual aids and a stripper pole. Yee-ha.
Back to Imus: Who knew one of radio's biggest bigots could produce such a far-rreaching discussion on race? One of the best products of this roiling dialogue has been Oprah Winfrey's two-day examination of hip hop culture, After Imus: What's Next?.
Like most big media outlets, Oprah preferred to ignore the debate raging in the black community over these issues until Imus made it a juicy viewer magnet. Still, her shows allowed average black women to express their pain over the misogynistic tone of rap music to those who make it, in much the same way average black folks could protest the institutionalized racism of Imus' show.
Best of all, this debate happened in a forum where white folks could see it go down. So now they know what some of us have known for years -- that some black people have been trying to curb the excesses of gangsta rap for more than ten years.