Bias, it's not just political, ya know. Did you see the gleeful headline – "American Idol" debut audience slides? To 30 MILLION! You and I should have such a slide! But in fact, it's nothing of the sort. It's merely 10 percent off its average.
The article goes on to say that it's the lowest opening since 2004, and there was no mention as to whether there was a lower opening than that. So as far as slips go, this was a blip. Besides, the ratings show that Idol's audience was a mere thirty percent bigger than the next biggest show's opening this year. It seems that media hunting season never ends on anything named Fox, but that's just my impression.
So on with the show…
It seemed more low key than in previous years. Though Simon held up his end, the other three, including the newcomer, Something La Guardia, didn't offer much, and during the breaks, there must have been a team working to keep Paula conscious.
Nevertheless, it was still fun, and "Bikini Girl," was such a highlight, that (very appropriately) she was featured on the Phoenix local news afterward. And the girl could sing! Well, a little bit, anyway. Though the women judges tried to "Palin" her, Simon and Randy were having none of it – especially Simon. He'd have voted her through if she'd gargled her audition… as would have I.
27 would-be idols got to go on to Hollywood, and some could actually sing, though I didn't feel there were any standouts. Overall, the two-hour opening was enjoyable if relatively uneventful, in other words, typically Phoenix, but I say that lovingly. I mean, hey, winter's over here, its 70 today! And tomorrow! They should rename this Oz.
Now about the new judge whose name isn't really the same as the mayor/airport, it's Something DioGuardi, and I thought she was OK, although "colorful," as I'd hoped, would be out of the question. But I felt that as long as she didn't come off as an obnoxious jerk (which no one in history does better than Simon), she'd be fine for now. Linda Stasi, of the New York Post, with whom I have a love-hate relationship (I love her, she hates me) saw things differently, however…
I just wish I saw in her what her new fiancé sees, but DioGuardi just didn't add much to the mix with comments that ranged from "Honey, I've never seen anything like that, and not in a good way," to "You're like a sensitive roughneck."
When the exhibitionist contestant showed up to sing in a bikini the size of three M&Ms, DioGuardi prefaced her criticism by saying she wasn't picking on her because she was so beautiful. Huh? How about: "You should work on your voice as hard as you work on your bikini wax. Now get lost."
That would have made the night and DioGuardi a bit more memorable.
So I thought I'd give Linda just what she needed – my two cents in email form…
The girl's just getting' started. No she didn't have any memorable lines, but compared to the drug-dazed Abdul, she was a beacon. Run your column again at season's end – if it holds up. But maybe Paula will be dead by then and all this will be moot?!?
Warmest as always,
To which Ms. Stasi was kind enough to respond, and which I present here unedited…
she lacks a sense of humor so far and if calling someone a bitch is what we've come to in place of a good come back, well, then i won't be around til the end of the season.
Now, you know I'm nothing if not sensitive and the picture of decorum. Had I heard an Idol judge call someone a name like that, it would sour me on her forever, so I don't know if it's fortunate or not that I didn't, and I sent the following reply to Linda…
I missed that remark, and had I heard it, I assure you that you wouldn't have heard from me. Thanks for pointing it out, I'll pay closer attention. Lovely to hear from you as always, even if I don't yet merit caps.
So let this be a lesson to all of you, especially those who aspire to admonish legitimate columnists – have all the facts before you do. Linda may not always be right, but she's always been great, and even better, she responds to fools who disrupt her otherwise pleasant day.
Which makes my missing "The Remark" all worthwhile!
As for Idol, it's on tonight from Kansas City. Here I come. And I'll be watching Dio Mio like a… Stasi, because Linda probably won't be. I mean, it's a dirty job, but after all, the audience is slipping, so someone has to do it.
Edit: It turns out that Linda's day has not been so pleasant after all – in a later email, she informs that she's deathly ill with the flu. She advises that's the only reason she responded. I don't know quite how to take that, but here's hoping any future emails I may send find her in a similar state?
No, I didn't say that, I wished her a speedy recovery even if it's in my best interest that she stays sick. Because, you know, I'm that kind of guy…