Simon Cowell tells Ryan Seacrest to “lose the beard,” Paula gets booed on crazy Idol

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that, as American Idol‘s ratings have increased, so has the judges’ apathy. Paula’s crazy behavior didn’t exactly prove that, but last night, it became clear that the judges and host are treating the whole show like a joke. And with dreams are on the line–what nerve!

Among other things, last night saw the reemergence of Ryan and Simon’s playful gay banter, and Ryan basically said that the judges were drunk. And even more shockingly, Paula was actually booed. Here’s a rundown of the craziness:

  • Coming back from a break, Ryan Seacrest wandered the audience, and off-camera, Paula yelled, “I love you, Ryan!” When Ryan walked over to the judges’ table, she turned away and said, “I do not.” Then the show’s executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, who was sitting in the audience for some reason, said, “I love you, Ryan,” and then moved his hand in such a way that he appeared to grab Ryan’s ass. “Are we on the air right now?” Ryan asked. “What are you guys sipping tonight? What’s in the cups?”
  • During his chat with Mandisa, Ryan told Simon Cowell, “And if you read the dictionary, you’d know what ‘constructive’ means.” Simon replied, “Ryan, with respect, I’m not the one trying to look like someone out of ‘Desperate Housewives.’ Lose the beard.” Even though Ryan was sporting some facial hair, the joke didn’t make much sense, until you realize that Ryan was photographed ‘kissing’ Teri Hatcher last week and “beard” has a second meaning.
  • A few minutes later, Ryan accused the judges of being trashed. “For sure, someone at that table has a flask, I know it,” he said.
  • While Randy Jackson talked about Elliot’s performance and said that he’d produced the original version of the Garth Brooks song, Paula made loud snoring noises and pretended to sleep with her head on Ryan’s shoulder, which made Simon giggle.
  • The audience was acting just as weird as the regular cast, actually booing Paula Abdul–yes, they booed Paula–and then cheering Simon Cowell. Paula buried some criticism into her praise of Paris, saying, “I felt like it was kind of a struggle for you to find that place where you own the stage like you always do week after week,” and the audience ripped into her. When Simon disagreed with Paula, the audience clapped wildly for him. “It is a night of firsts here. Randy dresses cupid, Paula gets booed for the first time, Simon shows his jealousy,” Ryan said. Apparently, Ryan thinks Simon is jealous of his beard.
  • After Ace was judged, Ryan said, “Ace, ladies and gentlemen. And ladies, you should know he is officially single, FYI.” Then Ryan shook his hand and said “Good luck, Ace. Thank you very much, brother. Good to see you, man.” Single? Good to see you? What?
  • Whoopi Goldberg and Chris Rock were in the audience, but we didn’t see them until three-quarters of the way through the show, and their names didn’t appear on the screen. But Rachel Bilson’s did when the camera hovered on her for a few moments near the beginning of the episode, probably a desperate FOX reminder that the The OC, despite sucking this season, is still on the air.
  • While Simon critiqued Chris, Paula slammed her head into the table and sat up only to say, “You have no idea how he double doubletalks all through the performance. Ugh!” Paula Abdul accusing someone of doubletalk is almost as ironic as Simon Cowell being accused of being disingenuous.
  • Ryan Seacrest couldn’t let the show ending without bitch-slapping Simon Cowell one more time. “Remember, Simon, you’re here to judge the singing, not the songs, with all due respect,” he said. Since when is American Idol about singing? Crazy!

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.