Top 12 men fail to impress the judges

In the first real performance episode of American Idol 6, the 12 male semi-finalists performed, and the judges were underwhelmed and disappointed by nearly every one. The contestants seemed nervous and most didn’t really follow through with the same kind of vocals and performances they did during the auditions.

“It was really, really boring,” Randy told Nick. “I don’t think you nailed it, it was okay,” Simon told Phil, later telling Sundance, “I don’t like you tonight.” The judges liked some of the performances, but they didn’t appear to be blown away by anyone.

Despite the flat performances, there was some drama. It wouldn’t be American Idol without a few servings of homophobia from Ryan Seacrest, and during a chat with the men, he asked Chris Sligh about what was happening behind the scenes. Trying to be funny, Chris said that the night was “all about all these guys looking pretty,” and then he started noting which guys were “pretty.” Seacrest told him, “All right, I’m glad you’re on that couch.” Yes, the president of pretty boys, Ryan Seacrest, was threatened by someone calling men pretty.

Later, arguing with the judges after Chris’ performance, and apparently convinced that he’s the star of the show, Seacrest said twice, “Don’t call me sweetheart.” Then, talking over Simon, he said, “We don’t have that kind of relationship; I don’t want that kind of relationship. We’ll just work together, that’s fine with me. That okay with you? I think it’s a good plan.” Stop protesting so much, Ryan.

As to Paula Abdul, she was actually quite sedate (I’d use the word “normal,” but I’m not sure that applies here). Her oddest moment came after the Simon criticized Sundance for the way he moved his arms, and Ryan Seacrest said, “What would you differently with your arms? There’s so many choices. Paula, what would you recommend? Maybe a chest rub? A little self-massage there?” At that point, Paula began excitedly rubbing the top of her breasts.

“It’s going to be a long year,” Seacrest said.

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Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.