Simon Cowell tells Ryan Seacrest to “come out” of the closet

With a string of mostly sucky, boring performances and two hours to fill, American Idol returned to its familiar performance show formula: booing of any negative comment from the mindless audience, tears from Paula Abdul, and Ryan and Simon once again accusing each other of being gay.

Before Melinda performed, she told Ryan that her shoes were uncomfortable, and Ryan said, “Simon, any advice on the high heels?” That began yet another Accusations of Gayness Are So Funny! exchange between the two. “You should know, Ryan,” Simon said. “Stay out of my closet,” Ryan replied. “Come out,” Simon said, prompting Ryan to insist, “This is about the top 12, not your wishes.”

The contestant didn’t know what to do during all of this. “Oh my gosh,” Melinda said, her hands covering her face. Ryan and Simon chuckled hysterically. “We’re friends,” Ryan said.

After a break, Ryan introduced the next contestant from the judges’ table, and while he talked, Simon moved an object from Ryan’s shoulder to his front pocket, saying, “Lip gloss. Put it in your pocket. Carry on.”

Meanwhile, after Melinda performed, Paula burst into tears and babbled about how lovely she was, although to her credit, she only did this once. There were also tears from the performers. After Haley’s performance was eviscerated by Randy and Paula, and then Simon said, “I didn’t think it was that bad. I think you had real presence up there,” and she burst into tears. Quite the season when contestants cry because they don’t suck as much as they could.

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.