Idol guys’ boring performances lead Ryan to discuss their hair, weight, eyes–and hug it out

Another Tuesday, another lackluster evening of performances from the remaining American Idol 6 men. At the conclusion of the show, the judges said that, of the eight remaining men, only half deserve to make it to the finals, although six will. (Because he always has to have the last word, Simon said 3.5 of them deserve to make it.)

The judges’ mostly flat reactions–they seemed only to be intrigued by Blake after his beatboxing performance of a 311 song–left the judges and Ryan Seacrest with little to talk about. So, Ryan Seacrest turned to subjects he knows well.

Sanjaya debuted a new hairstyle this week, his third in three weeks, prompting Simon to say, “Maybe it’s your hair that’s keeping you in; I don’t know.” Then Ryan jumped in and responded to Simon’s suggestion that Sanjaya’s hair looked like Paula’s: “Paula, clearly, anybody with an eye for hair knows that these are very different styles. I think one of the two has extensions, I’m not sure which one.” For some reason, that destroyed the judges and Seacrest himself, who were all doubled over with laughter while Sanjaya and his new hair stood there awkwardly.

Later, Chris Richardson revealed in his interview clip that he’d once weighed about 40 pounds more than he does now. Instead of saying anything about his singing, Ryan asked him, “How’d you lose the weight?” Chris said, “Uh, just ate healthier,” as Simon Cowell jumped in: “Ryan, careful, just stick to the singing. Leave him alone. Let’s leave the poor boy alone, let’s stick to the singing. Please, please, please, please.” Ryan asked, “Why? People are concerned with their weight at home,” and added, quite hysterically, “Let the old man judge, let the young man interview.”

After Phil performed, there was another weird Ryan/Simon exchange that suggested they’re amusing themselves to pass the time. Ryan asked Phil, “If you make it, will you squint next week?” He said, “You know, I’ll surprise you Ryan. I’ll let that be a surprise.” Simon said something incomprehensible, and Ryan replied, “Listen, you’re using ‘cutesy,’ gazing into his eyes, show’s almost over.”

After Chris performed and Ryan gave out his phone number, Chris said, “You’ve gotta give me a hug, dog, you give everybody else a hug. What’s going on?”
Ryan said, “Chris, please,” and then gave him an awkward guy hug. More awkward, however, was what he said immediately afterwards about Simon’s response to that hug: “He gets excited.”

But none of these conversations revealed more about Ryan than his chat with Brandon. After Brandon performed and Ryan asked him something about how much he wanted to stay, Ryan said, “You would do anything, right? Almost anything. It’s Hollywood, man.”

And now we know how Ryan Seacrest became host of American Idol.

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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.