Tony Bennett is “a big fan of” Sanjaya; Kelly Clarkson, Harry Potter will appear on Idol

It’s sad to watch a legend deteriorating before your eyes, but that’s what we saw when when Tony Bennett appeared on American Idol 6 last night. That became very clear when he met Sanjaya Malakar.

“Pleasure to meet you; I’m a big fan of yours,” Tony Bennett said, clearly senile. “[Sanjaya] has a sense of humor, he sings very well,” Bennett said later, clearly deaf. So very sad.

The judges totally gave up. “I can’t even comment on the vocals anymore or whatever,” Randy said, telling Paula that “he’s an entertainer now.” Simon went the other direction. “Let’s try a different tactic this week: Incredible,” he said. Sanjaya replied, “Thank you,” but his mic was off, perhaps just in case he felt the need to sing again.

Meanwhile, the other contestants didn’t suck as much as usual, and Jordin and Chris, in particular, were praised for their improvement. But not all was well. “I think you’ve got great legs,” Simon told Haley, avoiding commenting on her actual performance.

Ryan Seacrest had news about the charity show. Season one winner Kelly Clarkson and actor Daniel Radcliffe, best known as Harry Potter, will both appear; perhaps Racliffe will perform a scene from Equus. The expanded lineup means the show will add a second venue to host live performances, and there’s where Kelly will be. In other words, they’re not letting her back into the show’s studio, perhaps because if we saw her standing next to these finalists we’d start voting for her instead.

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.