American Idol leaves its pants on the ground with “cheap dramatization”

All together now: “Pants on the ground/Pants on the ground/Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground.”

Yes, the final auditioner on last night’s episode of American Idol 9, 63-year-old Larry Platt stole the show with his insanely catchy song, and made a great case for The X Factor‘s lack of an age limit as he created this season’s first viral hit (see the remix below).

He fit right in with the Atlanta auditions’ parade of oddly good oddballs–many of whom made it through to Hollywood, some because the judges apparently need cannon fodder. A girl dressed like a guitar got sent through to Hollywood, getting everyone’s votes except Mary J Blige, who said, “I don’t get it.” Skii Bo Ski also made it through, despite Randy telling him to shut up and say, rhetorically, “What is all this nonsense?”

“Pants on the ground” Larry offered a feel-good moment to a 90-minute episode that needed a solid finish, primarily because it took an admitted “cheap” shot that made the show look like a bully.

The biggest and stupidest misstep was the show’s “cheap dramatization” of Jesse Hamilton’s near-death experiences. I guess the producers decided he was just southern and stupid rather than challenged physically or mentally–or they just didn’t care!–so they decided to mock him. I’m all for mocking those who deserve it (duh), but this wasn’t even funny, and when the Mary J Blige cracked up and Kara said, “Mary’s feeling your pain and your loss and everything,” it just felt mean.

Even Jordin Sparks had enough, writing on Twitter, “Jesse Hamilton. Bless his heart. Those cheap dramatizations weren’t funny.”

But at least that was the exception. Mostly, the parade of people with no self-awareness was mostly entertaining. Let’s not forget Lamar Royal, who promised he would take the judges’ criticism, and was psyched to see Mary J Blige, because he was a big fan. But he was soon saying, “Fuck all of you. Fuck the whole damn American Idol show, fuck Mary J. Blige” and “I wish Paula was here.”

And the target of his affections wasn’t amused, ducking behind the desk as security surrounded him and escorted him out, even as he kept trying to sing. “I didn’t know if he was going to pull out a gun or what,” Mary J Blige said. “I was trying to get my duck ready.”

Hmm, that sounds like it could be the second chorus to Larry’s “Pants on the Ground.” Anyway, here’s a great remix of it:

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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.