What does breakout star Larry Platt mean for American Idol 9?

“I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit,” Simon Cowell said during last week’s auditions, after Larry Platt sang his own song “Pants on the Ground.” But perhaps a more horrible feeling might be that it’s American Idol 9‘s only hit so far. As the show goes into its third and fourth audition episodes tonight and tomorrow night, there’s little about this season that’s notable except Platt’s made-up song.

The many remixes started appearing overnight, and now the song has inspired surreal moments such as Jimmy Fallon performing it as Neil Young and Brett Favre and his teammates singing it in the locker room after a game on Sunday (if you can call repeating “pants on the ground” multiple times singing).

Platt appeared on The View yesterday, and today, The Daily Beast collects the best and worst covers, including the original, if you haven’t yet seen that.

Breakout viral stars aren’t anything new for the audition rounds–remember William Hung?–but The New York Daily News’ David Hinckley points out that rightnow, “the performances seemed almost like an afterthought” between Platt and all of the off-camera news related to Simon Cowell’s exit,” and says it’ll be a problem “if people are talking about ‘Pants on the Ground’ by General Larry Platt and having trouble remembering the names of any of last year’s five finalists.”

Then again, there is plenty of time–plenty: the show has four months to go–for us to get to know the hopefully actually good singers, so perhaps a focus on something else isn’t such a bad thing right now.

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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.