American Idol: How come nobody ever knows when they suck? (update)

American Idol is back in full force, and the best of the worst are paraded out and ridiculed for your gawking pleasure. The clueless, attention-seekers, and people who are a little bit touched wait days for the priviledge of being mocked by Simon and slurred at with pity by Paula. Randy usually waits to hear what Paula or Simon says and then repeats it, as if he’s playing the children’s game of the same name but doesn’t quite get the rules.

Judges are under fire for being exceptionally cruel to bad contestants this year. Simon called one kid who was a little slow a “bush baby,” saying “you look like one of those creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes.” The kid handled it really well, staying positive and telling Simon “that’s your opinion, you’re entitled to it.” The NY Times notes that the guy the fat guy, not this guy is mentally handicapped, because his old school biography lists him as participating in the Special Olympics.

Producers say people know what they’re in for because they pull this shit every season, and the viewers love it. Simon sort-of apologized in a later statement, saying “.. If he’s offended, then I apologize. I might never call anyone a bush baby again.”

Here’s another audition by a Utah computer programmer who takes himself too seriously:

My favorite comment on this video on YouTube was by akaso405, who said “How come nobody ever knows when they suck balls???”

Rosie O’Donnell added her enlightened commentary to the American Idol controversy, (link leads to video) saying “Isn’t that what America thinks is entertainment? To make fun of someone’s physical apperance, and when they leave the room, laugh hysterically at them? Three millionaires, one probably intoxicated?”

“Ever since they started making fun of that guy… William Hung… If you keep serving people crap and telling them that it’s a meal, they’re eventually going to think that it’s a meal.”

She has a point that it’s cruel. Joy Behar said “This is like the new freak show… there’s an appetite for this.” Rosie said that if they put on good singers and showed all the contestants who almost made it that people would watch it too. Maybe they’re aren’t enough decent singers that don’t get picked in the first round, though.

While they shouldn’t make fun of the way people look, it seems well within their rights to make fun of the way they sing, since it’s a singing contest and all. There is such a thing as junk food entertainment. We proudly serve it, and think it’s a metaphor Rosie should be able to understand.

Viewers are eating it up. This season’s premiere was the most-watched show on Fox in six years, with over 37 million people tuning in.

Header picture from ONTD

Update: thanks to everyone who pointed out that it was the fat guy, not this bush baby guy, who is listed as mentally handicapped on his school bio.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

15 Responses to “American Idol: How come nobody ever knows when they suck? (update)”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Viv says:

    That’s pretty messed up of Simon.

  2. pinknblack says:

    Such a horrible, horrible, full-of-himself man. Awful. I’m ashamed to share a nationality with him.

  3. KIM says:

    I can’t tolerate the show at all- and the auditions are so fake. I find it pretty sad that they take people in for these auditions knowing that viewers get their kicks off of watching them torn to shreds by three people that really are untalented themsleves. I never understood why people thought it was entertainment to laugh at mentally handicapped people or fat people. What kind of message are we sending to kids when they watch this show and hear these rude comments being said to people and it’s supposed to be okay and entertaining? I am not a Rosie lover but you know I can really see the point she is making.

  4. Toubrouk says:

    First, I don’t watch the show. I got my share of reality-tv stuff so I don’t watch.

    As far as your bleeding hearts goes, let’s all remember that simon is the $h!t-talker here. Do people listen to Rosie O’Donnell because she’s spiritualy inclined or because she’s a forked tongue?

    If you go to an “American Idol” audition, you can assume that Simon will trash-talk you. If you can’t take it, why are you there in the first place?

  5. lAN says:

    That guy did look like a bush baby, ha ha ha!

  6. KIM says:

    Toubrouk- I understand that some contestants that want to audition are well aware that they are going to be ripped to shreds, but in the article it was said that the man was mentally handicapped- maybe he lacked the understanding to not audition because he would be ridiculed. That is my point- it didn’t matter that Rosie said anything- I believe it’s tasteless and that it is sad it’s entertainment to some people.

  7. gg says:

    Another point I’d like to make is I am sick of hearing kids say, “ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be famous.” Not, a doctor or indian chief, etc., just “famous”, which means you have to get on one of these shows, which is encouraging participation and copying of these types of shows.

  8. Gigohead says:

    Here’s my two cents.

    I didn’t find Simon demeaning — in fact, for the long hours I’m surprised he didn’t pull out a knives on these bozos. I feel kids like Mr. Bush Baby and the fat ugly kid and the rest of the circus are there to be time wasters and looking for the William Hung noterity.

    Passes are given to first come first serve. If these Gong Show rejects are taking up space, then that means good slots are being wasted. That’s my feeling.

    Two of the losers were on the Today Show crying over Simon yet these two bozos now have “agents”.

    Give me a break!!

    Where is John Stossell in all of this. We need him to break open a can of whoop ass on these people.

  9. MaiGirl says:

    “The clueless, attention-seekers, and people who are a little bit touched wait days for the priviledge of being mocked by Simon and slurred at with pity by Paula. Randy usually waits to hear what Paula or Simon says and then repeats it, as if he’s playing the children’s game of the same name but doesn’t quite get the rules.”

    That is too funny, and true! I can’t tolerate this show anymore, because it has gotten so calculated. Either way, in on the game or abused by it, it’s pathetic.

  10. Fabiola says:

    It’s the fat guy who is mentally handicapped, not the bush baby. And they were both on the Today Show this morning milking the situation for all it’s worth. They both have agents. What’s a little humiliation if you can be on TV?

  11. Keri says:

    Too many people think they’re talented when they aren’t. At all. And if you audition for AI, you KNOW that Simon will rip you to shreds if he thinks that you deserve it. And really — Simon doesn’t mock the people who really CAN sing, just the ones who suck! They get what they deserve.

    And maybe, for some people, it’s even helpful. Perhaps Simon’s brutal honesty will shock those no-talents into abandoning their delusional dreams of a career in singing, freeing them to get on with their lives and look for something practical and useful to do, like nursing.

  12. Bitch Please says:

    It ruins the mood when we realize we’re laughing at someone with some sort of handicap. For that reason, the producers should be less lazy and screen these folks for such traits. They should also try to get rid of the phony auditions. When we know it isn’t real, it’s not that funny.

  13. Caz says:

    I agree with Keri and Bitch Please. I think the majority of the contestants on AI are a bunch of losers who deserve to be brought down a few notches as they have no taste, no talent for music or fashion and would seem to be clueless as to what goes on in the rest of the world. America is their world. However, I agree that screening would be a good idea to ensure that people with real disabilities are not subjected to ridicule.

  14. kailie2 says:

    I found this thing so painful I couldn’t watch it at all, I even made my son change the channel though he was eager to see the “freaks”.. I don’t want him to think this is entertainment. Sure, it’s unbelievable that people don’t have any idea how bad they are and I’m very annoyed at all those kids who just want to be famous but I still don’t think it’s right to make it into a freak show. Those two guys were just too pathetic for words. I’m afraid that it’s mostly a product of the way kids are brought up… everyone is “special” and whatever they do, you’re supposed to say they’re fantastic, no criticism allowed since it’s not good for self-esteem. Many grow up without a realistic idea of what they can or can’t do. American Idol producers seek out those losers for entertainment value–how come nobody noticed that the bigger guy seemed slow?

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t know why more people don’t write about American Idol’s dirty secret: the auditions are completely fake. I went to the auditions to cheer a friend on, and there weren’t any “famous” judges, just some shmucks wearing shirts who give about every 1/30 people a “golden ticket” so that they could move on to a room with the british judge from “So You Think You Can Dance.” The worst people and the “best” people go to the special room and if they’re truly bad or really good, or at least darn charismatic, they get to go to California and meet Paula, Simon, and Randy, and their family gets to go with them. The “auditions” that they show are actually filmed in California. Want to know why some people who are so terrible audition in front of Simon, Paula, and Randy and are shocked when they’re told that they’re bad? Because they got a trip to California based on their talent … they just didn’t know that their talent was sucking badly at singing. How fake this show is really makes me sick. Like I said, I know I wasn’t the only member of the audience who didn’t sign a “non-disclosure” agreement, so I don’t know why more people don’t write about it.