Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All About Paula

So since last night’s show was a bit of a snoozer, all anyone is talking about today is Paula’s mistake, when she critiqued two songs for Jason when he had only done one.

Most people are blowing it off as Paula being her usual loopy self—which has been somewhat missing this season—but Michael Slezak of wrote a scathing post questioning whether Paula was judging on the dress rehearsal or if someone was writing her critiques for her:

“The idea that Paula, or any of the judges, would base their comments on dress
rehearsals is preposterous. In my mind, Paula, Simon, and Randy should neither
see nor hear the contestants' warm-ups, and even if they do, how is it that
they're not explicitly instructed to give feedback only on the same set of
performances the viewing public sees on their TV screens?
And if there's a
chance that something more nefarious is going on, that Paula's comments are
pre-scripted by someone other than her, then I've got a feeling I won't be the
only Idol fan wondering if there's any way Fox can make amends and give me a
reason not to walk away from the show I've loved and obsessed over for seven
straight seasons.”


I should point out here that we’ve known for a long time now that Simon doesn’t pay any attention to the performances because he’s already judged the rehearsal. That doesn’t make it any fairer; I’m just saying we already knew that.

So what does Paula have to say about the whole thing? She says that the producers informed the judges after the show had already started that they would not be judging until after the second song. Paula says that forced her to frantically scribble out notes and she got Jason’s and David’s confused. You can see her explanation here.

Just one problem with that explanation. It’s a lie.

Let’s look at what she said, courtesy of Slezak at

“Jason, the first song I loved hearing your lower register, which we never really hear. The second song, I felt like your usual charm wasn' was missing for me, it kind of left me a little empty. And the two songs made me feel like you're not fighting hard enough to get into the top four.”

Is Paula honestly telling us that she thought David Cook wasn’t fighting hard enough to get into the top four? If that’s the case, then why, after Randy corrected her, did she tell David he was fantastic?

No, Paula is once again spinning one of her stories, much like she did after that live interview debacle when she came up with the “two cities in two different ears” excuse.

I do believe—based on the on-the-scene reports I’ve read—that the judges were not expecting the quick critique after the first round and that’s why Paula was confused since she thought she would only talk after both songs. According to, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe was going crazy backstage and during the commercial break, all three of the judges were taken out of the studio…

Personally, I don’t see anything as sinister as Slezak does, but he is kind of making me see things in a different light. Have the judges completely made up their mind beforehand? Is that why—as Slezak suggests—that they didn’t call out David A. on his lyric forgetfulness last week? Because they’d already crafted their critiques?

And for once, why can’t Paula just tell the truth? Why can’t she just tell us that she took notes on the dress rehearsal because she knew that they were singing two songs and she wanted to be sure she remembered everything? That may still not be the truth, but at least it’s closer…