To put this in perspective: Also on Wednesday night, 6 million people wanted to learn the most intimate details about George Clooney’s kitchen. Yes, 6 million people tuned in to the premiere episode of CBS’s resuscitation of Edward R. Murrow’s famous-people-at-home interview show, “Person to Person.” On which Lara Logan and Charlie Rose grilled George about his kitchen. Get it — grilled?
“What’s inside your fridge, George,” Logan asked in her no-nonsense way.
“Mmmmmm . . . nothing?” Clooney guessed.
“He doesn’t know!” Rose exalted.
“I, uh . . . there’s some lady that makes salads for me . . . salads and some sort of a juice thing because, you know, one of my New Year’s Eve resolutions was to eat better and to, sort of, do one of those cleanses,” Clooney fumbled.
“I’m really glad I did that.”
But the same night Alford was dishing delicious details about JFK to her audience of 5 mil and Clooney was making kitchen confessions to 6 million rabid fans, a whopping 19 million people tuned in to “American Idol” to learn all the details about a teen chick singer’s plunge off the stage during the Fox singing competition’s grueling Hollywood Week at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
And all 19 million were disappointed to learn that “Idol” producers had just strung them along for the hour with repeated showings of the same very short clip in which cute 16-year-old Symone Black is seen plunging off the stage — and that they’d have to tune in again Thursday night to see what happened to her after that. (Hollywood-in-Pasadena Week episodes are taped in advance.)
At the end of the hour, viewers saw Symone lying on the floor at the foot of the auditorium’s stage. Her stage dad rushed to her side while “Idol” exec producer Nigel Lythgoe shouted, “Medic, please!” Meanwhile, the show credits rolled.
“Tomorrow night, find out what happens to Symone,” show host Ryan Seacrest intoned.
And, on Twitter, Lythgoe exulted in real time: “I know you’re all going crazy. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow. That’s why I’m a mean producer.”
“It’s not a ‘cliffhanger,’ ” he added. “She didn’t hang — she fell.”
At the top of Thursday’s episode, we again saw Symone faint and fall off stage, only this time it was followed by Symone receiving medical help, as some other wannabe Idolettes spontaneously formed a prayer circle. J-Lo told fellow judge Steven Tyler: “Poor baby. I was going to say that was one of the prettiest sounds I’d heard all day!”
Turns out, Symone had not eaten in a really long time. Someone asked somebody to get her an “Idol”-sponsoring Coke; after she drank it, she was back on her feet and off with her dad to get checked out at a hospital — while Coke execs could give thanks.