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'American Idol' Is Fast Shifting Into Idle

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, April 20, 2005; Page C07

"American Idol" switched to autopilot last night when the judges finally ran out of things to say.

The contestants were okay, each trying, with varying success, to perform a '70s dance tune. Constantine Maroulis kicked things off with a Bee Gees number that he sang in a white satin jacket and, it appeared, a hint of mascara. Great look.

Carrie Underwood went for the Head Cheerleader on Dress-Up Friday look and sang "MacArthur Park," which she said afterward was "a great song despite the words." She described it as a tune about a cake and "some old guy playing Chinese checkers," adding that she really didn't understand it but picked it because of Donna Summers or something to that effect.

We stopped listening at the "checkers" part because it was too painful.

Scott Savol -- you know, the one who was in the news for the alleged confrontation he had with the mother of his child that led to his arrest, according to news reports -- continued his Anger Tour. This week his song of choice was "Everlasting Love." Yes, Scott, we get the irony. Then he wished his mom a happy birthday.

Anthony Fedorov, who promised to shake his bootay, didn't. Vonzell Solomon picked "I'm Every Woman" but got drowned by All Those Other Women singing backup.

Anwar Robinson, the only contestant who attempted a couple of dance steps during his performance, continued to get lost in the shuffle. And Bo Bice, who added dancing to the growing list of things he can't do, continued working on dragging his microphone stand around the stage, the international sign for "I'm actually a rocker, stuck in a '70s dance tune."

Meanwhile, the judges -- Randy "It Started a Little Pitchy" Jackson, Pixilated Paula Abdul and Simon "I Know Karaoke and You, Sir, Are No Karaoke Singer" Cowell -- continued to sound like broken records, which seems like a pretty bad thing for judges in a, hello, singing competition.

Randy, Paula and Simon clearly have come to think this show is all about them -- big mistake. Last night, they several times began to joke about each other, giving short shrift to the contestant who had just performed, not to mention the viewer at home. At the end of the show, when host Ryan Seacrest asked each of them, based on the performances they'd just seen, which contestant would probably go home this week, Randy said "Simon Cowell," Paula gushed that she loved them all, and Simon said "Ryan Seacrest."

These guys need a new act, and fast.

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