Folks, We've Reached a J.-Lo Point on 'Idol'

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fox asking Jennifer Lopez to come teach the Idolettes how to sing better is a little like MSNBC asking Tony Snow to give Don Imus candor lessons.

It's not going to end well.

In fact, it ended with Sanjaya Malakar, who has completely taken over the "American Idol" singing competition. This week he sprouted Marc Anthony-esque facial hair in honor of J. Lo's appearance as guest "mentor." Once again, his strategy worked like gangbusters -- she was utterly smitten.

"He chose a beautiful Spanish song and I have to tell you, he really impressed me!" J. Lo gushed to the camera after rehearsing "Besame Mucho" with Sanjaya. "I love Sanjaya!" she giggled, adding, "I think Simon might be impressed."

Sadly, she was right.

"I couldn't understand a word of it, you sang like a 14-year-old and -- I'm going to hate myself for this -- it wasn't horrible," judge Cowell confessed, like a man who has just had a near-death experience.

"You are one of the smartest contestants we've ever had," a mesmerized Randy Jackson told Sanjaya.

"Smooth. It was nice -- very, very nice," said Paula Abdul, who, strangely, seemed the least smitten of the three judges. (In fairness, Paula was still having hot flashes over Chris Richardson's nasal rendition of the sexy Santana/Rob Thomas tune "Smooth" about six performances back.)

Melinda Doolittle, as always, managed to turn this week's theme into golden-oldies night, but looked sensational in a little black dress, diamond necklace and black high-heeled pumps. Her voice, as usual, was perfect, and she lost her I'm a Little Teapot bendy move for the very first time. Best of all, when, for the very first time Simon -- the only judge worth listening to -- nicked her performance, saying, "It had to happen, Melinda; I didn't like it" and calling it "wooden" and "lazy," Melinda finally broke out and showed us her other side. You know, the non-"gee willikers, are you clapping for me?" side. She said to show host Ryan Seacrest, of Simon, "I'm happy because I think he really wanted to say something bad and I'm glad he got the chance." Oh, snap, Melinda! Just knowing she's capable of such cattiness makes us no longer hate the fact that she's going to win.

Simon also hated LaKisha Jones's performance. "You were having fun -- I'm not sure how much everyone at home was having fun," he said, adding that her dancing wasn't very good.

On the other hand, he raved about Chris's karaoke-singer-in-bar-on-cruise-ship-bound-for-Majorca rendition of the totally hot "Smooth," calling him better than Melinda and LaKisha, though he also started calling Paula "whateverhernamewas," so we think he's suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's or at least the vapors.

Haley Scarnato continued to shed fabric in a desperate campaign to stay in the competition. She did a "High School Musical" version of "Turn the Beat Around," causing Simon to applaud her strategy to "wear the least amount of clothing possible" because, he said, she can't do well in this competition based on her voice.

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