The 29 Seconds That Are Supposed To Make Everyone Feel Better About “American Idol”

For those of you who are curious, the “rumors” Ryan is obliquely referring to as being untrue aren’t about Paula being into field hockey players. Nor are they about Paula using the rehearsals to guide her later critiques, since she admitted that she does engage in that practice yesterday:

On Wednesday, during his daily radio show on KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, Mr. Seacrest said that Nigel Lythgoe, an executive producer of “Idol,” informed him of the change as the fifth contestant, Syesha Mercado, was performing her first song, only seconds before he was to query the judges.

When Mr. Seacrest asked Ms. Abdul for her comments, she offered her critique on Jason Castro’s “first song,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” then added: “The second song, I felt like your usual charm, it was missing for me. It kind of left me a little empty. And the two songs, it made me feel like you’re not fighting hard enough to get into the Top 4.”

As Mr. Seacrest anxiously glanced offstage for help, Mr. Jackson, beside Ms. Abdul at the judges’ table, gently prompted her to make comments “just on the first one.” Confused, Ms. Abdul said to Mr. Castro, “I thought you sang twice.” After realizing what had occurred, she then explained that she got her notes mixed up and had meant her comments to be about the next singer, David Cook. But instead of repeating that she thought Mr. Cook had given an uninspired performance, she told him, “You were fantastic.”

Attempting on Wednesday to explain her misstep, Ms. Abdul spoke on Mr. Seacrest’s radio show and said she had seen Mr. Castro’s rehearsal of his second song as she was bringing in a friend to the dress rehearsal audience.

When Mr. Lythgoe changed the format, she hurriedly made further notes, she said, mixing up Mr. Castro’s live performance with the rehearsal that she remembered.

My takeaway from this explanation: Like so much else that’s been wrong with this season, it’s Nigel’s fault. So what were the rumors, anyway? Oh, just that Paula might have had a pre-show cocktail on Tuesday afternoon that might have addled her judgment–apparently TMZ first broke the “story,” only to hit “unpublish” on the offending post once threatened with legal action from Paula’s people. Surely I’m not alone in hoping that this little chink being revealed in their armor results in a flood of lawsuits sent their way, thus striking a blow for literacy and non-idiocy once and for all. (Dream big, my mom always said.)

‘Idol’ Judge Admits Rehearsal Guided Her [NYT]Ryan talks about Paula being drunk [Redlasso via MJ’s Big Blog]