'Idol' getting out of hand

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There's lots of chatter around the new season of "American Idol," most of it trying to sort out if the show has gotten meaner or not. We don't know about meaner, but it's definitely gotten weirder. Watercooler has watched the auditions in Minneapolis, Seattle and New York, and we have to say, we were cringing through many of them. We fully expected to encounter wannabe Idols who were delusional about the size of their talents. What we didn't expect was so many who were, well, just delusional.

From Seattle oddball Darwin Reedy, who was joined by her look-alike mother, to New Yorker Ian Benardo (who at least was one of the few who admitted to having not one but two therapists), we began to wonder if the producers should start doing psychiatric evaluations before letting certain contestants into the audition room. It got to the point where we started to feel sorry for the judges as they tried to tactfully, and then often not so tactfully, get some of the more belligerent ones to leave once they got in there. If anyone is in doubt whether it is the judges or the producers who are in charge of who gets into the room, they need look no further than the reaction of the guest judges, Jewel and Carol Bayer Sager, who both sat stunned in the presence of some of the truly bizarre individuals warbling off-key in front of them in costumes ranging from an astronaut suit to a boxer's robe with an American-flag motif. Cowboy hats, it appears, are also big this season among the more wackadoo. As Sager remarked after Benardo's exit rant at Simon Cowell, "Well, this is really something."

We found ourselves agreeing with, of all people, Cowell when he exasperatedly exclaimed, "I don't know what I'm doing on this show anymore. The fact that we're taking all this seriously is actually really disturbing." Amen, my brother. Amen.
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