Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't Let the Show Catch You Crying

Or something along those lines, at least where Ashley Ferl is concerned. Who is Ashley Ferl? Well, you probably know her as the blond, blue-nailed Crying Girl, whose copious tears flowed continually during Tuesday night's show, gushing into a virtual waterfall when Sanjaya Malakar performed.

We said yesterday that it smelled like a setup, and it was to an extent. Idol didn't intentionally bring in this little ringer. According to the L.A. Times, Ashley got tickets to a taping of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" from a Web site. The deal also included seats for either the dress rehearsal of that show or the dress rehearsal of "Idol." She picked the dress rehearsal of "Idol," and according to the Times, that where the waterworks began.

"Her prowess was quickly brought to the attention of 'Idol' producers who summoned the clan to a ringside seat of honor at the final taping." Uh-huh. Never underestimate the publicity-seeking noses of those "Idol" producers. So, we're still calling this a setup, because the producers knew exactly what they had and manipulated the situation to reap maximum benefits from it.

In an appearance last night on "Inside Edition," the 13-year-old Riverside, Calif., resident said she began crying hysterically because she was overwhelmed at Tuesday night's taping (but she started crying during the dress rehearsal, sez us). "Just being able to be there and everything about it ... it was so unbelievable."

"I love his [Sanjaya] voice and his hair," added the middle-school student, who rocked a T-shirt with a picture of Sanjaya on "Inside Edition."

Ferl's mother, Stacey, said her daughter has not stopped crying since the show's taping(!), "She was actually crying this morning again ... she's just so excited about all the media attention and talking about what happened last night on the show." Mom also said her daughter is also an aspiring singer (perhaps she should switch to professional crier), has attended all three "Idol" concert tours and can't get enough.

"Extra's" Terri Seymour (Simon Cowell's girlfriend) also sat down with Ashley, and she told Seymour that she hopes Cowell will "be nicer to Sanjaya," though Ferl admitted that most of her friends are rooting for Melinda and Lakisha. About Sanjaya, Ferl declared, "He is so bad!" And when asked if Sanjaya has a good voice, she exclaimed, "Uh-huh, yes!"

Watching the show, Ashley said, was the "best night of her life." Ferl's mother said, "She cried on the way home and at the restaurant," adding that this is not the first time her daughter cried over "Idol." She also cried and cried during a recent "American Idol" concert tour, when Carrie Underwood performed, and at last season's Top Three show.

A couple of points: This child's behavior is not normal. This is not merely a case of Sanjayamania. Any child, even a 13-year-old one, who would cry continuously for more than 24 hours over the excitement of seeing a star is either emotionally unstable or developmentally challenged. We'd wager that any therapist would say this is not a normal affect -- not for that amount of time anyway.

But we're even more disturbed by mommy Stacey's behavior. Mommy dearest seems to be milking this incident for every piece of face time she can get for Ashley (and herself). Shouldn't she have been concerned by her child's (over)reactions? Don't you think she'd want to protect Ashley from any further media glare? If this woman isn't already a publicist she ought to become one immediately. Right after Child Protective Services removes her child from her custody. Sheesh!


A more thorough reading of Dave's Vote for the Worst posting after Chris Sligh's shoutout does indicate that the site had baited him to pay homage to them. In his roundup of Tuesday night's performances, speaking of Sligh, Dave said,

"Chris Sligh then does She’s Not There. I’m a little underwhelmed by the performance, but it’s fairly good. The judges comment, and then it happens. Chris yells out “Hi, Dave”, not once, but twice. On the VFTW message board, we’ve always told contestants to give me a shoutout as a joke to show that they actually read our site. Smarterthanpickler wrote this [on March 17]:

This is a reminder to Chris:

Tuesday is coming, and this will be your final chance to reclaim your manhood. Remember, two simple words:


Say these two words and I swear I will never bash you or call you a pussy again and that I'll use whatever influence I have to get you votes. Don't say these two simple words, however, and I will endlessly bash and humilate you until you are voted off the show.

The ball's in your court, chubby.

And Chris did it! This man is my hero. He wants VFTW to love him. Was it just me or did the judges look pissed? I just have to tell Chris, since we know he’s reading this site now, you are the man. Dude, we so need to go get a few drinks after this is all over and laugh about the show. You complete me. We totally can’t switch to you this week after all the work we’ve put in for Sanjaya, but if you keep it up, you’re guaranteed some VFTW votes once Sanjaya is gone."

So there you have it. Documented and apparently true. VFTW rules, at least as far as Sligh is concerned.

And we couldn't help but post this Sanjaya doll photo that appeared since yesterday on VFTW's home page. Love the site or hate it, anyone who doesn't laugh isn't breathing. (BTW guys, manufacture them and we'll buy one.)


Away with the easy stuff first, the week's Ford commercial had the contestants singing Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night" at the Laundromat. It wasn't bad compared with most of the Ford spots, but it really is commercial filler that we tend to ignore.

When Ryan Seacrest was about to reveal, as it turned out, seated in the stands with the contestants was Brad Garrett, in a not-so-subtle reminder that his Fox series, " 'Til Death" now follows the results show, and in fact, has been garnering much better ratings since it was moved there. Of course, he was the first person that Ryan sent home.

And we need to emphasize again how great we thought this week's mentors -- Lulu and Peter Noone were. They listened and gave sound advice to the contestants, even if it was not always followed (not their faults). But we were especially impressed by their performances last night. It is clear that Lulu's range is not what it once was, but she updated "To Sir With Love" to suit her current voice, plus she is the consummate stage performer. We would love to see her in concert. BTW, some interesting facts about Lulu that we wrote about earlier, but you may have missed:
She was married to Maurice Gibb (of the Bee Gees) from 1969-1973, and Tina Turner's hit "I Don't Wanna Fight" was written by Lulu and her brother Billy Laurie.

And Peter Noone is just tried and true. His "There's a Kind of Hush" sounded little different than when he performed it with Herman's Hermits in the '60s. He still tours extensively in the U.S., so you might want to catch one of his shows if he plays near your hometown. To check his concert dates, click here.

Finally, as you already know, Stephanie Edwards was eliminated. We expected so much more of her that we're not saddened too much. She wasn't going to get much further anyway. Chris Richardson, who is near the bottom of our list as far as this season's talent goes, surprised us by getting the second least amount of votes. We're obviously not a supporter of his, but we thought he had heavy fan adoration. In any event, his near-death last night should bring out his hoardes next week, protecting him from elimination for at least 2 more weeks. It seemed to work for Phil and Sanjaya this week. They were both safe, even though they were in the Bottom 3 last week. And so it goes.

Next week, Gwen Stefani will mentor the contestants and will perform "The Sweet Escape" with Akon on Wednesday's results show. It will be a pop-themed week, as contestants pick their favorite songs from that genre.

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© 2007

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