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Celebrity Slam - July 18, 2012

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Fallen Idol'?

It's pretty safe to assume that every single person who reads this has heard of 'American Idol.' The Fox singing competition has been one of the most popular programs on television for the entirety of its 11-season run. It spent seven straight years from 2005 to 2011 atop the Nielsen rankings, the first show in history to achieve that feat.

That epic run may be coming to an end.

In the past week, judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have both left their position as judges on the show, leaving Randy Jackson as the sole remaining judge (as well as the only person to serve on the panel for all 11 seasons). Both Tyler and Lopez claim to be leaving the show to pursue their own careers Tyler with his band Aerosmith, Lopez with her music and acting careers but sources indicate that neither judge was being particularly encouraged to return.

It's a reaction to the show's small but noticeable decline over the past couple of years. For years, 'Idol' was seen as unstoppable rival executives even referred to it as the 'Death Star' but a recent spate of competing singing/talent shows seems to be making a dent. With shows such as 'The Voice,' 'Duets' and 'The X Factor' (featuring 'Idol' co-creator and former judge Simon Cowell) pushing themselves into relevance, 'AI' finds itself in an unfamiliar spot. Not only are they trying to reinvent themselves, but they're doing so when other outlets are also competing for musical celebrity judges. The ship may finally be sinking. Sinking slowly, but sinking nonetheless.

It's about time.

While 'American Idol' never felt completely honest, at least in the first few seasons, it felt like we were watching the creation of honest-to-goodness pop stars. The show was about finding and cultivating talented singers. It's hard to say exactly when the shark was jumped, but the 'AI' of today bears little resemblance to that early show. It's all about good television, rather than good music it's about morons humiliating themselves for a brief taste of TV time, followed by a slew of mediocre singers trilling their way through a rigged contest that it has become increasingly hard to care about.

So go all in. Hire a Kardashian (pretty sure Ryan Seacrest outright owns them at this point) and one of the dudes from Jackass as your judges. Roll out Nicki Minaj or Ke$ha or some other hack studio creation if you want. The show's becoming a joke anyway why not own it? Let it turn into the train wreck circus that the producers seem to want.

And for the love of God, Randyget out of there. Pitch is going to be the least of your problems, dog.

Fly the friendly skies

We tend to think of celebrities as living lives that are vastly different than our own. But except for the elite of the elite, that's not necessarily true. Sure, they make comfortable livings, but just because they've released a few albums or starred in a couple of TV shows doesn't mean that they are ultra-wealthy. Most of them drive themselves to work and fly commercial.

Flavor Flav, for instance.

Flav was on a Southwest Airlines flight from Burbank to his home in Las Vegas last week when he decided to, well, do his Flavor Flav thing. In this case, the flavor involved commandeering the cabin's intercom mic during the plane's descent and addressing the entire plane. It would be odd enough if he just got on and rambled for a bit, but Flav took it next-level by turning the whole thing into a shameless plug for his Vegas restaurant the delightfully-titled Flavor Flav's House of Flavor. He basically rattled off the menu for a while, and then closed by leading the entire plane in a rendition of his trademark chant.

That's right. An entire plane full of people totally dropped a 'Flavaaa Flaaaaaav!'

While it's a little disconcerting that this lunatic was allowed to take control of the plane's interior communication system - thankfully, there were no emergencies I completely understand. Flavor Flav has transcended our traditional understanding of social mores. He's become some sort of bizarre pop culture Pied Piper; we don't know where he's going, but we can't help but follow him. Was he irresponsible to do this? Yep. Was Southwest irresponsible for allowing it? Absolutely. And yetit's all okay.

Something tells me Chuck D wouldn't get away with it quite so easily.


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