BEFORE getting into Tuesday night's March of the Duds on "American Idol," let me take you back to a special time, 10 days ago, when the Final 24 were still shrouded in mystery. To a special place -- a department store in Beverly Hills called Neiman Marcus. Where I came face to face with that giant of fashion and entertainment alike, Randy Jackson.
For a moment, I gaped from afar in awe but didn't approach, considering the great judge wants his peace and solitude while at Neiman's. And then I thought, "Peace and solitude? This is RANDY JACKSON!" and asked, "Why aren't there any rockers on the show this year?"
"Really?" he asked, sounding shocked. "There aren't any?"
For the next 10 minutes I knew the "Idol"-centric bliss few achieve of a private audience on the great topics of our age, with the Great Swing Vote himself, who revealed himself to be the \o7mensch di tutti mensches\f7 in entertaining my questioning.
Jackson revealed that he did not actually remember all the Final 24, saying the Hollywood week went by in a whirlwind and he doesn't watch the audition shows when they air. "I'm not like Seacrest and Cowell, who have to put on the TV every time my face is on there," he joked.
Thinking back on this conversation while watching Tuesday's show, in which these lightweights mugged through Cyndi Lauper and Nina Simone, I was struck by how much of this competition is in the hands of the gods. Surely these would not have been the 10 guys the producers would have wanted to build their show around.
It is a reminder that even at the summits of the Entertainment Universe, the hand of fate still trumps anything on Earth.
Footnote: I have received reports that Sanjaya Malakar has acquired a huge following. I may have generational conflicts preventing me from seeing the genius of young Malakar. Would any who understand please e-mail me and explain? The best theories will be published at latimes.com/idoltracker.
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