I'm done giving "American Idol" (search) judge Paula Abdul the benefit of the doubt.
I've always suspected as much, but I've always been willing to give Abdul the benefit of the doubt — partly because she has a good heart and is genuinely concerned about the well-being of the young contestants and partly because I've liked her ever since "Forever Your Girl" (ah, the memories).
But last week after country hottie contestant Carrie Underwood tried to branch out with Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," I saw Abdul practically beside herself with glee. She raised her hands triumphantly, pumped them in unison and pointed at Underwood as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
And then came the judging.
Randy Jackson said it didn't work for him. He wanted Carrie to stay true to her roots. He wanted the Country Girl (never mind that she was doing Faith Hill's version of the tune). All of a sudden the gleeful, approving Paula went stone-faced and did a complete 180 on Underwood.
"It just wasn't believable for me," Abdul said. What? Just a second ago you were falling all over yourself.
What happened? Well, Randy went the other way, that's what happened, and as it turned out, so did Simon.
Now — after reviewing the scene a few times — there was some horseplay going on between the judges during Underwood's performance, which may have been why Abdul was laughing so much. Perhaps I am misinterpreting her joking with Randy and Simon for her approval of Underwood's performance.
But that doesn't dismiss the sentiment that Abdul parrots what Jackson says and anticipates what Cowell will say.
The only time Paula Abdul showed a strong opinion this season was when she threatened to quit after Simon and Randy shunned a James Brown impressionist in the early auditions — convincing Randy to vote the guy in, only to see her candidate summarily dismissed in the first rounds of the Hollywood portion of the competition.
On second thought, maybe she should just continue to be a parrot.
Martha Stewart Is an Oblivion
The Oblivion phenomenon has nothing to do with generation. It has nothing to do with ethnicity, country of origin, skin color or education.
It's simply Oblivionism, and it's out of control.
For those who don't know, Oblivions are immune to the problems we all face day in and day out. They can park wherever they want. They don't have to wait in line at the grocery store or coffee shop. They eat noisily with their mouths open or scream into their speakerphones at the office. They change lanes without signaling and they board elevators and subway trains while others are trying to exit.
There are Oblivions everywhere, and there have been since the dawn of time. I'm sure back in the caveman days there were annoying little cavemen and women whose sole purpose was to drive everyone crazy.
These days Oblivions can be found even in bathrooms (particularly the ones whom one Grrr! reader characterized as "Stall Stalkers"). These are people who will occupy the bathroom stall next to the one you're already using, choosing to ignore all the empty ones along the way.
Who are these Stall Stalkers, anyway? Don't they have any sense for their own privacy, even if they don't seem to notice anybody else?
And therein lies the basic problem with Oblivions. They don't notice anything or anyone around them. They have tunnel vision. They can see only what's directly in front of their noses, and what they see is only what they need -- forget about anybody else's needs, safety or concerns.
Martha Stewart (search) is an extreme example of an Oblivion.
She treated everybody around her like they were disposable diapers. All she cared about was what was good for her. That's why she ended up in prison for what turned out to be a measly couple thousand bucks (at least for her). But she thought the rules didn't apply to her. After all, she's famous, right?
As it turns out, if Martha Stewart really does appear on her own reality show — as reported — if she becomes CEO of her company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia, again and if the country embraces her and makes her even wealthier than she already is by buying more of her magazines and home products, then she was right all along.
That would negate her Oblivionism and make fools out of all of us.
Sure, she served her time, but so have we consumers — all of those years of being tricked into believing Stewart was the ideal.
As far as her reality show is concerned, I predict it doesn't happen. Her company's board would be nuts to let it.
Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter on "FOX Magazine," and occasionally as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Read Mike's Bio.