Clay Aiken lost in the finale on Season 2 of American Idol, and this week he lost it on the show that made him famous.
Aiken went on a long Twitter rant against the show, which premiered this week in what will be the final season. The show’s 15th season began on Wednesday, and Aiken decided to share a running commentary trashing the show, taking digs at contestants and the show’s failing ratings.
His tirade started after an audition from a singer named Joe, who claimed to be classically trained but instead just wailed through his song. This type of tragically unaware singer has been the bread and butter of the show for its duration, with producers setting them up for some memorable quips from judges.
But this year the trio of Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban apparently lacked the kind of wit that Clay Aiken was expecting, Yahoo noted.
“Well…now I know why the ratings are down,” he tweeted.
Aiken then lamented for the days of Simon Cowell, who was notorious for tearing into terrible singers.
“Oh good Lord…those boring a** responses from the judges!? Where is Simon Cowell when you need him!? That guy need a hook to pull him off stage,” Aiken wrote.
“It’s VERY clear now that Simon Cowell was the reason American Idol was a hit. I’ve watched root canals more entertaining than these judges,” he added.
To make the Twitter rant even more awkward, Clay Aiken was actually featured on the show’s premiere and will be standing in for Ryan Seacrest next week in Philadelphia.
While Clay Aiken was certainly down on American Idol in its final season premiere, others thought it had a strong start to its final season. Los Angeles Times television critic Mikael Wood noted that the show seemed surprisingly fresh for one entering its 15th season — and headed off television in just a few months.
“Yet, if Wednesday’s two-hour opener had all the makings of a funeral, it felt surprisingly full of life. Could the once-thrilling “American Idol,” which in recent years became a joyless grind, rediscover its mojo to finish on a high note?
“Much of the energy came from the contestants, just as it did during “Idol’s” early days, before the parade of celebrity judges reset the show’s focus.”
Wood noted that there were a few exceptional performers featured on Wednesday, including Lee Jean and 15-year-old Jeneve Rose Mitchell. There were even some typically dramatic moments, including the husband and wife who auditioned together. After he got a ticket to Hollywood, she got a rejection and then promptly blamed her husband for distracting the judges with their baby while she sang.
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) January 7, 2016
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) January 8, 2016
Wood also called the judges “a breath of fresh air,” even though Clay Aiken very much disagreed.
Ironically, Clay Aiken would likely never be known if not for his run on Season 2 of American Idol. He advanced to the finals, ultimately losing to Ruben Studdard, but has been able to carve out a mostly successful career that includes recording albums and stage appearances. He was even to parlay his popularity into a run for congress, which ultimately failed.
But Clay Aiken also had some kind words for the show. When fans called him out on Twitter, Aiken took some time to praise contestants from North Carolina, who he said “totally make tonight’s show worth watching!!”
[Picture by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]