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Does New York Times not understand ‘Idol’?

When the criticism of the show becomes more interesting than the program, that’s not a good thing. Among the more confounding pieces comes from the New York Times’ profile of judge Ellen DeGeneres.
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Looking for signs that “American Idol” is seriously losing its footing? Here are at least two: Last week, “Dancing With the Stars” edged out “American Idol” in the ratings. The March 29 episode of “DWTS” drew 23 million whereas the March 30 episode of “Idol” drew only 20.5.

We can quibble over the numbers — “Idol” actually has a younger audience, which is more desirable to advertisers — but they would seem to indicate that this season is indeed something of a snooze.

And when the criticism of “Idol” becomes more interesting than the show itself, that’s not a good thing. Among the more confounding pieces written about the show comes from Alessandra Stanley, who profiled judge Ellen DeGeneres in the Sunday New York Times.

“Midway through her first season Ms. DeGeneres has all but hijacked the show, playing second fiddle to no one, not even the overbearing (Simon) Cowell," wrote Stanley. “She has elevated the tone with her own style of mischievous good spirits and well-honed, down-to-earth charm.”

Really? Are we watching the same television show? If anyone has hijacked the show, it’s not DeGeneres, it’s host Ryan Seacrest and his weekly, awkward confrontations with judge Simon Cowell, various contestants or both.

As for the well-honed charm that Stanley references, I’m not sure that’s why people want to watch the show. Isn’t the appeal of ‘Idol’ supposed to be about the folks who are vying to become the new “Idol”?

It’s a new week. Maybe this will be the one that talent triumphs over charm. Here’s hoping.

James working to save marriageJesse James’ attorney Joe Yanny says that his client is still undergoing treatment for personal issues. What this means exactly remains unclear, but Yanny says that his client has a clear goal in mind.

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“When all is said and done, he wants the same people who were living in his house before all this happened to still be living there,” Yanny said in a statement he released to People magazine. “And he wants to save his marriage with the woman he loves more than anything in his life.”

James’ wife, actress Sandra Bullock, hasn’t made any statements regarding her plans for the marriage, despite some reports that suggest she’s recently decided to file for divorce.

Yanny feels that his client is being bullied. “The First Amendment was not meant to cover the sexual lives of people who are not in office,” Yanny said. “This is sheer voyeurism and bullying, pure and simple. It’s disgusting.”

Kate isn’t delusional about her dancingYou have to give Kate Gosselin credit: She is nothing if not honest when it comes to her dancing skills. Gosselin took to her blog and wrote, “During that whole long drawn out drama, my face said it all — no surprise there! I need to clarify something now: I know that I am still a contestant on DwtS solely because of my fans ...”

The mom of eight went on to thank her fans, urged them to vote, and gave props to her ever-patient dancing coach, Tony Dovolani.

“Let's be honest here,” Gosselin wrote. “It's your votes keeping me dancing and not so much my dancing skills at this stage! :) (Please understand that I have to deny that last line if Tony finds this blog ... deal? You understand why, right? Tony is a marvelous teacher. The problem is the student! :)”

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc.