When a 62-year-old man openly hits on a 16-year-old girl — in any context — it’s disturbing. When he does it smack in the middle of one of the few family-friendly hits on primetime network TV, it’s downright disgraceful. And that’s precisely why I’m hoping that executives at Fox, 19, and Fremantle Entertainment will put the kibosh on new (and otherwise quite terrific) American Idol judge Steven Tyler’s tendency to make lascivious comments toward the show’s young female contestants. (Fox officials declined comment on this story.)
During Idol‘s three-hour, two-night season 10 premiere last week, Tyler stamped himself as the MVP of the judges table. He was pithy, he was funny, and he was genuinely interested in the young singers vying for Golden Tickets to the Hollywood Week portion of the competition. Only problem was, the Aerosmith frontman seemed a little too interested in ingenues like Victoria Huggins, a preternaturally perky 16-year-old whose pink cardigan and floral dress caught the eye of fellow judge Jennifer Lopez. “I love the skirt!” said J.Lo, at which point Tyler snarled and added, “Oh yeah, just the right amount showing.” Um, gross. And it wasn’t the only instance where Tyler’s words and expressions went right up to — and occasionally over — the line.
Look, I know Tyler’s a bad-boy rock star, and I realize his come-on may have been offered at least partially in jest, but as anyone who watches 16 and Pregnant knows, kids in this country nowadays get sexualized altogether too early as it is. Do we really need to have December hitting on April on a show that’s otherwise appropriate for everyone from grannies down to adolescents?
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What’s more, Tyler’s inappropriate streak hurts his credibility. The guy drew mostly rave reviews for his initial Idol appearances, but we’re still very early into the season, and Tyler still has yet to show he can deliver the goods in the high-pressure context of Idol‘s live performance episodes (a hurdle that left season 9 judge Ellen DeGeneres lying on her face in the dirt last year).
For now, Tyler should be focusing solely on providing great critiques, great constructive criticism, and great entertainment. And if dude really, really can’t get through an hour without getting a little randy, then he’d better make sure someone like Sarah Sellers makes it to the voting portion of the competition. After all, that Golden Ticket recipient has a winning sexy-librarian vibe going on, and better still, she’s 28 years old.
What do you think of Steven Tyler’s randy demeanor at the judges’ table? Did it bother you to see him macking on underage female contestants or am I making a mountain out of a couple harmless remarks? Sound off in the comments below, and for all my Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.