Picks and Pans Review: American Idol
BY TOM GLIATTO
Sitting there, judging singers, Simon Cowell generally affects a look of displeased boredom. But occasionally there'll be a faint satisfied grin, the sort you might see on an ancient Roman bust of some power player. So far his statue isn't crumbling. Idol has done better than ever in the opening weeks of season 6: It vacuums up so many viewers that NBC Universal head Jeff Tucker called it "the most impactful show in the history of television." The show (which settles down to a Tuesday-Wednesday schedule March 13) has gotten so big, in fact, it sometimes feels discomfitingly swollen. The audition rounds bothered some viewers by highlighting an Addams Family procession of no-talents. Other fans complain that not enough attention was paid to sketching out the histories of singers now in the final competition. But the show is still a colossal entertainment with good performers: Lakisha Jones, who has walloping power; Melinda Doolittle, a backup singer who digs into a song with jackhammer energy; and Blake Lewis, who has an ear-catching pop voice with a little alt-rock thrown in. Smile, Simon.