American Idol: Marijuana harvesting, aggravated assault, and a governor's wrath
With no recent eliminations on American Idol, television writers like myself are in dire need of alternate Idol news to fill the greedy void.  Thankfully, the Idol franchise is as scrutinized as the best looking girl at the bar, generally producing juicy bits of news on a regular basis.  Waking up this morning to check the internets, I found that Idol had not disappointed.  It's not often I get to discuss the marijuana harvest of my home state (Washington) or political backlash in the great state of Kentucky, but American Idol is, as we know, an all-encompassing phenomenon. 

Does the phrase” all publicity is good publicity” remain apt if you're already a worldwide hit?  American Idol doesn't need more buzz; it's already saturated with noise.  Therefore, regardless of the exposure, I'm guessing the powers-that-be aren't too pleased with some of the recent news stories to infiltrate the zeitgeist.  Let's take a look at some of the notable happenings:

American Idol 5 contestant Jessica Sierra arrested for assault and cocaine possession

Former Idols are on a rampage!  Sierra seems like your typical “once quasi-famous, now irrelevant and bitter” Idol alum.  She apparently threw a cocktail glass at some dude's head at a nightclub, and was then taken in to custody.  My favorite part of this story is that they almost had to place leg restraints on her in the patrol car because she was kicking the windows so hard.  If only we had this on video. 

This brings up a pressing question:  Of this year's top 24, who is most likely to be arrested in the next 18 months?  We now it will happen, it's just a matter of who, what for, and where.  I'm thinking Antonella Barba in a bar fight with a can of mace.

Sanjaya Malakar's mom, sister, and stepfather formerly arrested for harvesting marijuana

I know people are all Sanjaya-ed out at this point (god knows I am) but the news keeps on pouring in.  And, when there is American Idol news, we are legally obligated to write about it.  So, a couple years back (and thanks to the magical forest gnomes over at TMZ for digging this up) Sanjaya's Hooters-employed sister was arrested (with ma and step-pa) for housing over 300 marijuana plants in their garage.  Why were their neighbors suspicious, according to the story?

1) The neighborhood smelled like weed.
2) Sanjaya's mom installed a large air vent on top of the garage. 
3) The house's power meter displayed an excessive use of power in the garage.

I'm not sure it's possible to be more obvious about your garage's felonious intentions than that.  I'm not sure what this all means, if anything.  I suppose you could glean some insights about Sanjaya's performance or demeanor or perceived goal of world domination. Regardless, it's all pretty funny.

The governor of Kentucky upset about state's portrayal on Idol Gives Back

Yeah, I don't blame him.  One of the many taped segments on last Wednesday's two-hour Idol Gives Back marathon featured a look at an impoverished area in the Kentucky Appalachians.  We got a glimpse of dilapidated facilities, as well as an illiterate mother with no teeth discussing how hard it is being illiterate and the failings of education.  The segment was downright scary, but it's not hard to imagine that it was a work of manipulative hyperbole on Idol's part.  The governor is upset, and thinks the segment reinforced negative stereotypes about his state. 

I understand what Idol was trying to do, which is what it attempted all night: try and guilt trip people into giving money.  I don't really mean this in a negative sense, though; when hosting a charity event reliant on viewers donating money, subtlety isn't the best way to go.  Nonetheless, it can't feel good for the governor to see his home state portrayed in such a negative way to millions of TV viewers.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

(Image Courtesy of The National Ledger)