No matter who walked away with the coveted "American Idol" crown on Wednesday night, neither Crystal Bowersox nor Lee DeWyze left the Nokia Theatre as the most surprised person in the auditorium. That's a distinction that undoubtedly falls on Simon Cowell after onetime "Idol" hopeful Ian Benardo stormed the stage and, in his own words, pulled a Kanye West by ripping into the outgoing judge.
At the end of an original musical number titled "Simon Said," performed by comedian Dane Cook, a plethora of contestants formerly burned by the brutally honest Cowell flocked to the stage to join Cook's derisive song. But the microphone was quickly hogged by Benardo, who was famously rejected by Cowell during a New York City "American Idol" audition in 2007.
"Who cares? It's all about Ian Benardo tonight!" the stage-crashing Benardo announced to a packed crowd. "I'm going to replace you, Simon Cowell! No one has a thing to say about you — just me. This is a Kanye moment, and I'm ... "
Benardo's rant was swiftly interrupted by another of Cowell's many victims, Tatiana Del Toro, but the self-proclaimed Kanye imitator resumed his place in the spotlight with little trouble. "Nobody cares about you," he told Del Toro. "It's all about Ian Benardo, and I want to say I'm replacing you, Simon Cowell, because I'm more entertaining!"
According to a conversation before the show between Del Toro and MTV News' "Idol" expert Jim Cantiello, the "Simon Said" performance was supposed to feature all the formerly burned contestants getting their retribution against Cowell. Unfortunately for them, Benardo's tirade forced "Idol" producers to end the segment early — although others certainly got their last licks in on Cowell before the night was through.
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