When doe-eyed "American Idol" contestant Tim Urban delivered his sappy rendition of Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" last week, at least one member of our Readers Judges Panel found it sickeningly sweet.
"I wanted someone to hand me a barf bag," Dublin's Katy Perry wrote in her weekly blog post.
It was a reaction surely shared by many witnesses, including Simon Cowell, who has repeatedly bashed Urban's performances. Still, "Teflon Tim," the underdog with the eternal grin, survived once again.
"It doesn't matter," Simon said after Urban laughed off another round of poor reviews. "Because you're gonna smile, the audience is gonna vote for you. You'll be here next week, so well done."
Urban's improbable run on "Idol" has some comparing him to Sanjaya Malakar, the Season 6 wonder boy who defied the odds by making it into the Top 7, despite scathing reviews from the judges.
Like Sanjaya, Urban, 20, is a young guy with TV-ready looks who has the girls squealing, despite a glaring lack of talent.
"Tim remains because star-struck teeny-boppers keep him around, but sooner or later the cream rises to the top," says panelist Timothy Stelly of Pittsburg. "The thing with Sanjaya was that he was a one-trick pony and never made any bones about it. Urban has fooled himself into believing he can be the next Idol."
Some panelists want the Urban nightmare to end as soon as possible.
"Some of his performances just aren't appropriate (for this level of the competition)," says Lauren Valla of Walnut Creek. "If he wasn't cute, he wouldn't have lasted this long."
"It irritates me to see someone last so long with his relatively mediocre voice," Perry says. "There is nothing about any of his performances that keeps me entertained. Bottom line: He needs to go."
But panelists Meghan McGovern and Mitch Green seem more amused than bothered by Urban's run of good luck.
"There is something semi-endearing about Tim in that he appears to have a good attitude about being there and learning from this experience," McGovern, a Dublin resident, says.
"It's refreshing and entertaining to see Tim laugh off Simon's harsh criticism," adds Castro Valley's Green, who points out that "Idol" history is riddled with improbability.
"That's part of the lure of the show," he says. "Favorites get bounced, weaklings hang around. The votes don't go the way we think they should each week, but we come back for more."
Reach Chuck Barney at 925-952-2685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Tuesday after "American Idol," our Readers Judges Panel weighs in on that night's performances. Read the judges comments at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv, and then add your own.