Hollywood Week on American Idol season 11 shocked fans Wednesday night when contestant Symone Black, 16, fell off the stage and hit her head seconds before the credits rolled.
But if American Idol viewers were distressed after watching Black's dramatic fall, they were disgusted by executive producer Nigel Lythgoe's jokes about the accident after the episode aired.
'She hit her head!'
Black's performance up until that point had been electrifying. The California native sang (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding for Idol judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
Black was already telling Jackson about why she chose that song when something appeared off.
I wanted to reach out to an older audience, Black said, rubbing her head. Suddenly, she took a deep breathe, stumbled over the edge of the stage, and fell down a good four feet to the ground.
F--k man! She hit her head! Tyler said as the three judges looked on in horror. Medic, please! Medic! someone could be heard calling in the background.
And the credits rolled.
'Idol' Cliffhanger Upsets Fans
American Idol fans were upset enough that producers chose to make viewers wait until a week later to find out if Symone Black had recovered from her fall.
I can't believe Idol would make us wait until tomorrow night to find out if this girl is okay, one viewer posted on Facebook. She was very good. Poor thing.
But if fans were worried about Black, they became even angrier at American Idol when they learned just how many people had collapsed during Hollywood Week in season 11--and just how lightly executive producer Nigel Lythgoe was taking their concerns.
'She didn't hang, she fell.'
Initially, Lythgoe told reporters that Black's fall was scary, to be frank.
The cameraman, bless him, tries to dive to catch her because he's on the floor on his knees, and he doesn't get there and knocks his camera that falls on top of him, Lythgoe told US Weekly.
So it's a complete, 'Oh, my God, this is terrible'.
But if the situation was a scary one, it still shouldn't have been a surprise. According to a tweet by Lythgoe on Feb. 3, no less than five contestants had collapsed while on the elevated stage.
Nigel Lythgoe didn't help matters after the episode aired when he posted several tweets joking about Black's fall.
It's not a cliffhanger, he wrote in a followup tweet. She didn't hang, she fell.
'American Idol' Top Program Of Night
I'm done, regular viewer Mikki Parkhill told MSN's The Clicker. That child is hurt, and even the cast is not tweeting or facebooking about the show.
For all fan's grousing, however, Twitter remains largely committed to following American Idol, and season 11's Hollywood Week finale has the social media network itching to know what will happen next.
That's good news for Lythgoe and his fellow producers, especially after the record numbers Idol raked in for the Symone Black episode.
Idol scored over 19 million viewers on Wednesday. According to Fox Research, it was the top program of the night for its target demographic of 18-49 year olds.
If those numbers are any indication, Symone Black falling off stage may have made her enough of a ratings netter to guarantee her a spot on season 11 of American Idol.
'American Idol Season 11: Hollywood Week': Contestant Falls Off Stage