The best thing about "American Idol: The Best & Worst of American Idol (Limited Edition) is not that Paula Abdul is "hosting" the three DVDs rather than Ryan Seacrest, but that all of the Worst bits are on the second of the three DVDs. After watching over an hour Keith Beukelaer and those who cannot sing and Tamika Bush and those who want to argue with the judges, I had to proceed to the third disc. I can only take so much, because I do not watch "American Idol" to see people humiliated, I watch it to see people who can sing learn how to perform in front of millions of viewers. Watching the premier of "American Idol V" this week I was totally disgusted by how not the judges but the producers of the show further ridiculed a young man with gender issues by playing the theme from "The Crying Game" underneath his post-audition meltdown. I really think those who audition and are given a hard reality check by the judges need to be venting at the producers who set them up and not Randy, Paula and Simon. At least William Hung brings a smile to your face for the right reasons, but he is really the only reason to go back and watch anything on the worst disc.
That is why I liked being able to see the complete auditions for the top two contestants from the show's first four seasons. Seeing the judges me impressed is always a lot more fun than watching them come up with minor variations on telling somebody they are terrible. Yes, it would be nice to see more of the memorable performances, but they do get beyond the winners and the winning moments from each season (Kelly Clarkson squealing and crying through "A Moment Like This" is still the best of those, although Fantasia's "I Believe" has its moments too). But "Breaking' Up is Hard to Do" was Ruben Studdard's best performance, and you can say the same for Clay Aiken's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Fantasia Barrino's "Summertime," Bo Bice's a cappella "In a Dream," and Carrie Underwood's "Alone." They also get beyond the winners, so that you have Tamyra Gray's "Feel the Fire" and Constantine Maroulis' "My Funny Valentine." But you do end up with the eight auditions, nineteen featured performances, to go along with recaps of the seasons (the first three are dealt with together and then season four). There is also the infamous Paula and Simon kissing/nightmare bit (but not the spoof on the big stir about Paula from last year).
The third disc has an extensive interview with Carrie Underwood (the girl knows how to tell stories and the one about not being sure she wanted to actually get on an airplane and fly away from Chekotah is about as endearing as you can get), along with a follow up one with her and interviews with Bo Bice, Vonzell Solomon, and Constantine Maroulis. Then there are "extended never-before seen footage" of Carrie and Bo on their return trips home shortly before the 2005 "American Idol" was crowned. Then the finale is an exclusive Paula Abdul interview where she discusses her experience on the show and her relationships with the contestants and other judges. The interviews alone run close to two hours, so the bonus disc is not a skimpy throw-in. All things considered, fans of Carrie Underwood will be very happy with what they get to see of her on this disc. It even leads you to not only hope but actually believe that life in the big cities and the fast lane will not change this small town girl. She is definitely the star on this disc and makes up for the fact the "Worst" disc brings the overall rating of this collection down.