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'American Idol': Was James Durbin's 'Pepsi moment' remark funny or insensitive?

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Idol James Durban
Michael Becker/Fox

Turns out last night’s American Idol came complete with a cup full o’ unexpected controversy. Following James Durbin’s performance of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting),” the contestant told host Ryan Seacrest that he feared he would experience a “Pepsi moment” on stage, thanks to a healthy dose of hairspray and some pyrotechnics. Here’s where the controversy comes in (and no, it doesn’t surround the fact that Durbin said the dreaded “P-word” on the heavily Coke-branded show): For you youngins, “Pepsi moment” refers to an incident in 1984 when the late Michael Jackson suffered second-degree burns after pyrotechnics lit his hair on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial, an injury from which he reportedly never fully recovered.

Criticism surrounding the supposed insensitivity of Durbin’s comment — and the fact that Fox did not censor it during the West Coast feed — spread quickly throughout the Internet, with even Jackson’s family reportedly expressing anger about the remark. Fox is not commenting on the matter, but we’re going to toss this one to you, PopWatchers: Was Durbin’s quip in poor taste? Or are fans being oversensitive? Vote in our poll below.

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