By Whitney Pastorek
Updated March 07, 2007 at 09:32 PM EST
Credit: Frank Micelotta

If you’ve checked out Slezak’s TV Watch today, you’ll know the men of American Idol pretty much bricked it last night, but for my money, the worst offense was not Sanjaya Malakar baby-puking on John Mayer or Sundance Head’s assassination of “Jeremy” — give that kid bonus points for getting the line “bit the recess lady’s breast” into the family hour! — but rather the judges’ reaction to Blake Lewis’ (pictured) rendition of 311’s “All Mixed Up,” in which all three admitted to having NO IDEA WHO 311 IS.

Now. I’m no huge fan, but even I know that 311 is a platinum-selling stoner-ska band, and that “All Mixed Up” is one of their bigger hits from the mid-90’s. I also know that while Blake’s performance had the rather unfortunate side effect of making 311 sound even more like a Sublime knock-off than they already do, it was still an amazing, Bobby McFerrin-esque feat in which he managed to replicate every sound on the record, add a few more, and bleep out the word “ass” for himself. Phenomenal.

But for Randy, Paula, and Simon, the more important point to be made was essentially, “Wow, I don’t know what that crazy newfangled sound was, but I liked it!” And in light of that, PopWatchers, I ask you, which is the worse crime: Being the judge of a singing competition designed to find someone who best represents the sound of contemporary American music and not knowing who 311 is… or admitting it?

addCredit(“Blake Lewis: Frank Micelotta”)