Simon Cowell by Kevin Parry/WireImage.com Simon Cowell by Kevin Parry/WireImage.com

Was Simon taking issue with Chris Richardson's somewhat clumsy name-checking of the Virginia Tech tragedy, or was his Tuesday-night eye roll directed at the J.T.-wannabe's "nasal defense"? American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick tells TVGuide.com that it was the latter scenario, and that Simon didn't even hear Chris' allusion to the national heartache. "It's quite difficult when the contestants are talking on their [lapel] mike for Simon to hear them," says Warwick. "And Simon was wound up because Chris was [justifying] singing through his nose, which Simon hates with a vengeance. Simon was rolling his eyes at the fact that Chris had come back with such an inane [comment]." Later, upon learning that some mistook the gesture for a dismissal of the Virginia Tech nod, Simon "was mortified," says Warwick.

As for Simon's own Virginia Tech mention after Blake's performance, "It was always the plan that Ryan would [address] it in the cold opening and the judges would say something at the end. But that last commercial break is manic," and as such, Cowell came up with what Warwick allows "wasn't the most lucid statement in the world. But he was going to say something anyway." - Reporting by Matt Webb Mitovich

Was Chris R. right to invoke the Virginia Tech tragedy as the judges critiqued his performance? Share your thoughts here.