Tom Ross: What would Yogi Berra say? |

Tom Ross: What would Yogi Berra say?

Tom Ross

— Is it my imagination, or is rock icon Steven Tyler morphing into Yogi Berra in his new role as Simon Cowell’s replacement on American Idol this season?

I’ve never heard so many strange expressions.

“Well hellfire, save matches. (Snuggle up to) a duck and see what hatches.”

Did Tyler steal that rhyme from Robert Frost?

Berra, the great New York Yankees catcher, once observed, “You can learn a lot by just watching.”

And if you’ve been watching America’s most popular TV show lately, you’ve noticed that Tyler, the vocalist for Aerosmith and a kid from Yonkers, comes up with almost as many brow-furrowing expressions as Yogi used to. Tyler also is five years older than I am and old enough to have cheered for Yogi during his playing career. Take that!

Reacting this season to a singer with a strong falsetto, Tyler said, “You went up into the way-out-osphere, you went to squeak-land. That’s insane.”

I couldn’t agree more.

After contestant Casey Abrams sang Joe Cocker’s version of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” on Wednesday night, Tyler’s reaction was, “You are a rainbow of talent, a plethora of passion.” And he said it with a straight face.

I can’t swear to cause and effect in this case, but do you really think it was a coincidence that on Thursday night, Abrams missed the elimination show because he was in the hospital with an ulcer?

Yogi, had he been on the panel, likely would have said to Abrams, “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

I was enamored with Tyler’s charm during Idol’s nomadic city auditions in January — he was a refreshing change from Cowell’s caustic remarks: “If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.”

But lately, I’m finding Tyler to be saccharine. If I had $20 for every time the aging rock start has tossed his hair at an Idol contestant and pronounced, “You’re so sweet, so sweet,” I could afford to run away from home and become a roadie.

Earlier this season, Tyler, expressed his desire to find a performer with the complete talent package by saying, “Breathe a little breath of fresh air. Slap that baby on the ass and call me Christmas.”

I’ll bet his pappy used to say that all the time while Stevie was growing up in Yonkers.

The American Idol judges will have to shed a tear this week and say farewell to another contestant. I already know what Yogi would say.

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail

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