LOS ANGELES, CA, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 …… Grandma Lee's remarks to Barbara Padilla backstage at the America's Got Talent Semi-Finals clearly hit a nerve for the always composed lyric soprano, widely considered the contest frontrunner.
"Grandma Lee was just indulging in a little harmless teasing to lighten the atmosphere backstage," said a network spokesperson, "but then it went into overdrive."
The tussle, which was caught on security cameras, started when Grandma Lee called Ms. Padilla's hair extensions "rattails" and made fun of the massive train of her dress. "Who do ya think y'are, Princess Diana gettin' married? Glidin' all fancy down the aisle in St. Paul's Cathedral?" Grandma Lee taunted in sing-song as she twirled around and sashayed back and forth, circling around the lovely chanteuse.
When Ms. Padilla laughed lightly and brushed her off, Grandma Lee pressed harder. "I was once purty like you, yep'er", she said, pushing her wrinkled face close to Ms. Padilla's. "See these wrinkles? One day, you're gonna have some too-o-o-o!" she sang, blowing her denture breath on Padilla, who shrank away with a grimace.
"Atrás, saco de edad. ¿Por qué no juegas bien?" Ms. Padilla whispered under her breath, which is Spanish for: "Back off, you old bag. Why can't you play nice?".
"Are you talking about my JUGS?" yelled Grandma Lee, running up to Padilla. "What, I don't have nice firm titties like you?" she said, shoving her chest at her.
"I didn't say that," responded Ms. Padilla, struggling to regain her composure. The EriAm Sisters surrounded her, comforting her and imploring with Grandma Lee to "leave Miss Barbie alone".
Grandma Lee ignored them. "Sure as shit you did," she replied, "But it don' matter none, cuz I'm gonna kick your spic ass, Miss Fancy Pants Opera Singer! It's ONNN, bitch!". She then began to warble in an off-key imitation of Padilla as she yanked at the train of Ms. Padilla's dress.
"¡Vete, viejo podar!" [Go away, you old prune!] Padilla yelled as she snatched her dress from Grandma Lee's claw-like grip.
"Now you're talking 'bout my pooder and nobody talks 'bout my pooder!" shrieked Grandma Lee as she lunged at Padilla. A full-on catfight ensued, with the raging women screeching, pulling one another's hair and tearing at each other's clothes. Erik and Rickie, crying like little girls, ran for help while Drew Stevyns and Lawrence Beamen tried to pull the women off one another. By the time the security guards rushed in, Padilla and Grandma Lee had collapsed on the floor, blood pouring from bite marks and scratches all over their bodies. Padilla's hair extensions were strewn everywhere and her dress was in shreds. Grandma Lee, clad only in a men's wife beater tank top and Union Jack boxer shorts, lay bald and toothless, her wig suspended from an overhead light fixture and her dentures nowhere to be found. "I've fallen and I can't get up", she moaned.
Within a few moments paramedics arrived, and after determining that Ms. Padilla had sustained only superficial wounds, turned their full attention to Grandma Lee. They placed her in a neck brace, loaded her onto a stretcher and sped off to LA County Hospital, where she remains in stable condition.
Later that night, as he was getting ready for bed, Jeffrey Ou discovered Grandma Lee's dentures buried deep in his towering beehive hairdo.
The network has postponed the finals of America's Got Talent until the two women are well enough to compete. Dr. Phil, on loan from CBS, is planning an intervention for Grandma Lee to help her deal with her rage and jealousy issues. When informed of this, Grandma Lee said, "Bring him on, too! I'll ride him like a buckin' bronco! Wooeee!"
NBC is flying Susan Boyle in from Scotland to counsel Barbara Padilla, who is reportedly discouraged and afraid that she may have irreparably damaged her vocal chords from all the screeching. Though Boyle has said that she is prepared to do everything she can to help Ms. Padilla, she confided the contrary to a friend who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Susan would be relieved if Barbara's voice didn't come back", said the friend. "She doesn't want Barbara getting first place when she herself couldn't win Britain's Got Talent. Besides", she said, "there's no room at the top for two foxy brunettes singing the same operatic songs."
Paul Potts could not be reached for comment.