- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hard on the heels of last year’s disastrous “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” comes playwright-filmmaker Tyler Perry’s sequel “Madea’s Family Reunion,” which was wisely released today without having been prescreened by critics. No matter how groan-inducingly bad his movies are, Mr. Perry has what most entertainers can only covet: a built-in following that will consume, and probably like, whatever he produces. Against the likes of Mr. Perry and the following quintet, critics are powerless.

Andrew Lloyd Webber This composer’s Broadway juggernaut “The Phantom of the Opera,” running now for nearly 20 years, has officially outlasted his other bulletproof creation, “Cats.” Critics hated other Lloyd Webber productions such as “Starlight Express,” but he laughed all the way to the bank.

—Bon Jovi— These Jersey hair-metalists know full well that ink-stained rock-press wretches don’t respect them. The band cheekily titled its 2004 boxed-set of rarities “100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong.” Yes, they can.

—John Tesh — Ridicue him all you want: The former “Entertainment Tonight” co-host and new age instrumentalist sells millions of albums to a niche market that doesn’t cringe at the sound of bombastic piano compositions or Mary Hart’s voice.

—American Idol— The more TV critics pan Fox’s slice of amateur-singer magic (for increasing nastiness, decreasing level of talent or what have you), the more viewers flock to it. A sign of the show’s overpowering popularity: It crushed the broadcast of the professional music industry’s Grammy Awards earlier this month, attracting nearly twice as many viewers (28 million versus CBS’ 15 million).

—Jerry Bruckheimer — When critics hear the name of this movie and television producer, they brace themselves for brainless mayhem. Yet the public usually turns out in droves for Bruckheimer-backed movies such as “National Treasure” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” both surprise hits.

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