'Pants on the Ground' is Internet sensation

ATLANTA --- He won't be the next American Idol , but the show's hardly over for "General" Larry Platt.

 

The 63-year-old civil rights veteran has become an Internet sensation after performing his original song, Pants on the Ground, at an audition for the ninth season of American Idol. It wasn't really singing or rapping, but it was performed with some gusto and even included a little break dancing for good measure.

Mr. Platt's fan base exploded after his Wednesday night debut, as his audition hit YouTube and Twitter. Within hours, he had been clicked and tweeted into one of the Internet's most popular topics. Jimmy Fallon reprised a version of the song on his show Thursday night, and Mr. Platt is scheduled for an appearance on ABC's daytime talk show The View next week.

Clips of Mr. Platt's Idol performance continued to get Web hits Friday on Twitter and YouTube.

"I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit," skeptical Idol judge Simon Cowell reluctantly predicted on the show.

Surrounded by plaques recognizing his work in civil rights and photographs of Mr. Platt with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Congressman John Lewis and others from that era at his home in east Atlanta this week, the e-celebrity seemed dazed by the attention.

His message is simple, and the lyrics of the song came to him one day after he spotted a young man holding a child, his pants hanging below his waist.

"After all this work I did with Dr. King ... walking around with your pants on the ground?" Mr. Platt said. "They're going to have to get them up. I'm sorry."

His show-stealing performance was the last of a round of auditions taped in Atlanta last August. He was allowed to perform even though the age cutoff was 28.

The spotlight on him, Contestant 103519 began belting out the now infamous verse: "Pants on the ground! Pants on the ground! Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!"

Mr. Cowell offered: "I don't think this is gonna be the last we hear about you. I have a feeling about you, Larry."

For Mr. Platt, the song was just another one of his causes. He said Thursday that he and his civil rights colleagues sacrificed too much for today's youth to walk around with sagging pants.