Big & Rich's John Rich has a bone to pick with 'American Idol.' During a press event in Pasadena, Calif., Rich ranted about a recent flub by 'Idol' judge Paula Abdul.

"'American Idol' infuriates me as an artist," he told reporters. "They're being fake about it. When you can't make a cognizant comment about someone's performance and you're commenting on something that happened the day before, why don't you just walk up on stage and slap them right across the face while you're at it? As an artist, I would just flip them the bird and walk off the stage. She wasn't even paying attention to what was going on."

Abdul's blunder happened two weeks ago on a live show, when she critiqued a contestant's performance that she'd only seen in rehearsal but that did not air on television. That's just part of the reason why Rich thinks that 'Idol' is a "scripted" reality show whose ratings are "going into the toilet right now." Rich went on to tell reporters that his own reality talent show, 'Nashville Star,' is all real.

"We have to respect the fans' ears and eyes and give them something that's for real. Don't try to con them," he said. "And I think that's why 'American Idol,' in my opinion, is just dive-bombing. I can't stand watching it. I wouldn't want to be on that show now if you gave me a 100 dollar bill."

Executives at the FOX television network are fighting back. They quickly released a statement in response to Rich's criticisms: "John Rich's ungentlemanly and opportunistic comments are particularly disturbing considering the fact he attended a taping of 'American Idol' last April, told producers, judges and performers he enjoyed himself and also did an interview with a crew from 'American Idol Extra' where he was extremely complimentary toward the show."