TRIPOLI -- Fleeing armed rebels and unarmed protesters, Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi has accepted the international community's offer of exile in Hollywood, where he will appear as a judge on Season 11 of the hit television show American Idol.
"It's hard to keep a show fresh and unpredictable after 10 years on the air, so we're excited to have Col. Qaddafi as a judge next season," said Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "Qaddifi combines the wackiness of Steven Tyler and Paula Abdul with the tyrannic intensity of Simon Cowell. And his chemistry with Ryan Seacrest during the audition was unbelievable!"
Governments around the world uniformly praised the diplomatic breakthrough.
"The Libyan people gain their freedom from a murderous psychopath, and the American people gain another year of great television," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva. "This kind of win-win is the essence of smart diplomacy."
The recently struck deal, however, also breathes new life into lingering suspicions of a double standard in the Obama administration's handling of the revolutions in Libya and Egypt. Addressing this issue, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained, "Hosni Mubarak is a 82-year-old autocrat with no knowledge of modern pop music, whereas Col. Qaddafi has paid for personal concerts by the likes of Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Nelly Furtado. The two situations really couldn't be more different."
Republicans predictably criticized the new agreement.
"When America sheltered Nazi scientists after World War II, we at least got the Apollo moon program out of it," said Speaker of the House John Boehner. "What are we getting from Qaddafi? A better way to make some tone-deaf kid from Wichita cry?"
Potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted, "I guess Stalin had a scheduling conflict. And yes, I do know Stalin is dead." (UPDATE: See related article, "Chris Matthews: 'Why Is Sarah Palin Lying About Knowing Josef Stalin Is Dead?'")
At least one veteran television personality, speaking on condition of anonymity, also expressed confusion. "Steven Tyler's antics brought great ratings, but I guess he just became too unmanageable on the set," Kelsey Grammer told Reuters. "But why the State Department and the American Idol producers think a tyrant who bombed his own people will be any more reasonable is just beyond me."
Confronted with Grammer's anonymous comments, new State Department spokesperson Charlie Sheen responded, "Kelsey Grammer's mind cannot process how many bad-ass gnarly gnarlingtons are still out there. Even if Qaddafi flames out, we can keep filling a dictator's seat at that judges' table for decades, bro. I'm an F-18. Winning!"
Steven Tyler could not be reached for comment.