‘American Idol’: Kayden Stephenson Is Triumphant & Steven Tyler Looks Like A Lady

Last night (January 31st) saw the final round of American Idol auditions, where the judges could view the contestants in their natural environment on this whistle-stop tour across the country.

Next week, we’ll get to see all those Hollywood hopefuls start to get their first big taste of rejection in Tinseltown. I can barely contain myself. Like a vampire feasting on young, virgin blood, I grow strong by witnessing lifelong dreams being shattered on national television before my very eyes.

This past episode was also American Idol‘s last chance to jam in the last of the really bad auditions, so get ready for the parade of weirdos.

We’re in Oooooooklahoma City, where the wind goes sweeping down the plains. It’s Carrie Underwood‘s home state, so maybe it’s possible to expect one or two beautiful country-sanging blondes.

First contestant, Karl is a tiny ginger with a guitar. He is married, very excited and I’m eagerly anticipating his audition. First thing’s first: Karl needs his space to move around. This ought to be good.

Mariah Carey looks nice with some soft waves in her hair and a sparkly top. Nicki Minaj is dressed like a character from a Tim Burton movie.

Karl Skinner is a dead ringer for James Brown, except for, well, everything. He has a lot of energy, though. Keith Urban begs him to play the guitar. He starts to sing while strumming and the judges are taken with his personality. Karl is out of control and is going to Hollywood, possibly to try and eventually steal Ryan Seacrest‘s job.

A bad singer montage starts. A girl screams a song in the same high note over and over again. Clearly a no, no, no, no. We get some finger guns! Some jazz hands! A terrifying Barb shows up and butchers one of Nicki’s songs.

“The answer’s no, but I love you,” is Nicki’s way of using a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

Nate is a sign language teacher and I have one word: dimples. Mariah almost falls asleep briefly. He sings “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder quite nicely and all with a very winning smile. Also, I like his skinny black tie. Mariah perks up and claps yes. He gets all yeses.

A ventriloquist shows up to perform. Wacky music! I’m wondering if she’s going to secretly be amazing. Halie walks in with her bear name Oscar on her hand. I am so excited for her duet with her hand puppet.

Halie sings a traditional country standard with a classic country voice, complete with some yodeling from Oscar. Mariah poses a very valid logistical question regarding whether or not Oscar would open for her or vice versa, should Halie go on to be a successful musician.

Halie loses the puppet and sings again, earning herself a golden ticket. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to meet Halie posing with tourists in front of Mann’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where she will inevitably end up. God bless.

Zoanette is going to be amazing. She’s a hugger and not afraid of neon. I already admire her song choice of the national anthem. Just don’t let America find out you lip synced it. She refuses to hold a single note for more than a second or two. It’s completely insane and no press conference in the world could save this disaster.

Mariah helpfully cues Zoanette with the lyrics. I hope that this is the first time Keith is hearing our national anthem and assuming she nailed it.

“You are a whole party all by yourself,” Randy Jackson correctly points out. She uses her audition to ask for an invite to the White House. I think she’s going to Hollywood? I’m so confused. At least she’s not going to D.C., where she would immediately be swarmed by Secret Service agents.

Now for a montage of distraught contestants sobbing their way home after being rejected, complete with lots of mascara streaking down cheeks and, I think, one snot bubble. Then one guy bawls over his Golden Ticket.

Anastacia Freeman is awkward and emotional with her black French tips. She trips on her way in. To keep her from accidentally killing herself, the judges wisely advise her to take off her sky-high heels. She announces she will sing “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton and proceeds to make the tune unrecognizable. I can safely say that I have made pancakes that were less flat than her voice. For all her chutzpah, Anatacia is terrible and Mariah is wishing she could unhear this performance, having turned into a statue as she mentally visits her happy place.

I love how Mariah legitimately tries to understand how exactly God told this woman to audition. They are dedicating so much time to bad auditions this episode. Also, somewhere, there’s an actress who’s now added a dramatic reenactment on Idol to her IMDb page.

Cute little Kayden Stephenson is 16 and quite adorable in in his skinny red pants. He has cystic fibrosis and I’ve never heard a child sound as wise as he. I can’t even try to be funny here. He’s polite, calls Keith “sir” and sings Stevie Wonder. I am a hundred percent biased because I find him ridiculously charming. I think he even made Mariah blush. He’s going to Hollywood.

Suddenly, Steven Tyler shows up in a dress to confirm that yes, this is the silliest episode of the auditions. He introduces himself as Pepper LaBeija from the House of LaBeija and I have to give him props for the Paris is Burning reference, even if he does totally look like someone’s grandmother, with or without the wig.

This was by far, the most goofy episode, but guess what, folks? The library is closed!

Ooh, next week is Hollywood week. That’s right — when people stop being nice and start being REAL.

Expect to see lots of tears, screaming and the phrase, “I did not come here to make friends.” Mostly from the judges.