‘American Idol’: The Judges Mess With Texas

Becky Bain | February 3, 2011 8:00 am

American Idol headed to Austin, Texas to kick off their third week of auditions, but not before having to apologize for Steven Tyler’s “outrageous” behavior at the top of the show. Was it the bleeped-out cursing? The flirting with girls several half-lives his own age? We’re not particularly sure since it was a jokey non-nonsensical apology over black that was as vague as it was brief. What Idol should really be apologizing for is nixing the clueless, hopeless contestants in favor of highlighting lots of good ones. (Or, typically, mediocre ones with potential.) Maybe we’re just not yet used to Idol‘s new nurturing personality?

Though a few less-than-amazing singers cried their way to Hollywood, we must say many were standouts: 23-year old John Wayne Shultz (real name!), who could very well be the show’s male Carrie Underwood, donned a cowboy hat and showed off his velvety smooth voice while singing “Believe” by Brooks and Dunn. And 17-year old Courtney Penry delivered a gorgeous cover of Sugarland’s “Stay”, but the more interesting factoid about this Texan is that she is obsessed with Ryan Seacrest, whom she calls “the sexiest man alive.”

Another dallop of crazy: “I will marry him someday.” This is more disturbing than her imitating a chicken for the judges. (Twice.) She’s off to Hollywood, and Ryan is off to file a restraining order.

Another surprisingly good set of contestants were Nick Fink and Jaqueline Dunford, the kind of schmoopy-schmoop couple you never, ever want to sit next to on a long car ride. They want to be American Idol‘s “first power couple”. Wasn’t that Paula Abdul and Cory Clark? (Yeah, I went there.) They both can really sing, which makes us assume they go around singing show tunes all day in front of their extremely annoyed friends.

The Chris Sligh of Season 10 has been found in 19-year old Seth Rogan/Fraggle Rock look-a-like Casey Abrams and his melodica. Casey was the last for the day, and broke out some serious soul by singing Ray Charles. He gets an immediate, unanimous “YES!” from the judges, which is more from their exhaustion from the day’s auditions than a reflection of how much they liked his performance.

Don’t think we didn’t notice you slipping in Lee DeWyze’s version of “Beautiful Day” in the middle of the episode, Idol producers! Hey, he needs all the support he can get.

What did you think of last night’s audition rounds? Any frontrunners in this batch? Or will all the real stars come out tonight when they head to Hollywood?