With more than 11,000 “American Idol” auditions, the saying that things are bigger in Texas is debatable, but things are definitely gayer. Or more gay, if you want to get grammatically correct about it.
Actor, singer, out and proud Neil Patrick Harris (top photo) was the celebrity guest for most of the hour. The fake arguments between him and Simon set to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” theme were cringe-worthy time wasters, as was Miss Ryan flirting with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
A Jonas Brother showed up for the last 20 minutes to look moody, flip his hair, flash his purity ring and say nothing.
Where are the winged monkeys when you need them? Julie Kevelighan auditioned during season one in Dallas alongside eventual winner Kelley Clarkson. Nine years ago, Julie was a delusional, chunky Screech Owl wearing too much make-up. Now she’s a thinner, delusional Screech Owl wearing too much make-up. After a forced medley of “Black Velvet,” “Something to Talk About” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” she had to be escorted out of the room.
Finger licking good: Lloyd “Big and Sexy” Thomas grew up in the projects, works the docks and seemed like he was going to be a big train wreck. So when he started singing “Overjoyed” in a smooth, soulful voice, I clocked him as the heir apparent to Ruben Studdard. After he received his golden ticket, he kept licking his fingers and saying, “taste what I taste right now. It’s delicious.” If the singing thing doesn’t work out, KFC will surely hire him as a pitchman.
Child stars gone bad: Erica Rhodes (second photo) used to be part of the “Barney & Friends” cast, an adorable little girl singing and dancing with a purple dinosaur. Fast forward a few years, and she’s in a dominatrix outfit and cracking a whip. After she gave a pageant-worthy performance of En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind,” the judges put her through, and Neil called her a dirty little girl. Giggle.
Paging Dr. Doogie Howser: Neil correctly diagnosed contestant Dave Pittman with Tourette Syndrome after a nice cover of “Bring It On Home To Me.” His ticks and throat clearing disappeared when he sang, and I found him oddly cute, even with his misshapen Owen Wilson nose.
Ones to watch for in Hollywood: Todrick Hall toured with Fantasia in “The Color Purple” and sang an original song about himself. A little too Broadway, but he has some chops. Megan Wright’s cover of Adele’s “To Make You Feel My Love” was a nice surprise, although her coochie-cutter shorts being sucked into her nether regions was a distraction. Cancer survivor Christian Spear had a good—not quite great—voice, but the judges were falling all over her. She’s got a commercial look and sound, so she might make the Top 24.
At the end of the hour, 31 people received golden tickets to Hollywood, and we got a preview of next week’s abysmal looking Denver auditions. Victoria “Posh Praying Mantis Spice” Beckham is back as guest judge. Ellen can’t show up soon enough.
Collin Kelley is a poet, Atlanta-based journalist and author of the recently released novel, “Conquering Venus.” Follow him on the Modern Confessional blog at collinkelley.com.