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I have this friend who thinks about American Idol at least once an hour. He’s constantly listening to Fantasia’s Free Yourself record, and he can’t bring himself to clear old Idol episodes off his DVR. Seriously, I think he’s got a problem.

(Crickets.)

What? No, I’m not talking about myself. Where in the world would you get that idea?

Anyhow, here’s a quintet of questions about Idol‘s first three weeks of audition episodes that have been keeping me my friend awake at night.

1. How come, on last night’s show, Ryan Seacrest referred to Paris Bennett (pictured) as one of two promising 16-year-olds who’ve made it to Hollywood, when, in fact, the powerhouse songbird (whose jazzy rendition of ”Take Five” has made her an early frontrunner) said she was 17 at her Greensboro, N.C. try-out? (We’re still waiting on a Fox spokesperson for the scoop.)

2. Do we need new glasses, or was that former Making the Band hopeful Tyra Juliette Schwartz singing ”In the Still of the Night” — and getting a thumbs up from the judges — also at the Greensboro auditions? (MTV says yep, same girl.)

3. What’s up with the rumor that Paula, Simon, and Randy never actually went to Austin? Apparently, it’s true: ”The judges never came to Austin because of our influx of Katrina and Rita evacuees. Instead, the Austin auditioners were flown to San Francisco, where they sang for the star judges,” writes Diane Holloway of the Austin American-Statesman. The show was then edited to make it look like it was filmed in the Lone Star State.

4. Is 16-year-old William Makar, whose ”Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” won kudos from Simon and Randy (but not Paula) the younger brother of The O.C.‘s Adam Brody? Probably not, but he could be!

5. And finally, will Paula ever release another album? Sorry, Vibeology fans, but according to Billboard.com, the singer-choreographer’s Idol schedule, along with her jewelry, fitness DVD, and cheerleading apparel businesses are making her return to the charts something of a long shot. (Insert your own joke about Paula’s chart-worthiness below. I’m not going there.)

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