What a difference five years and some honey-colored lowlights can make. American Idol golden ticket winner Baylie Brown had auditioned for season 6 in 2007, only to be thwarted during the dreaded Hollywood week group numbers by some terrible creatures from New Jersey. Watch the now-21-year-old sing Faith Hill in front of (WE MISS YOU) Simon, Paula, and Randy.

Baylie Brown: Season 6 audition

I felt weird typing “WE MISS YOU” above, because Simon Cowell was so generic and scripted and awful throughout The X Factor last fall. What I really meant was that season 11 of American Idol sorely misses the American Idol version of Simon Cowell — poking fun at Paula and offering actual criticism to an already very talented contestant. What a concept! These days the judges wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and good ol’ Dawg can barely ask the delusional sad sacks to leave the room for fear of seeming impolite. They just thank them profusely, over and over, praying that they’ll get the message. Guess what? They won’t! They’re delusional!

Anyway, here’s our Texas Rose last night on a “Bed of Roses”:

Baylie Brown: Last night’s season 11 audition

I love that she took more than Simon’s prescribed “a few years” — a whopping five — before marching back into the arena with her head held high. Plus, she has movie star waves now! She’s a shoo-in.

Were you as glad to see her as I was?

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Ask Annie anything about ‘Idol’ (or whatever) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture.