There's nowhere to go but down after a flat but sturdy set of Pittsburgh auditions

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January 20, 2012 at 05:05 AM EST

Well, that was a rather staid auditions hour. One and done! I always go into these episodes assuming we’re in for all sorts of colorful, crazy, time-wasting crap, but I think the wackiest part of this one was Steven Tyler proudly displaying his “secret red box” (not a euphemism, surprisingly) and GIANT plate of fruit.

I also loved when Steven treated the kids to a singalong of “Pink” as Jennifer Lopez sauntered in late, ready for some play, wearing her own glorious abs as a belt. Where can I buy a belt like J. Lo’s abs? Let me know if you have ideas.

Heejun Han, 22, set the tone for the episode. If anyone was going to be a trainwreck, it might be him — swanning around backstage as if in a daze, claiming “Now I’m thinking I’m not good at all,” marveling at Ryan Seacrest’s fist-sized face but then shying away from a side-by-side comparison because “I don’t think so, it’s just too much.” I very much enjoyed the Korean nonprofit organizer from Queens’ perspective and laid-back energy, and the fact that he delivered a convincing rendition of a Michael Bolton classic makes him one of my early faves.

Reed Grimm, 26, may have a more populist bent. He showed up in Pittsburgh fresh off the beach and launched right into a unique take on…the Family Matters theme song. Genius. Ooh. Now do Full House! Step by Step! Newhart! As J. Lo said, the mark of a great performer is that you never know which [TV theme] they’re gonna do. Reed is so handsome and universally appealing that she had to resort to pounding the table like a toddler who cannot yet speak and wants more birthday cake in order to get the fellas to help her vote Reed through.

Aaron Marcellus and Chase Likens got a quick “Now you see ’em…” edit. Aaron earned a “YO! You can sing.” from you know who for his “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and Chase has some of the longest eyelashes I’ve seen on a man. Both seem promising. Then out fluttered a steady stream of golden ticket holders. It was the Flashdance of the century. (38 made it through in Pittsburgh.)

NEXT: Plank you vedy much 

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Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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