The Nashville auditions bring us a pageant queen and a superstar teen
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Thursday’s Nashville auditions episode of American Idol was a far cry from Wednesday’s riveting talent ‘n’ tears extravaganza. Screeching creeps and delusional dolts dominated the telecast, and of the 10 featured contenders, only a few truly inspired. The episode’s overarching theme — “Huh?” — was perhaps most evident very early on, when Randy Jackson asked a dental assistant who may or may not have a meth lab in her bathtub if she’d ever done cartoon voiceover work, and her answer was “I don’t know!”

Oh, lord. Would it get any better?

Kind of. Meet a few of your Golden Ticket Winners from the Nashville auditions….

First up: awkward exes Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks, both 23. I really liked Rob’s effortlessly smoky (good smoky, not smokerly) vocal on “What’s Going On,” and he’s got a bashful, normal guy vibe to him that reminded me of Lee DeWyze or maybe even David Cook. Chelsee’s got a great name, long red hair, and showed excellent range on Brandi Carlile’s “The Story,” which Lacey Brown sang last season. The judges much preferred their duet, but I wonder if that was just for TV purposes. Uh oh. J. Lo will not stand for this unless Rob and Chelsee get back together. “Get out of here and fall in love all over again,” Steven Tyler advised them on their way out. Sure, no problem. Chelsee’s new boyfriend seems really jazzed about it.

After lengthy check-ins with a little twerp who could touch her tongue to her nose and a tattoo artist who described himself as “many other things at the same time” (…high?), we were treated to some slow-motion shots of Miss Teen U.S.A. 2009. She gently leaned back. She parted her lips. She competed with Donald Trump in an orange-off. And then there she was, standing in front of the judges accusing Steven Tyler of reading. Stormi Henley, 19, who sang “Father Can You Hear Me?” weakly but in tune, is probably better-suited for America’s Next Top Victoria’s Secret Angel than American Idol. But the latter’s on the air right now, and so the latter she shall win! People want to see more of that on a screen every week, plain and simple.

“?” No.

For the first time since…fine, yesterday, I was compelled to re-watch an entire segment after 22-year-old Adrienne Beasley‘s audition. The black country girl and her white adoptive parents are all salt-of-the-earth people and I am still not over the cute factor of her dad’s reaction to her golden ticket over the phone: “Yeah, I’m tickled.” I’m going to start answering people like that all the time, even though no one will believe me because I’m a sarcastic bitch and not an endearing old man from Kentucky. Adrienne’s cover of Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey” gave me goosebumps when she hit “wild, wild whisper” and was the perfect song choice for the spirited beauty. I loved how Steven raved “You didn’t exist, you didn’t exist” to his fellow panel members in an effort to explain how much Adrienne had swept him away. Dream on, man. You’re stuck with these two jokers for four more months!

NEXT: Seacrest thinks it’s incest

I’m still so tickled by Ryan Seacrest (and the rest of America)’s assumption that Jackie Wilson‘s grizzly ol’ boyfriend was her dad that I can barely remember her voice. Okay, just checked. It was great! She reminded me of Kelly Clarkson in that you might not notice her walking by on the street, but as soon as she’s onstage, everything just makes sense and you stop checking your stupid iPhone for once. I agreed with Steven that Jackie sang Aretha Franklin’s “Until You Come Back to Me” like she had written it. That is no small feat. I wonder if Old Man River will make the trip to Hollywood so they can make out again.

Paul McDonald, 25, Jimmie Allen, 25, and Danny Pate, 23, got one of those confusing 3-in-1 mashup edits in which multiple contestants with the same ultimate fate have to split their screen time. Plaid-shirted Paul was my favorite, snapping along with a healthy tan and not a care in the world to Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” I’m pretty sure the J. Lo “cheerleader yes” they’d been teasing throughout the episode went to Danny. Jimmie (black guy, red tee) sang “Sunday Morning” and I wanted much more (and for it to be Sunday morning). Come on, Idol, give me more men! There was no need to spend more than a soft-focus pageant wave on the “unique” (delusional!) blue gown lady.

I think I liked Matt Dillard‘s family more than his voice. They’d helped 700 special-needs foster children, and he sang just one Josh Groban song. Can you blame me? These are not even stacks. I was surprised the judges didn’t just ask the beefy creature in overalls and a tight black tank to sing something else after they seemed surprised by his song choice. Then again, nothing about the judges made sense here. Randy gave Matt “a very small yes,” J. Lo said “no,” and guess what? He’s going to Hollywood.

Georgia resident Lauren Alaina, 15, can do a cartwheel. She delivered her sob story — cousin/inspiration Holly survived a brain tumor three years ago — in what appeared to be her bedroom, so even though the content itself was sad, the pink guitar and multiple boas were sort of cracking me up. She definitely had a powerhouse vocal on Faith Hill’s “Like We Never Loved At All,” but at this point I feel almost a bit manipulated by the “we went and saved the best for last” routine. Lauren’s praise was well-deserved, but they really heaped it on. It was cute, though, how each of the judges’ critiques reflected their personalities. The faux-magnanimous Randy Jackson: “You could have sang the whole thing.” Diva “softie” J. Lo: “Don’t cryyyyy. You’re gonna make me cry, too!” And tireless optimist Steven Tyler: “You’re gonna make 40 million people cry. Tears of joy, baby.” Someone’s overestimating the ratings! I love it.

In case you missed it on PopWatch last night, check out’s ‘Idol’ Audition Rounds Bingo Card and be sure to play next week.

See you then!

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Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

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