A few local loons and dissension among the judges provide a welcome change of pace for the Texas auditions
Idol Baylie Brown
Credit: Fox
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Welcome to Texas. Here you’ll find more tragic Scotty McCreery impersonators, a woman accidentally punching Ryan Seacrest in the mouth (!), and, incredulously, not one but two delusional males attempting to sing “Unbreak My Heart.” You’ll also find a blue-tongued swamp creature who angrily insists he is the leader — nay, the embodiment — of a revolution, yet cannot name a single aspect of the current world that is problematic. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…an excuse to play Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” Hooray!

But a better reason to cheer last night was that in addition to some more colorful crazies than we’ve been used to seeing in last few weeks, last night’s Galveston audition round finally had the judges disagreeing about things. And this wasn’t just your typical off-the-wall banter, like Steven Tyler wailing “I love fruit wahooooo-deli-deedleedah” and Randy Jackson yelping “Dawg’s allergic to berries!” This was a full-out, boys vs. girls war about some of the actual contestants! Ah, it was good to fight again.

Specifically, J. Lo liked three girls, but Steven and Randy dismissed them. I’m just gonna go with my huge, jiggly gut instinct here and guess that they weren’t cute enough. Pretty in the face, hot in the body. That’s right. Unless you have a decent sob story, once you’ve stepped onto the “can sing” landing area on the ladder, those are — for better or worse — some often insurmountable rungs to clear. I’m not saying that’s fair. It’s just how it is.

And yeah, we all know how it works, but it was still pretty creepy to watch this deliberately edited clip show of Steven and Randy’s disapproving facial expressions as they decided whether or not they’d want to have sex with certain contestants and then deciding nahhhhhhh, not today. Maybe I’m being gross and those first three, who could sing very well, weren’t remarkable for other reasons. But I’m quite certain the fourth girl, Linda Williams, was a skinny, sassy, well-dressed uberhottie who had a bitchin’ leather jacket and could barely hold a note — and she’s through to Hollywood. I tried to roll my eyes, but it was hard — I really wanted that jacket.

I’m very hopeful for Skylar Laine, a 17-year-old deer-killer whose family owns a restaurant that cleverly fronts as a grocery store to shield its true identity. I wanted every sandwich on that menu, by the way, and this is as good a time as any to announce that I love places that have those types of menus with the letters you have to individually stick on. That’s a whole lotta love. Skylar calls her family members “Pepaw” and “Memaw,” exudes genuineness, and delivered a solid country twang on “Hell on Heels” by the Pistol Annies. She even put a surprise spin on the final notes. I love her! She was so good that the bringing in of her friend, who wanted to hug Steven Tyler, was more of an awkward aside instead of the main event of the audition. The tables are turning, indeed.

NEXT: Why pay for a divorce lawyer when you could buy a plane ticket? Enter Baylie Brown, a gorgeous 21-year-old whose dream had been thwarted by two evil bitches from New Jersey. That’s the way her story was presented, anyway. None of us liked Antonella Barba, so I enjoyed Baylie’s “pleasantly spiteful” spin on things. (Time to Google Antonella Barba! But seriously, don’t.) During her season 6 audition, Ryan called Baylie a “Texas Rose,” so “Bed of Roses” was an appropriately edgy song choice for her. “Tell you what: You got significantly better,” announced Randy, who of course had no idea what he was supposed to be comparing this to, but it didn’t matter because he was RIGHT! Girl better not forget the words in Hollywood this time. And any female from…to be safe, let’s say all of the mid-Atlantic states…needs to just BACK OFF.

Kristine Osorio crept in and meekly announced that she was 28. “So this is it,” lamented Randy as he started to write her obituary in his head. Just kidding, that would be way too much effort. I thought Kristine’s cover of Adele’s “One and Only” was a little shouty, but I guess that can be the nature of the song if you’re not Adele. Despite his previously stated aversion to contestants singing Adele songs, Steven raved, “I love when you go upstairs; your tenderness is beautiful.” I really liked Kristine’s spirit, but I don’t know if I can see her making it too far. I just hope for her three kids’ sakes that she can squeeze in enough home haircuts to pay her divorce lawyer. Ugh, reality check on a reality show. Don’t you hate when that happens?

More sadness: Cortez Shaw, 20, has been homeless on and off throughout his short little life. The guy is definitely a charmer — delighting girls in the waiting area and delivering slick lines like “No one can put a definition on your life” and “American Idol is opportunity at its greatest” to the camera. He’s like high-grade extra (probably not) virgin olive oil, ready to be soaked up by that porous old dinner roll Nigel Lythgoe. Cortez launched right into a sped-up version of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” and Randy must have had the same knee-jerk “OH HELL NO” reaction that I had, because he almost immediately held up his diva hand for the boy to stop.

It’s not that Cortez was bad — he’s great! I think we just wanted something different. Sometimes it lasts in cover songs, but sometimes it hurts instead. I actually wouldn’t have minded hearing a whole new tune from Cortez, and for a moment it seemed like Randy was about to ask for one. But instead the judges wrapped things up with some blah comments as usual. “You’re good-looking. You’re sweet,” said J. Lo. “I think you’re a good-looking guy. Really good voice,” added Randy. “I say yes,” said Steven. Come on, Randy, throw a tantrum!

A little less sadness but a little more intrigue: Ramiro Garcia, 28 (this one not on the verge of death, apparently), was born with no ears. Doctors said he’d never be able to hear or speak, let alone sing. One doctor even said he’d never get to audition for American Idol. But that doctor soon lost his medical license and became the #1 psychic in the U.S.A., thank God. Ramiro sang a very emotional and pleading “Amazing Grace” as his father — who might be my favorite character so far — quietly wept outside. Ryan, who was LOVING it, kept prompting him, “It’s all right, you can get emotional now, don’t you worry about it.”

Once Ramiro had been set free from the chains of his pre-audition existence, J. Lo told the worship leader, “I guess we’re taking a leap of faith with you today.” I’m not sure Ramiro’s vocal will distinguish him enough in Hollywood, but his story was incredibly rewarding and that dad was the greatest. The best was when he was so choked up he had to be subtitled: “Guess what? I’m happy now.”

You too?

Until next week, y’all — don’t pet the sweaty things.

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