The Oklahoma City auditions feature a ventriloquist yodeler and Steven Tyler in drag. Two different people, I promise!

By Annie Barrett
Updated February 01, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST
Idol Steven Ryan Drag
Credit: Fox

This final auditions episode was just an hour, yet felt like a huge joke. You’ve gotta hand it to Idol for packing in so much quality content — a puppet dog named Oscar, a delusional creep who believed God told her to audition terribly, and drag queens both established and unconfirmed. The surge of carefully cut, staggeringly relevant footage really hit a high point when Randy Jackson wondered, “What is happening in Oklahoma, Ryan?” and Ryan said “I don’t know, Randy.” Ruminate on that for awhile and tell me you weren’t just visited from God yourself.

Five out of 45 golden ticket meet-and-greets ain’t bad! I mean, it’s terrible, but whatever. The auditions are over. Meltdown Week, here we come!

The best thing I can say about proud Joplin, Missouri and Ginger Nation representative Karl Skinner, 26, is that he can play the guitar. “Elvis had a guitar!” helpfully contributed Mariah Carey. He was pretty annoying all-around with the James Brown dancing and screeching and couldn’t even stay on pitch during his lone wail in the confessional area.

After “I Feel Good,” Karl fared a little better with a surprisingly staid original tune with the guitar — but the judges preferred the crazy. “I felt the guitar was like restricting that monster inside,” said Nicki, apparently envisioning a tiny yet ferocious orange-colored kitten. Randy decided Karl “could be the Idol mascot” with his professional-sounding take on the title of the show. Awww, somebody hug Seacrest. He feels left out.

This painful chest bump will have to do. The circle of life — it moves us all.

NEXT: Ryan saw The Sign I really liked Nate Tao, the 24-year-old sign language teacher with two deaf parents and a fondness for business-casual costuming. “You look like you’re about to do my taxes!” cried Randy. Low blow, Dawg. It’s not like he’s wearing GLASSES. Nate offered a nice, unique tone on “For Once In My Life” that could take him pretty far — it’s just not a very big voice.

“Seems like singing is easy for you,” said Keith, and that might be the best compliment he’ll get throughout the competition. Really cute, humble kid, though — and I loved seeing his dad sign “congratulations/I love you” outside. Here’s Ryan attempting the sign for “superstar” and achieving a cross between a technical foul and a sexual gesture.

The native signers are not impressed.

A female ventriloquist who can sing! Obviously Halie Hilburn, 27, needed her own segment, especially considering she had to share the spotlight with that scene-stealing bitch Oscar the Dog. (“I’m Oscar!” –the dog.) “I think Oscar’s holding you back,” gently suggested Keith Urban following Halie and her puppet’s duet on “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” You do have to hand it to the girl for yodeling with her mouth closed, though. Unless OSCAR DID IT.

Halie proved herself as a human being who miiiiight not need a gimmick in order to do well on Idol with a very pretty cover of “More Than Anyone” as former point of interest Oscar lay sprawled between platform and dirty floor, now just a useless heap of rags in a world with no use for him. The editors went a touch overboard with the abuse, eventually offering Oscar a colorful new home.

I’m gonna need to go reread The Velveteen Rabbit after this to shake off the stink.

NEXT: Zoanette Johnson? Really?! Colorful wackaloon Zoanette Johnson, “19,” brutally murdered the national anthem to the unfathomable delight of the judges, her pitchy runs at one point knocking featherweight Keith Urban onto the floor. I found myself vaguely amused by her antics but only in an “Obviously she won’t go through” sort of way. What the hell? This is the only aggressively crazy person they’ve let through so far, so it’s just like…why her?

Well, why not, I guess. I’ve never seen a person (?) transition from a rueful accusation of President Obama (for not inviting her to the White House because “he needs another Barbie in there”) to an impatient and over-it “Come on, I got a lunch date,” to a grand reveal of her shiny black bike shorts in a deep drop-it-like-it’s-hot squat. That doesn’t mean I’d like to see it again. But maybe some people would?

And now for the Make-a-Wish portion of tonight’s telethon: Kayden Stevenson, 16, suffers from cystic fibrosis and has a life expectancy of 35. The little blondie looked like a 9-year-old model for a surfing-themed clothing commercial while singing “I Wish,” which broke my heart a tiny bit, and then the full heartbreak came later when, after Randy complimented his confidence, Kayden remarked, “I don’t know — I guess I’m born with it. I’m lucky.” SOB. But I mean, let’s be honest, this kid does not have a great voice.

Finally, surprise! Former judge Steven Tyler stopped by in all his incredulous-face-crinkling glory to “audition” as noted drag queen and fashion designer Pepper LaBeija. Anyone else think he really didn’t need that blonde wig to make his point? All glamour as always, Tyler mooned the judges on his way out, shackled that wig onto Seacrest’s noggin in a desperate effort to retain his balance, and generally reminded us what a delightfully strange puddle of nonsense he is. Do we miss Steven Tyler yet? I honestly wouldn’t mind regular drop-ins from him. (Droppings?)

That’s it — are you glad you sat through this important episode? Who’s your fave so far?

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