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American Idol: Dallas Audition

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Tonight's episode restored some hope for this season of American Idol, aided both with better contestants and structure: every once in awhile the writers and editors can get kind of cute on this show and it turns out fairly funny. I liked tonight's "Dallas" intro and the political video of Kyle, The New Clay, was pretty clever.

What made the show more fun to watch than last night's was that many of obviously-subpar contestants sang better than you'd expect, like the Christian pimp Renaldo, or were just jerky or strange enough that the pity levels were kept low, with like Doug "Dwight Schrute" Davidson, the guy who wouldn't leave, who, by the way, has a strange relationship with his father.

I also enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure out who was fake. I have developed a suspicion that every person on reality TV has a completely made-up onscreen persona. Thus I thought the super-adorable cowboy was a little too "aw shucks" and the happy happy car accident victim might be the creation of an aspiring comedienne, sort of like a good and decent Jerri Blank.

Generally the show felt less insulting to watch–I didn't get the impression that editors were giving the audience the hard sell on who they should root for or were being overly cruel to the losers. Maybe Philly was a dud, or maybe the producers just got lucky with Dallas, the town that produced a person who prompted Paula Abdul to tell someone to get a "reality check."

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

—Giving birth at American Idol tryouts is crazy but do your child a favor and name him Simon or Ryan or even Randy—not "Idol."

—There were a lot of creeps this episode. Like the brother and sister duo who you know were home-schooled. And that guy who collects nail shavings. Even if he sang Hall and Oates, he's clearly a sociopath.

—I had mixed feelings about that virgin boy. On the one hand, obviously, ha-ha, but on the other, part of me was a little happy to see someone other than a girl in that creepy-ass "God–and my Dad–own my virginity!" scenario. However, you could tell he knew how cute he was and assumed he would be going to Hollywood. I think his smugness sunk him, which means I don't have to worry about him anymore nor about the state of his virginity.

—Simon's wearing looser shirts. Baby bump?

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