8 p.m. Before rushing off to try to catch Louis C.K.'s new Sundance documentary, it's time to recap "American Idol" auditions from Dallas.

8:01 p.m. Kady Malloy footage? Oh yes. I'm most certainly sold on Texas auditions. 

8:02 p.m. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders? Well that's just gilding the lilly.

[More after the break...]

8:03 p.m. Tonight's "American Idol" guest judge is Neil Patrick Harris, the first male guest judge of the season and the first judge I feel confident will be legend... wait for it... very good. NPH gets off to a good start by declaring, "If I can make two, three dozen people cry, I feel like I've done my job."

8:04 p.m. Julie Kevelighan, that young lady who did the classically awful version of Lady Marmalade is back, holding a sign that reads "This is my year." This is not, in fact, her year. To her credit, though, this isn't nearly as memorably bad a performance as her "Lady Marmalade."  NPH isn't a fan of either her song or the spacing in her sign. As they reject her, she starts singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." NPH instantly observes, "You changed key right in the middle." He's funny *and* substantive. Julie says that her mistake was one of breath control.

8:11 p.m. The ladies have been good in Dallas, but we don't get to meet any of them. Instead, we get to meet dock worker Lloyd Thomas, who has two daughters and a good sense of humor. He's got a slightly nasally, but mostly respectable Stevie Wonder cover. It gets better as he goes along, closing with "That's what's up." Kara knows a few things about dock workers, apparently. NPH likes his voice, but wants to see more of his personality. It was Simon's favorite audition of the day. Lloyd is astounded when Randy gives him a *billion* percent yes. Lloyd's mathematic gifts may be better than Randy's. He refers to his joy as "tangible." I like Lloyd.

8:14 p.m. NPH and Simon are butting heads. 

8:15 p.m. Up next is Kimberly Carver, who's singing an original. This is the second straight episode with a good original song. Will wonders never cease? Randy tells her that it doesn't matter the song, she could sing anything. Even the phone book, Randy? Simon, though, thought there was nothing original or current about Kimberly, but NPH disagrees. Kimberly only gets a *million* percent "Yes" from Randy, which means that compared to Lloyd, her voice is pathetic. Kimberly only gets a "No" from Simon, who says, "Welcome to Jazz TV."

8:22 p.m. Dexter Ward tells us that the show is over, that he's the next "American Idol." He's wrong. Is it just me or have the producers stopped finding truly funny auditioners? It seems that they're content to get laughs from contestants who are "flamboyant"? Dexter's bad, but he isn't funny. Why are we wasting this time? He's sent packing.

8:24 p.m. Dexter starts a bad run, forcing tears out of one singer after another. That NPH must be vicious. The judges take a break, giving Ryan the chance to chat with Neil Patrick Harris, who says that he's been impressed by the talent. I'm not sure what he's talking about, since in 24 minutes, we've only see two good singers.

8:25 p.m. Erica Rhodes, a former "Barney" actress, comes in with knee-high boots and a whip. "It says here you used to be a dinosaur or something," Simon asks. Erika sings "I Love You, You Love Me" for the judges. For her actual performance, Erica does "Free Your Mind," cracking her whip first. "What's the big dream here?" Simon asks, "I know what mine is." Erica responds, "I want people to know that 'Barney' girls grow up." The judges are loving Erica's personality and sex appeal. I agree with those things. But is nobody going to mention her voice? She wasn't very good. Her voice was high and thin. But she *is* hot.

8:33 p.m. The final Day One contestant has the odds stacked against him, which must mean he's awesome. Dave Pittman has Tourette's Syndrome. He has an assortment of evident ticks, but he says they don't impact his singing. He sings "Bring It Home To Me" and, indeed, the things we saw him doing in the clip package are either absent or covered in other vocal mannerisms. He has super tone. NPH brings Dave's Tourette's up, calling it the "weird elephant in the room." Simon thinks people are going to like Dave. NPH calls him "crazy brave," as Dave gets a ticket to Hollywood. Good for him. 

8:36 p.m. Ack. Miley Cyrus song. How have we avoided it so long? Stupid "Party in the USA." Well, at least I know what'll be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

8:40 p.m. That's it for Neil Patrick Harris. He's been replaced by Random Jonas Brother.

8:41 p.m. The Jonas in question is Joe. That's what Kara DioGuardi tells me. And I believe her. Randy declares himself "The Fourth Jonas Brother." Poor actual Bonus Jonas.

8:42 p.m. The day's first singer is Todrick Hall. He's got an original song about his journey to Dallas, an amusing collection of rhyming couplets. The dude's got some talent. Randy calls it "cute," but Simon is annoyed by the novelty. Randy and the Jonas Brother are pleased, but Simon isn't jumping out of his chair. Todrick gets four "Yes" votes. He also does flips.

8:44 p.m. Several other singers get sent to Hollywood. Simon especially likes the chica with the headband and the "personality" named Stephanie. 

8:45 p.m. Maegan Wright seems like 75 generic blondes we've had on "American Idol." She has divorced parents and a truly annoying camera hog of a younger brother. She's got a little bit of that Carmen Rasmusen look and a Carmen Rasmusen bleat. And in these economic teams, American needs a new Carmen Rasmusen more than ever.

8:52 p.m. Pink-loving Vanessa Johnston says she's super positive and that she's going to be the next "American Idol." She's factually inaccurate. She hopes her enthusiasm will come through the TV. It does. What also comes through the TV is Vanessa's inability to hit a single note in her version of "At Last." Seriously. Not one. She misses every single note. Simon tells Vanessa that she's given no face and voice to his nightmares. Vanessa gets four "No" votes and yells, "YAY!!!"

8:54 p.m. Montage explaining why Simon is so grumpy. Why did this episode require filler?

8:56 p.m. The night's last contestant is 16-year-old cancer survivor Christian Spear. Would be think she was good if she weren't also inspirational? Probably. Would we think she was great? No. Not really. Simon thinks she's incredibly brave. Christian also gets a billion percent "Yes" from Randy, tying Lloyd for the night's best.

8:58 p.m. There were 31 Golden Tickets from Dallas. That's a lot.

8:59 p.m. Up next for "American Idol"? We're off to Denver. And up next for me? Hopefully, the comic stylings of Louis C.K.

 

Who did you love from Dallas?