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AI: Miami Sound Machine

American Idol embraced its own unique brand of cheese with the opening sequence of the Miami auditions episode on Wednesday, aping the holy temple of TV cheesiness, Miami Vice.

But after that fleeting moment of honesty, viewers were again treated to the patented Idol mix of manipulation, likely deception, and as always, pure delusion.

One contestant from the manipulation category was pretty, slender Shannon McGough, a butcher and the apple of her doting parents’ eyes. AI producers pulled one of their semiregular bait-and-switch gags with Shannon. Her looks and her parents’ preening over her accomplishments made it seem as though she might come in and rock the judges’ worlds, but in the end, she was outrageously bad, with a screechy tone and shuddering vibrato that wouldn’t appeal to undersexed billygoats.