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AI: The Nightmares Before Hollywood

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Idol went to Omaha, and all it got were 19 contestants for Hollywood and a crapload of lousy auditions (Johnny Escamilla's above, but more on him later). Idol now need only add a cute, obnoxiously precocious little kid—or Scrappy Doo—to make its shark-jumpy season complete.

The show started off with an absentee Paula Abdul, who was apparently stuck (hungover?) on a plane somewhere—meaning the loopiest judge had to miss the loopiest contestant, the amazing exploding Chris Bernheisel. Bernheisel tried bribing the judges. He did a handstand. But nothing could obscure the fact that he is hopelessly tone-deaf. But with this particular audition, Simon Cowell proved once and for all that he's riding a Prozac high of Abdul-like proportions. Obviously charmed by Bernheisel's silliness, Cowell suggested that the flamboyant Kelly Clarkson stalker contact the Omaha Fox affiliate for an on-screen gig hosting the final Idol episode of the season for the local TV audience.

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