Tonight, "American Idol" makes its first-ever stop in Oklahoma City -- the state that gave us one of the show's greatest stars -- Carrie Underwood.
But is there another Carrie in this bunch? If there is, we certainly didn't spot her. Host Ryan Seacrest said 45 golden tickets to Hollywood were given out here, but the hourlong show featured only a handful of them. And some were more questionable than exceptional.
A few highlights:
SPECIAL DELIVERY: The show got off on a decent note with Karl Skinner, a skinny, red-haired pizza chef from Joplin, Mo., who had passion and pipes to spare. He screamed out "I Feel Good" and then followed that up with a little ditty of his own while strumming his guitar. The judges ate it up and a happy Karl tossed in some extra sauce by chest-bumping Ryan Seacrest.
NATE THE GREAT? Nate Tao, 24, is an unassuming ASL teacher and both of his parents are deaf. He belts out a lovely -- if not remarkable -- version of Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life." The judges like it and he's a liakable dude. Onto Hollywood.
OSCAR THE SLOUCH: Halie Hilburn was brave (or weird) enough to show up for her audition with a furry dog puppet that looks like a car-wash rag. Turns out, she's a ventriloquist and her friend is named Oscar. They start off with what is kind of a duet, as Oscar contributes some yodeling to Halie's sweet tones.
The judges are intrigued, but they want to see what Halie can do on her own. ("I think Oscar's
Halie insists that Oscar won't be coming to Hollywood and moments later, we see the mangy mutt on the sidewalk with a "Will Yodel For Food" sign. Even worse, he soon winds up in a garbage dumpster.
SHE'S NO BEYONCE: In the astute words of Randy Jackson, Zoanette Johnson is "a whole party by yourself." Because President Obama won reelection, this big, boisterous woman belts out the "Star Spangled Banner" and the only thing we can say is that we wish it was lip-synched.
She squeaks and screeches and butchers the lyrics, but it doesn't matter as she goes on so gallantly screaming. The performance blows Keith right out of his chair and its more comical (horrifying?) than classical, but in a very strange decision, the judges send her through.
KAYDEN CAN: Kayden Stephenson is 16, looks even younger and is a heartbreaker. He has cystic fibrosis. His life expectancy is 35. Still, he absolutely gives off good, upbeat vibes and he's adorable. He sings Stevie Wonder's "I Wish," and though it's far from perfect, it's sweet and soothing. Nicki compares him to "Baby Michael" and says she's inspired. The gang sends him on through.
DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LADY: It's only fitting that a very weird night ends with former "Idol" judge and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler taking to the audition stage in drag, complete with a blonde wig, short skirt and honking hooters.
"Do I go through to Hollywood or what?" Tyler asks.
Oh, good Lord, no.