The sixth season of "American Idol" opened Tuesday night, with its irresistible mix of delusional divas and a sprinkling of singers who can carry a tune, looking so good by comparison to the guy dressed like Apollo Creed.
But if you thought Tuesday's show, taken from the auditions in Minneapolis, was a hoot, stand back. Ken Warwick, a series executive producer, tells the Associated Press that today's show from Seattle will top it.
"If you don't watch any other episode this year, watch Seattle," he says. "Seattle is just the funniest place we have ever been to in our lives: We are shocked and appalled and amazed and hysterical over it."
Great, Ken -- now you tell us. But how will Seattle best the drama we already saw? Consider:
Last words: Rejected contestants face a set of double doors. For some reason, the one on the left does not open. For some other reason, many departing in disgrace choose that very door, prompting Simon to flatly dismiss each with the words, "other door." After "juvenile," and "terrible," that still stings.
Good for her: Denise Jackson, 16, a self-described "crack baby," struts in, bats her eyes, belts out "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and collects her ticket to
Hollywood. "Idol" voters love an underdog, so she may ride the wave that lifted Kelly (dad in prison) Pickler last season.
You going to take that?: Simon Cowell eggs vocal teacher Stephen Horst -- who, truth be told, cannot actually sing -- into confronting Randy Jackson over what Simon calls his "rudeness and audacity." Simon loves being the instigator.
Scary sound: When Brenna Kyner hits that astonishingly bad series of screechy notes, dogs all over the world raise their noses to the sky and howl.
Come here, boss: The male judges make a bunch of insinuations about why Dayna Dooley's boss (and his wife) flew her (and her sister) to Minnesota to audition, then call him in and have her sing again, then reluctantly give her the thumbs down. The boss and Dayna take it with graceful regret.
The damage done: With 100,000 applicants, some nice people will go down in flames. But sheesh, way to remind us of it. From the high of last year's final show we plunge into the public humiliation of the very sweet 21-year-old Jessica Rhode. She is so stunned by the rejection (especially from her favorite singer, Jewel, whose tune she butchered) that she crouches on the stage in disbelief. Ouch. It was so much better to see the urban Amish guy get his comeuppance.
Tip-off: If you see scenes from the everyday life of the applicant, whether Rachel Jenkins working in her parents' body shop or Jerrod Fowler on board his aircraft carrier, you know they have a good chance. Both get tickets to Hollywood.
Firecracker: Perla Meneses tries to make a date with Ryan Seacrest on the grounds that they're both "short" -- he bristles, of course -- and then rocks an impromptu "Hips Don't Lie." Watch for her to be cast as a demanding diva.
M-i-n-n-enough!: By the end of a long day, the judges are oh-so-ready to flee Minneapolis. They tell a hapless juggling, dancing, warbling 16-year-old that he personifies the worst of the city, and he's devastated.
Next up: Seattle, show us what you've got.