Tuesday night's "American Idol" showcased Chicago's collection of hopefuls with heartrending backstories, laughably bad singers and only a handful of folks with enough talent to garner golden tickets. But into this otherwise unremarkable episode stepped a man named Brian Krause.
Krause's channeling of '60-era novelty act Tiny Tim was an "Idol" performance for the ages, so perplexing, so cringe-inducing, so straight-up weird that even the judges were left wondering whether it was all an act. But an act, it seemed, the 27-year-old substitute teacher from Pittsburgh was not.
After politely greeting Simon Cowell and the rest of the judging crew, Krause reared back and unleashed a nasally cry that sounded less like what is known as singing and more like a car had run over his foot. He then began to prance to and fro across the floor as he progressed through Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
Known for his rather unique falsetto, Herbert "Tiny Tim" Khaury became a frequent presence on late-night talk shows and even got married on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" as part of a massive publicity stunt. But Krause was adamant that his own audition was no stunt.
The judges quickly cut off Krause's song. "Is this a joke?" Kara DioGuardi wanted to know.
"No, it's not a joke, ma'am," he responded.
Does he really tiptoe like that?
"Ask anyone from grade school till current, yes I do," he said.
Still not convinced, Cowell made Krause swear on his mother's life that he was not messing around. The contestant raised his right hand in the air and swore he was singing nothing but the (awful) truth.
After the judges sent him packing, Krause skipped out into the hall and settled in for his "Idol" exit interview.
"To be honest, this was a very long process today," he said. "I feel exhausted. I feel like slipping into a warm bubble bath and just relaxing my thoughts."
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.