American Idol's Audition Antics Are Wearing Thin

I think just about everyone is getting weary of the American Idol auditions. I know I am. Many viewers have emailed me with similar lamentations too.

Film.com Photo Gallery: American Idol's Crazy Outfits

But based on Tuesday night's show in Omaha, I think the judges are getting even more tired of the sour-noted singers, deluded divas and wannabe William Hungs than the rest of us. Paula, Randy and Simon were acting stranger than a lot of the contestants.

For starters, Paula didn't even show up on time. They said something about her plane being late, so Simon and Randy started without her.

First up, Chris Bernheisel, an overly giddy kid from Nebraska who called his audition the "greatest life-altering moment" of his life. He was just bursting with positivity. He even brought presents (stuffed animals) for the judges. That didn't help his singing, which was awful. But it did sway the judges to make him an American Idol correspondent. Simon

told Chris to call his local FOX station and have them make him their reporter on the red carpet for the A.I. season finale.

Will FOX 42 come through? We'll see.

Next came Jason from Iowa, who couldn't remember the lyrics to the song he chose. After about three tries, he managed to get through a stanza or two and Simon and Randy reluctantly gave him a ticket to Hollywood.

That led to a montage of singers who couldn't remember the lyrics to "Stuck in the Middle With You." I couldn't believe that many contestants would actually choose that song for their audition.

Finally Paula showed up, and if I didn't know better (which I don't) she seemed to be acting like someone who had a hangover.

Paula made it just in time for a couple of decent singers, including Rachael Wicker, who arm-wrestled Ryan and wanted to take on Simon. She had a so-so country voice that was good enough to get the green light from Randy and Paula.

But before Rachael could leave the audition room, Paula insisted on arm-wrestling her too. If I didn't know better (which I don't) I'd say Paula seemed to be acting like someone who was tipsy.

Then came contestant Sarah Whitaker, who claimed to be a former pro-wrestler. Wearing Goth make-up and clothing, she physically slapped Ryan around a little before lyrically assaulting the judges with her horrible voice.

Clearly these audition shows have gone to a new level. It's not just about trying to get on camera for singing badly (what I call the "William Hung Effect"). It's also about acting like the biggest fruitcake outside of the auditions just to get on camera, whether you ever

appear in front of the judges or not. It's kind of sad actually. I mean, some of these people look like they just stopped by the auditions because they had nothing better to do.

But like I said, the judges joined in on some of the weirdness too. Like when Paula and Ryan switched places. Ryan kept making snarky cracks about how easy it must be to be one of the judges, while Simon and Paula and Randy kept insisting how hard it is to really assess whether someone is moving their arms enough during a song. Wow guys, you're right. That is tough.

The sniping between them got so bad, Ryan and Paula switched back. I'm sure the whole thing was orchestrated, but it felt a little like a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner. I'm no therapist, but I think they might have some issues....

In the end, I think we saw more good singers than bad. Like Samantha Sidley, who earned four yes votes if you count Ryan's too. And we saw a quick succession of crooners who earned a ticket to Hollywood including Elizabeth Erkert, Denise Jackson, Michael Sanfilippo, Angelica Puente, and David Cook.

The William Hungs seem to be wearing out their welcome a little bit. Simon had no patience for Johnny Escamilla, a flamboyant performer with a glitter jacket and no voice.

Paula hiccupped loudly during Johnny's audition. If I didn't know better (which I don't), I'd say she was acting just like someone who had too much to drink.

Last of the night was Leo Marlowe, who said his own mother calls him a "prom queen." I'm no therapist, but I think Leo's mom might have some issues.... Leo was reduced to tears when the judges actually liked his singing and gave him a pass to Hollywood.

WHO'S THE PROM QUEEN NOW, LEO'S MOM? HUH? Wait, that actually doesn't

make any sense, but I'm kinda loopy from watching all these audition shows. I think they need to make these just a half hour.

In all, 19 golden tickets were given out in Omaha. Up next, it's auditions in Miami. Hopefully that'll be the end of it and we can get to Hollywood.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.