American Idol
Auditions: Omaha

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B- | Grade It Now!
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Don't Quit Your Day Job(s), Seacrest

Omaha, Nebraska. A place I could not have less of a feeling for; it's like asking somebody to describe the difference between tourmaline and onyx. I'm sure there's something that differentiates it but I have no idea what it is. They have gay blonde people, it's clear, and scary hard girls. Lots of the latter. They all look like they have lots of kids, even the preteens. Maybe that's prejudice and in fact that's just what healthy people look like. They do look hardy.

Ryan cracks jokes about Simon and Randy flirting in Paula's absence, and it's just as grody and weird, from as many thousand directions, as you imagine. Also grody and weird, although adorably so, is the squirrelly and wriggly and grammar-deprived giggle monster Chris Bernheisel (24, Fremont NE), in case you were thinking he's not a little baby child girl-man, he brings gifts: stuffed animals for the judges, and a picture album focusing mainly on Kelly Clarkson, whose "Since U Been Gone" he destroys immediately. All this in addition to his very shiny face, completely vapid, lovely, deeply needy eyes and his shaky, warbly, awful voice. I don't know what to say about him. If you draw a line from Tamagotchi to Gigapets to Nintendogs, at some point in the future I think you get Chris.

Well, okay. You know how sometimes you get a very strongly bred, um, like a golden retriever or a Lassie dog, you know. Genetically strengthened through inbreeding in order to produce specific effects in the breeding stock or whatever, I don't know exactly how that side of things works. And maybe somebody didn't carry the one in their big breeding notebook, or made some other kind of simple mistake. And you look into their eyes: very excited, very happy to see you. Very, very excited and happy about life. My best friend Will calls it the Hasselhoff Look. And if you keep looking, then further down it's just sparks and a light golden haze, and you realize that the absolute happiest people in the world are probably totally insane. And this is Chris Bernheisel.

But then the dancing, and the handstand, and the scary moves, and the pointing at the ceiling, and the boys begging him to admit that he's kidding, and then some wiggly attempts to explain what the fuck he is up to. I don't know. He's a cutie, there is no denying it, but in the same way that you can say Paris Hilton is hot, but would you really have sex with her? No. No you wouldn't. Oh, and so now what he's doing is auditioning for Ryan Seacrest's job, with this crazy long speech introducing the finale. His voice keeps getting higher and higher, and Simon promises that he can do a live feed at the finale from Nebraska. Randy swears that he is the next Ryan Seacrest. I can't say he's wrong. The kid seems excited. I can see him throwing this joyful hissy about, like, "This tastes more like regular Dr Pepper!" "October Road is back with new episodes!" "It's not really a team, it's just a bunch of guys who like doing gymnastics!"

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American Idol

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