'American Idol': Erica Rhodes, Todrick Hall and Doogie Howser in Dallas

neil-patrick-harris-joe-jonas.jpg"American Idol" went to Dallas and found a Barney girl wielding a whip named Erica Rhodes

We kick things off with a montage of Texas things and then Neil Patrick Harris! I love him so much. Seriously, if you don't watch "How I Met Your Mother," you should start. From the beginning. Go get the DVDs. I'll wait.

Okay, I won't wait. But you should start watching "HIMYM." Julie Kevelighan is up now. She auditioned the first season, back when Paula resembled a poodle and Simon was POOFY! She sings "Black Velvet" and it's like a weird cabaret-sing-talk thing and it's not good. NPH says it was "not a strong" vocal. She won't take no for an answer, though, and keeps singing as she is ushered out the door.

The problem with singers like Julie is that they aren't devoid of nice vocal tone, per se, but they have no ear. Her "Black Velvet" didn't sound anything like "Black Velvet." She can't carry a tune without accompaniment, is my guess, and therefore an a capella audition is not good for her. I bet she sounds good when she sings along with the radio.

Anyway, up next is Lloyd "Big Sucsexsi" Thomas. Is that like success + sexy? I'm not sure. He has two adorable daughters and is a dock worker and seems like a really nice guy. He sings "Overjoyed" and I really enjoy his voice. It's totally smooth. He needs to work on how much he breathes but it was beautiful. NPH advises him to let his personality shine through and Simon says best of the day. He's through unanimously.

NPH-Simon fight montage and it seems more organic to me than the Kara-Katy thing but I still don't quite buy it that they were going to like throw down or something. Anyway, Kimberly Carver sings an original song and she's got a great throwback voice but you can tell she can rock too. I like her. Simon doesn't see anything current form her while NPH thinks she was quite great. She's through with three yesses.

Dexter Ward is next. He's a very self-assured weird dude who sings "If I Ever Fall in Love Again," which is a great song when you can actually recognize the tune, unlike the caterwauling this dude is doing. He's not through.

Crying montage. It's no good without the Crying Girl from last night, y'all.

Our next contestant is Erica Rhodes, who was on "Barney and Friends" back in the day so to prove she's not so sweet and innocent, she comes to the audition in leather, with scary boots and a whip. Lame. I don't like schtick, just sing. They ask her to sing the Barney theme song and she's got a great voice. She tackles "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue. Talk about a female vocal group that could blow. I loved En Vogue. Simon goes, "What's the big dream here? I know what mine is." Dirty, Simon. She's through with flying colors.

Man, Shai AND En Vogue? It's like I'm 11 years old again! Ah, sixth grade.

The last contestant of the day is Dave Pittman, who has Tourettes but it doesn't affect him when he sings. Interesting. He sings "Bring it on Home to Me." Great song. This guy can certainly sing. He's through with four yes votes. Cool.

Joe Jonas is here for the second day in Dallas. I don't really get the whole Jonas Brothers phenomenon, but I think it's because I'm too old, so I'm trying to remember what it was like for me and, say, NKOTB.

Todrick Hall is first with an original song about himself, which is weird. Terrible audition. Seriously, cheesy and cutesy. He should've just come in and sung something straight because he can obviously sing. Simon is totally with me on this one. The judges like his voice, but Simon didn't like the audition, even using my word of "cutesy." He gets through with four yes votes, though.

Good montage including Dawntoya Thompson and a girl named Stephanie (I missed the last name, sorry). This leads into Maegan Wright. She's there with her little brother, who is quite the little ham. She sings "To Make You Feel My Love" and her singing voice doesn't match her speaking voice at all. It's very soulful, I love it. Kara is just as confused as I was, but in a good way. She's through unanimously.

Vanessa Johnston (and her very loud clothing) is up now. She sings "At Last" and she can't sing. This is a joke, right? Just to get this boisterous girl some camera time? Moving on.

Montage of Why Simon is Cranky. Nobody cares. Seriously. I like Simon, I don't care why he's cranky. I just like that he is. I do enjoy the pictures of his great life and the pile of cash along with "It's hard being Simon Cowell." That was funny.

Christian Spear is up last in Dallas. She had cancer as a little girl, but she pulled through (obviously) and tonight she sings "All I Could Do was Cry" and it's good. It doesn't totally blow me away but she's certainly good enough to go through to Hollywood and she IS 16 years old, so that's cool. She gets four big yesses.

Next week: Denver and The Road to Hollywood episode, which means we get to see a few more of the good singers. You know "Idol," you could just SHOW more of the good singers and eliminate the need for a Road to Hollywood episode. Just a thought.

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