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Which Idol Hopefuls Triumphed in New Orleans?

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Michael becker/FOX

It’s night two of American Idol and Steven Tyler is running away with the show.

He arrived at the New Orleans auditions wearing a little feathered hat and made a dirty little bleeped-out joke about it. I don’t think Randy would do that.

Apparently the new judge will say anything. Whether that gives him real critical value, it’s at least a legitimate (if minor) form of entertainment – sort of like waiting for malapropisms from political figures.

When local boy Randy was surprised by a visit from his old high-school football coach, Steven asked: “So, coach, did you ever paddle his [expletive]?” And when he saw a photo of a rather husky young Randy as a shot-putter, Steven asked: “Which is the shot put?”

Jennifer Lopez, with her immaculate hair, pearly glamour and general sweetness, also has her place: the benevolent goddess. In the night’s softest moment, she was moved to tears when Paris Tasmin, 23-year-old mother of a special-needs child, sang Carrie Underwood‘s “Temporary Home.” Paris got a golden ticket.

I wonder if the producers should have gotten rid of Randy, actually.

Worthiest performance: Brett Loewenstern, who before his audition talked about being bullied, went on to Hollywood with a better-than-respectable “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Most surprising performance: Jacee Badeaux, 15, who looked at if he’d wandered in after choir practice, performed “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” in a startlingly mellifluous, buttery voice. He too was sent off to Hollywood.

Most bitterly ironic performance: Alex Attardo, who had attended Idol musical camp, was practically laughed offstage by Randy.

The show also started with a bizarre scene of despair: A young singer was filmed pounding on a piano and sobbing through a chorus of “Smile” after being rejected by the judges. It looked like lost documentary footage for a musical of The Blair Witch Project.