Hey, guys. What's up? How have the past 6 months been? Good? That's good. Because we're going to spend the other half of the year feeding the gluttonous monster that is American Idol.

We open the Seventh Season in Philadelphia, City of Brotherly Love and AIDS. After an annoying 1-million-minute montage of random crowd footage, Seacrest gets right down to business, reminding us that Philly is home to Ben Franklin and Rocky, among other American legends. Also everyone there loves Paula, who looks very pretty and not yet intoxicated this time around. Good for her.

Contestant #1: Joey Catalano
Joey used to be really fat (though not the fattest person we'll see on the show tonight), but now he is less fat, in the same way that Jared from the Subway commercials used to be disgusting and morbidly obese, but is now an acceptable, Ricky Gervais level of overweight. He looks very nerdy (because of his glasses) and very Jersey (because of his exposed chest hair and classy gold chain), but people were showing up in Philadelphia from literally all over the country tonight, so he could really be from anywhere else that supports the cultivation of cosmopolitan and swanky individuals such as him. He sings "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5. I didn't reall like him, and I'm concerned that my prejudice is based on his appearance, since the more I think about it, the more I have to admit that he probably sounds a lot like last season's Blake (whom, as any of the 4 people who read this recap last year may recall, I dearly loved). He's through to Hollywood, though, and I hope it makes it to the Top 12 so that he can get a makeover. As Joey leaves the audition room with his ticket, Simon is a jerk and facetously suggests that he put on a few pounds. My response is to sincerely suggest that Simon put on a bra. Then Ryan effortlessly seduces Joey's grandmas, and the universe is in balance.

After commercial we are briefly welcomed to Philadelphia by someone who appears to be, but whom I am 99% certain is not, the real Ben Franklin.

Conestant #2: Yuka aka Borat aka A Plant

This guy, Yuka (sp?), claims to be Egyptian. As a result, he claims to have a tenuous grasp on the English language, to be culturally awkward, and to maintain a burning desire to know as many American women as possible in the Biblical sense. I was only 99% sure about Ben Franklin, but I'm 100% on this guy: he's a producer plant. If he's not, then he had the best idea ever, which was to wait until everyone (who was never a fan of Da Ali G Show, anyway) forgot about the Borat movie, and then to mimick the shit out of Borat on American Idol. In support of my argument: 1) his "friend" says he "is sexy face." 2) he wants to "love girls from the hair to the (I'm pretty sure he said 'navel' but it sounded a hell of a lot like 'nipple')." 3) He sings "How Deep is Your Love" by the Bee Gees. Obviously he's a bad singer, but Simon and Randy make Paula explain to him why he's "not right for this competition." Paula isn't even drunk! That's downright unfair of them. The more time she spends explaining to Yuka, the more uncomfortable she becomes, just like everyone in Borat.

Contestant #3: Melanie Nymina
I didn't notice until just now, but Randy is sporting some wacky facial hair. Check his sideburns, Dog. They're outta control. Melanie sings that "feel the rain on your skin" song by Natasha Bedingfield (I don't know the name of that song because I've only ever heard it in shampoo commercials), and she's really not that good, I don't think, but the judges let her go to Hollywood because it's still pretty early in the game.

Contestant #4: James Lewis

James gives tours of Philadelphia. He is black. His coworkers told him that he should audition. These situations always end in explosions of ultrasuck. If any of you reading this ever receive encouragement from your coworkers to audition for American Idol, don't do it. It means that you are the worst singer in the world, and also that your coworkers hate you. You might also want to get a new job or key their cars or something. James sings "Go Down Moses," and it's really impressively bad. He sounds like a tape being played on slow speed, just, like… the words sound stretched out and low and it's pretty unpleasant. Plus I for serious suspect that he might be a little bit mentally retarded. Something. As my roommate said, as she watched his audition: "It sounds like a retarded person… Oh [as the judges deliver their verdicts] Oh, it's so sad. Aw. … He looks so hurt… Aw!"

Contestant #5: Nick Stand
He sings "Unchained Melody" and is unremarkable except that he looks just like Taylor Made aka Mr. New York.

Conestant #6: Some Creepy Chinese Dude

30% creepier looking than most other Asians

Contestant #7: Junot Joyner
Junot sings "The Blues" (is that what it's called? I always thought it was called "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," but his much shorter title makes more sense. I wish there were some sort of vast database where I could look up this information…) by Elton John. He is pretty good, I guess, but his shirt is pretty not good, yet not so not good as to be befitting of an Elton John song.

Contestant #8: Guy Who Sings "Unbreak My Heart" in Spanish


Contestant #9: Temptress Brown
Let me just say this about Temptress: she is 16! but she appears to be around 34, she plays middle linebacker on some sort of football team that has apparently invented huge pads to accomodate her pendulous breasts, she looks like the Cowardly Lion if he were made of iron and sat in a puddle of brine until he was rusted beyond recognition, and her mamma is so fat, she eats Wheat THICKS! Seriously, her mom is huge. Like, so huge that she fell in love and broke it. So huge that when she sits around the house, she SITS AROUND THE HOUSE. Temptress wants to get on American Idol because, like Sadako and her thousand paper cranes, she thinks that a medical illness can be cured by an unrelated artistic endeavor. Oh ps, Temptress's mom is really sick. Presumably from being too fat. (I'm serious about that one. I watch a surprisingly large number of Discovery Channel shows about morbidly obese people.)

Anyway, Temptress sings that song from Dreamgirls about not going anywhere, the one that Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for last year. She's not a for real good singer, but she's the kind of singer where I can understand how her friends would think that she's good. Her voice isn't offensive or anthing, it's just not… good. I need a thesaurus. She gets hugs from everyone when she finds out that her participation in a televised talent competition will not be magically saving her mother from diabetes this year.

Contestant #10: Mark Hayes

He's pretty cute. I'd do him, I guess. He sings "White Christmas" like he honest-to-God believes that he'll resurrect Frank Sinatra, and while his voice has an okay tone, he's really not a good singer. Too bad for me.

Contestant #11: Udgeet "Udi" Sanpat

This is the most Persian guy I've ever seen on this show. He must own, like, three hookahs, at least. He has the black clothes and the gold necklace and the chest hair and the job doing math of some sort and the big Persian girlfriend. Persian or Chaldean. I didn't catch where he's from, and as everyone knows, Chaldeans only live in southeastern Michigan. Anyway, he sings "My Way" and is bad, as are all goofy looking people on this show.

Contestant #12: Alexis Cohen

Although some of my viewing party insisted that Alexis looks like a transvestite, I think she looks more like if Rainbow Brite were 28 and a lesbian. Veterinary student by day, girl who sleeps on her mom's couch and very badly draws pictures of anime dolls by night, Alexis reminds me of a gay man dressed as Cathy Rigby dressed as Peter Pan. She sings "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane, and sounds kind of like Fiona Apple + a lot of yelling + someone who's bad at singing. The judges think she looks like Willem Defoe, which is remarkably spot-on, especially for them. She goes into an angry rant after they reject her, the likes of which I've only ever seen in Grizzly Man and on every episode of Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. Oh, and every previous season of Idol.

Contestant #13: Angela Martin
Her little girl has whatever disease Forrest Gump had (unless that was polio… in any case, she's got leg braces), and like Temptress before her, Angela thinks that she can cure this disease by doing well on American Idol. Luckily for her, she's a pretty girl with a good voice, so maybe she'll make it to the Top 8 or something, and God will be so proud of her that he'll allow her daughter to walk again.

Simon claims to be incapable with empathizing with the happiness of others, which I respect and admire.

Contestant #14: Elise Worjiechowski
Elise and my maternal great-grandparents have the SAME LAST NAME only with different spellings. That's pretty awesome. I should call her and see if we're distantly related. She sings "Feelin' Good" as recorded by Michael Buble, which is easily the gayest recording of that song. And by "gayest" I mean "worst." She is a horrible singer, despite the fact that she looks just like a Disney cartoon mouse. Perhaps she will sew me a ball gown or rescue me from a poacher in Australia.

Contestant #15: Milo Turk
Awesome cheetah-print vest? Check. Awesome Dr. Phil haircut? Check. Awesome original song entitled "No Sex Allowed"? Check. Over four decades of experience being alive? Check. I can't figure out what about this guy didn't recommend him to the judges.

Contestant #16: Kristy Lee Cook
She's a cage fighter who also loves horses. The respective awesomeness and lameness of those interests cancel each other out and leave us with a cute, sort of boring girl who's pretty good at singing "Amazing Grace" with all the charm and twang of Step By Step's Karen when she decided to become a country music star. I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting sick of these cute little blonde girls who sing country and pretend to be virgins. Sick and jealous.

Contestant #17: Paul Marturano
He looks like if Woody Harrelson and Dennis Hopper had a baby, and he's just about as creepy as you'd expect that kid to be. Paul sings a love song that he wrote for Paula. A lot of people love Paula, but this dude really takes the cake for being very creepy, but also so funny that they couldn't bring themselves to throw him out of the room until he'd already said literally like 8 times that he wanted to fuck her. The best line of the song was "If she were Colombo I'd Peter Falk her." Priceless. I am 63.

Contestant #18: Beth Stalker
Beth sings "Bewitched" and gets through to Hollywood even though Simon and I (the wisest people in the world) hate her.

Contestant #19: Ben Harr
Ben showed up earlier wearing a cape and… you guys have to help me out with what his costume was. At first I thought of Brunhilde, then of Princess Leia as Jabba the Hutt's captive, then of a Pacific Islander. Anyway, Paula made him go wax his chest, which he actually did, and came back to sing "Dontcha" for all of three seconds before Simon and Randy shooed him out the door. Oh, the things people do to get on TV.

Contestant #20: Chris Watson
This dude is beautiful. He looks like a pretty lady. His face is just… he looks like a pretty lady. I can't stress that enough. For a man, he's unattractive, because he looks so much like a pretty lady, but he probably has a future as a Cover Girl. His eyelashes go on forever! He's also decent at singing, and Simon predicts that his good looks will win him billions upon billions of votes from the female demographic.

Contestant #21: Christina Tolesano
Star Wars nerd who gives out waaaay TMI. She must suck. She just has to. She is a weirdo, and this show will undo all that it has taught me in the past 6 years if she is not a horrible singer. She sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," and is indeed bad, though not as bad as I expected. When she is not put through to Hollywood, she leaves the audition room and straight up swears in front of her grandparents! Like four times! She's off the hook!

Contestant #22: Brooke White
Brooke is a nanny to two really cute little babies, she herself is blonde and 75lbs, and she has a pretty nice voice. The tone is definitely pleasant, and although I wasn't as wowed by her as Simon was, I think she'll probably do well in this competition if she gets some frizz control hair product.

To close the show, Christina Tolesano continues her rant about how American Idol only accepts female contestants who "wear makeup," "fix their hair," and "giggle." She claims that it is not diverse (Idol responds by showing footage of black people with golden tickets. Point: Idol) and that it sucks for not giving weirdos like her a chance. But hey, at least she got to go to the 30th Anniversary Star Wars Convention in the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. That's something to be proud of.