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American Idol Recap: Mad About Bayou [Updated]

American Idol traveled south tonight to Randy Jackson’s hometown of Baton Rouge, LA (city motto: “For Me, For You, We’re Sorry About the Dawg”).

I half-expected a visit to the local elementary school that houses the “Randy Jackson Memorial Alphabet Wall” (it contains only 11 letters) or maybe the Randy Jackson Museum, a damp cardboard box in a back alley that’s filled with mutilated copies of Haley Reinhart’s debut CD. (Nope, I’ll never get over dude’s mistreatment of one of the finest vocalists in show history. #EarthSongBlasphemy!) Perhaps we’d get to hear Randy name-drop Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden (“Yo, yo, yo! Check it out: I was on the phone with Mayor Kip last night, yo!”).

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But nope, if any of those moments happened on camera, they were left on the editing-room floor. That might be because Fox threw a bone to the Idoloonie nation this week and kept Idol‘s fourth audition episode of Season 12 to a crisp 60-minute running time. (Take note, network execs, the FCC will not fine you if every one of your reality-competition shows doesn’t run a full two hours.)

Over the course of the hour, we got to see extended footage of 10 Golden Ticket recipients, and while I wouldn’t bet my glass of Sauv Blanc that we witnessed the Season 12 champ in action tonight (except for maybe Burnell), the folks who got their “goin’ to Hollywoods” all seemed worthy of the honor.

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Since it was a double-recap night for yours truly (Hi there, Glee!) and since we’re still in the very early days of Season 12, I’m gonna weigh in on the episode’s vocalists in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less:

Megan Miller, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” | Pageant queen + crutches = joke? Think again! Spring-water clarity of tone! Righteous sense of humor! But why didn’t Nicki call her Pocahontas?

Charlie Askew, “Breakthru”/”Nature Boy” | Socially awkward charmer has voice w/ appealingly frayed edges, but hit a few wonky notes. “What was the second thing to mature?” Nicki!

Maddie Assel, “Oh Darlin” | Loves Haley Reinhart but lacks her vocal control. Masked and umbrella’d grandma to Seacrest: “I want to kidnap you and take you home!”

Paul Jolley, “I Won’t Let Go” | Is it wrong that Rascal Flatts tunes make me CTRL+ALT+DEL on the inside? Has talent, but uses “woodshed” as a verb. That’s troubling.

Dr. Calvin Peters, “Whenever Wherever Whatever” | Been dying for an Idol to sing “WWW,” but cute/sweaty doc only gave a B- cover of what Keith called a “Triple Black Diamond” of music.

Michelle Montezeri, “Tainted Love” | We only heard a short snippet, but girlfriend cranked the drama up to 11 and might’ve been on her way to 13 (in a good way).

Breanna Steer, “I’m Goin’ Down” | Good taste in choosing a Rose Royce classic, and she nailed the few seconds we got to hear.

Brandy Hotard, “Hell on Heels” | In maybe 10 seconds of footage, managed to blindfold the melody, stuff it in her trunk and take it places where it didn’t ask to be taken.

Dustin Watts, “She’s Every Woman” | Big hunky firefighter took a clear, unfussy yet not entirely exciting approach to Garth Brooks. All Nicki wants to know if he has girlfriend. Oy.

Burnell Taylor, “I’m Here” | Reticent cutie brought ‘Tasia-like ferocity to “I’m Here.” Mariah cried. Keith asked that he “dress for the occasion” in H’wood. Both valid responses.

Anyhow, with that, I turn the discussion over to you.  What did you think of the American Idol Season 12 Baton Rouge episode? Who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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