The third week's first night of auditions in Jacksonville, Fla., finally brought what many Idol watchers hunger for: Abdulian weirdness!
Paula Incident No. 1: The audition was ridiculous to begin with: Sharon Wilbur, 25, arrived in the judges' presence with her shitshu, Sascha, which ended up on Simon's lap, getting her ears scratched. Paula didn't seem impressed by Sharon -- "Sascha was yawning through your audition," she said -- but Randy and Simon gave her a yes. Then Paula and Kara exchanged glances, as if trying to decide. Kara opened her arms to Paula, and Paula lunged for her as if she was going in for a kiss. Sharon got the golden ticket, and Paula got some irrational attention. Everyone's happy!
Paula Incident No. 2: The judges at first underestimated Julissa Veloz, a 19-year-old beauty queen -- maybe it was the sash and tiara. But she was good and sang Whitney Houston. When Randy called for a vote without having given Paula the chance to weigh in, she complained: "Well, I guess my opinion don't matter. Now that there are four judges." She walked out of camera range, but Julissa brought her back.
Among the singers, there were breakthroughs and breakdowns.
Breakthroughs: Anne Marie Boskovich, 22. The judges liked her voice, but didn't think she was projecting star presence. They sent her out to get a jiffy makeover. She reentered with less layered clothing and prettier eyes. And wowed 'em. Randy: "You have a really great voice."
Jasmine Murray, a 16-year-old who looks poised to do very well in Hollywood. Simon: "Cute, commercial and you're a very, very good singer." Bing bing bing.
TK Hash, 23, a tryout reject from season 7. Paula: "You sound even better this year." Simon, oddly, was the sole no, with no reason offered.
Joshua Ulloa, 22, described himself as a Justin Guarini look-alike, but his percussive effects were pure Blake Lewis. Simon thought he was closer to Inspector Gadget, but Joshua's energy won him a unanimous decision.
Breakdowns: Michael Perrelli, 18, cried because he couldn't play his guitar ... Naomi Sykes, 25, because the judges laughed at her attempt to sing Minnie Ripperton's "Lovin' You" ... Darin Darnell, 28, because he lost his confidence after a friend was bounced by the judges. But Darin should be used to rejection: He didn't last through the first episode of Season 1 of VH1's I Love New York, where he was called "Ace." -- Tom Gliatto
Tell us: Who did you like from Jacksonville?Stephen Lovekin/Getty