Kara (frustrated by one of Simon's decisions): "You have a heart of COLD." Simon (unmoved): "I have a REALISTIC heart."
It reached a peak of sorts with the bizarre audition of Akilah Askew-Gholston , 26, who came with sheaves of tattered charts and illustrations of a singer's anatomy. She hung on for so long -- one might say Simon allowed her to hang on -- Kara finally hugged her and gently but firmly shoved her in the direction of the door. Then she turned on Simon: "How can you yell at certain and then certain you let run on?"
Because it creates tension! Drama! Humor! Pathos!
Just twelve golden tickets were inevitably issued, but there wasn't much footage from the truly successful auditions. Standouts:
Best: Adam Lambert, 26. After the musical-theater performer sang "Bohemian Rhapsody," there was discussion among the judges whether his is the right voice for Idol -- but in Paula's opinion, "He's the best we've seen." (He, by the way, said he'd seen her in concert when he was 10.)
Sweetest: Kai Kalama, 26. The musician has deliberately slowed his career to care for his ailing mother, who has a seizure disorder. The judges liked his voice but thought his stage presence was a bit sheepish. "Watch me," suggested Simon, for pointers on confidence. Yes, that would help.
Unlikeliest: Tatiana del Toro, 23. The singer, who presented the judges with her very own press kit, came on way too strong, and laughed manically, which is never good. She was one of those rare auditions so overbearing they end up getting you to root for them -- which seemed, overall, to be what the judges were thinking too. -- Tom Gliatto
Tell us: Were you surprised Tatiana del Toro got a golden ticket? Which side of the Simon-Kara feud are you on? Any early favorites from San Francisco? Charles Sykes/Rex; Robert Pitts/Landov