Paula hugs, Simon looks horrified

I spoke too soon.


I had presumed Tuesday night’s episode of Idol to be the final tryout installment of the season, but like Barbara Streisand’s career, this phase of Idol will go on well past whatever reason we paid attention in the first place.


Last night’s Idol was scraped from the cutting room floor, a collection of outtakes from the past month, a collection of highlights and lowlights designed mostly to amuse the show’s editors, who’ve had the unenviable task of watching every minute of the auditions, many times over, for which they’re guaranteed a week in heaven, having lived months in hell.


The first extended montage is devoted to the persistent — those hardy souls who can hear “no” more than once, and draw on a bottomless well of hope to try again.


We see a contestant’s third audition, and her second gold ticket to Hollywood, which is followed by a sequence of contestants confessing their crushes on the judges.

Apparently Paula Abdul will happily give a hug and a peck on the cheek to her admirers, while Simon — his reaction seems far saner, frankly — looks like he’d rather bathe in lye than touch his fans.

A segment introduced by the day jobs of various hopefuls and Idol stars introduces us to a trio of carhops who make what the show identifies as the cardinal mistake of auditioning together.

One of the trio has the misfortune of being taller, prettier, and more talented than her friends, and Simon confidently predicts that their friendship has a shorter shelf life than yogurt.

The critique session quickly turns into a bitch eruption, as another of the three calls Paula’s critique “motherly advice” — rowwwr.

The show effectively climaxes with Lakisha, the sort of Aretha-esque soul belter that Idol professes to love, and will build up right until they’re forced to admit that there’s such a thing as too much — too much voice, too much soul, too much personality — and that you have to pack light to make it to the finals.