You guys! This show is back! And I am back! And we're back in the summertime where we all belong! Thanks to Lauren, again, for filling in on the season premiere. And thanks to Cat Deeley for being the bestest host ever. She welcomes us to Dallas, the first of three cities in this whirlwind of an episode that takes us from Texas to Nashville to the opening rounds of VEGAS. Yes, by the end of the night, we'll be well into choosing our eventual Top 10.
Due to the weird formatting, let's tackle the auditions before getting to Vegas, shall we? And let's start with the awful auditions, since they are somehow more depressing here than they are on American Idol.
In Dallas, Nigel, Tyce Diorio, and Aussie choreographer Toni Redpath are the judges. Toni's never been on the show before (and I totally thought she choreographed this group routine from last year's finale, but that wasn't her; still a hot routine, though), but we will soon find out she is the greatest. So who's awful in Dallas? Connor McLaughlin, for one. We kind of get a sneak preview of his awfulness by the fact that he calls himself "Scooter Rocket," wears roller blades to his audition, and is wearing what appears to be a laser tag vest. He blathers to Cat about non-conformity, same as all these freaks do, before handing the judges some unimpressive skating and not much else. Nigel makes a nonsensical crack about wanting Tom Cruise but getting Clay Aiken Jr. Hey man, leave Clay's little Claybies out of this. Tyce, who is certainly obnoxious but has a certain way of shutting down the joke auditioners that I do like, just goes, "No, no, no... no."
Also not good was Derrocious Harris, an unfortunate sort of a person with an anxious, jittery face that reads small-town depression (...and a possible drug habit). He's also femme in a way that allows Nigel to be incredibly smug as he watches him flail around to the strains of "Toxic." He looks like he's jazzercising, to be honest. And between his lycra pants and that unfortunate face, there's really nowhere to look. Nigel cracks that he could fit in well with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Derrocious: "Thank you."), but in general the judges are very homo-cautious with their critique, lest they invoke yet another high-pitched screech from GLAAD and After Elton. The resulting soft-pedaling ("You've got a great spirit!") can't help but feel condescending.