(CBS) It all began with a Steven Tyler, um, joke: "The altitude's kinda giving me a bit of a headache, has anyone got an..Aspen?"
Yes, the "Idol" auditions had arrived at their peak - in Aspen, Colo.
Jenny Schick was first. She's a music teacher. She loves Steven Tyler. When she introduced herself at the audition, Tyler offered: "No Schick." There are several jokes in his repertoire.
Schick is something of a rocker, though she did borrow several rough notes from Tyler's national anthem of last Sunday. The judges loved her. Tyler kissed her. On the lips, no less. Stardom has its privileges.
Yet again, "Idol" attempted to offer a consistent stream of oddly talented hopefuls: a young country singer with a voice steeped in depth and someone who even managed to look uncannily like Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Clearly, the producers didn't want us to know much about some of these people. There are stories still to be told.
Then there was the girl with the nose ring. Tealana Hedgespeth was desperate to emerge from the shadow of her twin sister. Sadly, no music emerged from the shadow of her inability to sing. She ended with a howl. "You're funny, man," offered Tyler.
She wasn't offered a trip to Hollywood.
The vegetarian sausage-maker, however, offered promise. Eighteen-year-old Haley Smith from Utah offered to sing the judges something good. She sang Rufus and Chaka Khan's classic really rather well, melding her flower-child persona with a voice that seemed to have enjoyed more experiences than the average 18-year-old flower child.
"I'm honored to be here, listening to your voice," said Tyler, strangely respectful.
Then there was the bartender who served Rocky Mountain oysters. These, should you not have ever encountered them, are bull's testes. She also serves buffalo and turkey versions. Naturally, Tyler was stunned to hear that turkeys have testes.
"They're internal," explained Alanna Snare.
She externalized Dolly Parton's "Jolene" in a manner that caused the producers - witty souls that they are - to feature shots of mooing cows. This seemed unkind, but perhaps no less unkind than Tyler asking, once Snare had sung, whether she had ever tried her own oysters.
Seventeen-year-old Shelby Tweten is bipolar. She has been struggling with depression. She said that the thought of success in "American Idol" was keeping her on her meds. She sang of her temporary home, and managed to move the judges.
"You're fearless as a singer," said Randy Jackson.
Every viewer needed to be fearless in order to hear a sweet collage of the awful - the screechers, the barkers, the flat-noters.
Jairon Jackson, 19, changed the mood by offering a perfectly high-pitched soul through a composition of his own making. The judges all adored it. Jennifer Lopez seemed especially taken. "That kid is a real artist," she told Jackson. Randy Jackson, that is.
It takes confidence to wear a lip ring - especially one on the side of your bottom lip, rather than the middle. Angie Zeiderman believes she is another Lady Gaga. As if the world needed one more. She seemed, though, to be auditioning for a slightly drunken version of a failed Broadway musical. JLo then asked her to sing something different. Or, for some ears, simply to sing something.
Zeiderman suddenly emitted a version of "Blue Bayou" which was strangely persuasive, if not remotely Gagaesque.
"That changed my mind, actually,' said Jackson.
We needed to end on an upbeat note, of course. So our eyes were entranced by Magic Cyclops. He had long hair, an American flag shirt and an infernally English accent. He claimed he was from Davenport, Iowa. He also claimed he owned 11,000 air guitars.
When the judges met his entrancing self, Cyclops explained that he spoke so bespokely because "I grew up extremely poor and we only got the local PBS station, which mostly aired BBC programs."
He asked the judges to choose Neil Diamond or James Buffett (pronounced as in the trough that cruise ships serve for lunch). For he could sing both, he claimed.
He could sing neither. But we couldn't just end on these bum notes.
Jackson announced that he had to go to the bathroom, so Magic Cyclops announced he also had to go to the bathroom and let off a little rocket of confetti from the behind of his jeans.
Surely he's really a member of the "Idol" production team. Surely.