It sure is going to get interesting as this season of “American Idol” gets into the real judging of Hollywood, because Randy, Steven and Jennifer continue to be much more lenient than Simon ever was. I have said I think it’s refreshing and I stand by that, but I think they are going to have a difficult time making actual cuts in a few weeks. Here were the highlights and (a few) lowlights from last night’s Austin auditions:

HOLLYWOOD BOUND
First up, Corey and his sister Brooks…but this wasn’t just any sibling combo. These two didn’t know each other existed until Corey was 16 and Brooks was 14, and they lived a few miles apart. How odd. But now they are very close and both of them can sing great. I just didn’t need to see Corey showing J-Lo that people tell him he has a “J-Lo booty”…..17 year old Holly was next and she started with Etta James’ “At Last.” Holly was, like many young singers are, all technique and little substance. But while Randy said no and she started to cry, J-Lo asked her to sing again, and she tried Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” It was better but not by much, and they let her through…John Wayne Schultz, a 23 year old cowboy (literally), sang Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe” and he had a great natural tone and vibrato. The best part was when John’s dad told Ryan Seacrest that Ryan wouldn’t “be the way you are” if he had been his son. Ha!….17 year old Courtney Penry called Ryan the “sexiest man alive” and wasn’t joking. She was borderline stalker. She also did a chicken impersonation, so you just knew she was going to suck. But she actually could sing. Randy said no, but the other two said yes and she was going to Hollywood. Watch out, Seacrest….21 year old Jacqueline Dunford and her boyfriend, Nick Fink have been madly in love since meeting in a church choir or something. Uh-oh, more sappy stories to equal crappy singing, right? Wrong! They were both great, especially Jacqueline….20 year old Janell Arthur was just “eh” but the judges were flipping out over her….and finally, Casey Adams, a 19 year old Seth Rogan lookalike, sang Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and was awesome, and maybe one of the best dudes we’ve seen so far.

BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR OR NEVER
Well, they showed most of these as medleys of bad and weird, but they did show 17 year old Rodolfo, who sang “Circle of Life.” It was real bad. J-Lo said “your vibrato was out of tune” and Randy added, “Your singing was terrible, too.” Classic….there was also the guy (and I didn’t write down his name) who looked like a nerdy, lumpy cowboy, and stated, just like this with a straight face, “I’m completely and utterly heterosexual. I just want to throw that out there.” You can’t make this stuff up, people.

So that’s it….tonight’s auditions are from Los Angeles, meaning that these contestants who are sent to Hollywood won’t have very far to travel. See you all tomorrow with the recap…