I really liked Nate Tao, the 24-year-old sign language teacher with two deaf parents and a fondness for business-casual costuming. "You look like you're about to do my taxes!" cried Randy. Low blow, Dawg. It's not like he's wearing GLASSES. Nate offered a nice, unique tone on "For Once In My Life" that could take him pretty far -- it's just not a very big voice.
"Seems like singing is easy for you," said Keith, and that might be the best compliment he'll get throughout the competition. Really cute, humble kid, though -- and I loved seeing his dad sign "congratulations/I love you" outside. Here's Ryan attempting the sign for "superstar" and achieving a cross between a technical foul and a sexual gesture.
The native signers are not impressed.
A female ventriloquist who can sing! Obviously Halie Hilburn, 27, needed her own segment, especially considering she had to share the spotlight with that scene-stealing bitch Oscar the Dog. ("I'm Oscar!" --the dog.) "I think Oscar's holding you back," gently suggested Keith Urban following Halie and her puppet's duet on "I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart." You do have to hand it to the girl for yodeling with her mouth closed, though. Unless OSCAR DID IT.
Halie proved herself as a human being who miiiiight not need a gimmick in order to do well on Idol with a very pretty cover of "More Than Anyone" as former point of interest Oscar lay sprawled between platform and dirty floor, now just a useless heap of rags in a world with no use for him. The editors went a touch overboard with the abuse, eventually offering Oscar a colorful new home.
I'm gonna need to go reread The Velveteen Rabbit after this to shake off the stink.
NEXT: Zoanette Johnson? Really?!