Michael Slezak
January 21, 2009 AT 07:42 AM EST

I don’t know about you guys, but I sat down for tonight’s episode of American Idol with the expectation that I wouldn’t be getting up off the couch for 120 minutes. So imagine my surprise when after just an hour, the San Francisco auditions gave way to some kind of ferocious slug-like creature popping out of an ill-fated epidemiologist’s mouth on Fox’s freshman sci-fi sort-of hit Fringe. (Zoiks!)  Not that I’m complaining. I like my audition episodes lean and mean. Well, not mean as in “let’s abuse the freaks and geeks,” but mean as in “judges reward talent, end deluded singing aspirations of tone-deaf wannabes.” Which is why I was bummed to see a few too many marginal contestants score themselves Golden Tickets tonight (one solely by using his cute grade-school kids as props) while the show’s producers put the spotlight on only one hopeful who showed the kind of potential that could lead to a forecast of falling confetti come late May.

What did you think of tonight’s Idol episode? Weigh in on our message board below, then check back around 6 a.m. for my full TV Watch recap. Oh, and in the interim (in case you missed it) press play on the season premiere of Idolatry. A very popular third-place finisher from a previous season (MELINDA FREAKING DOOLITTLE!!!) makes a special guest appearance, and you won’t want to miss it!

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