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Hippies, Hospitals and AT&T Stores

This time, the Hometown Visit show delivered

I have to say that Tuesday night’s performance show left me a little crestfallen –and not for the usual music-based reasons. You see, I was expecting a little more from the Hometown Visit. (And by “more,” I mean less of the AT&T Store.) Thankfully, though, Wednesday night’s show granted me my yearly allotment of keys to the city, high school pep rallies and, um, visits to paint stores.

These festivities came not a moment too soon, as it was about time we saw some spark in our Idols! Let’s face it. Among its other faults (and there are many), this season hasn’t exactly provided us with the most outgoing personalities. I mean, last night’s Ford music video proved that even the Idols’ animated alter egos aren’t very, well, animated. Put them in an elementary school or a disgustingly large limo, though, and all of a sudden they’re full of personality.
 
Casey visited Cool, Texas, where he literally stopped traffic and revealed that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. (Perhaps it has something to do with him being a “Jealous Guy?”) Local yokels showed their pride with “Casey is Hot” fans and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were on hand to cheer him on with — what else? — cheers.
 
While at home, Casey visited the hospital where he stayed after his motorcycle accident six years ago. In doing so, he showed us something that the judges have been asking for all season — vulnerability. Cut him some slack, judges! Maybe he’s had enough vulnerability for one lifetime. The kid almost lost his ability to play his instrument, not to mention his ability to, you know, llive. Well, at least now we know why he’s so attached to that damn guitar. Word to the wise, Casey: next time you’re on “Idol,” play up your accident a little more. People like a story.
 
Crystal received the coveted Key to the City of Toledo. Word on the street is that it will open any Dunkin’ Donuts in town. (Great for when you’ve got the munchies!) When Mama Sox went to her dad’s house for a barbeque, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting a cute little house with an American flag hanging outside. In my daydreams Crystal and her family live on some type of hippie co-op farm and fly a black flag of anarchy.
 
Thank goodness the town delivered the hippie-ness in the form of something called “Bowerstock.” As we watched clips of Crystal passing out wildflowers to her admirers and tattooing the chest of homosexual hippie-billies, her original song, aptly named “Holy Toledo,” played in the background. Afterwards, she cried to Ryan about how much it meant to her to hear her song.
 
Lee DeWyze’s Hometown Visit to Chicago was the most moving to me for a few reasons. First of all, it seems that his body has finally accepted the new personality that he received via transplant. He spoke to his hometown crowd with an eloquence and ease that we haven’t seen from him yet on the “Idol” stage.
 
Additionally, it was powerful to see misty eyes and feel true gratefulness from someone who has been so stoic all season. Because he is so manly, I’m sure that it was just the paint fumes that made him break down inside his old stomping grounds, the Mt. Prospect paint shop. But those were definitely real tears and real emotion when he choked up in the middle of singing “The Boxer” to his hometown crowd. For me, this was his long-awaited “moment,” surpassing anything he’s done all season. (Especially the bagpipes.)
 
Levity came in the form of teen queen Justin Bieber and some guy called Travis Garland, who was apparently discovered by none other than Perez Hilton. I was a little disgusted with “Idol” for giving any screen time at all to that maggot Perez and then I was super disgusted when he said that his little protégé was better than Justin Timberlake. In fact, Seacrest made it sound like Perez singlehandedly masterminded the careers of both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Who does Perez think he is, Clive Davis?
 
It came as no surprise to anyone when Casey was eliminated. The judges have been setting us up for a Bowersox/DeWyze battle for weeks now and it looks like their efforts paid off. While he is no longer in contention for the title of American Idol, one prize that James will walk away with is the award for best use of a prop during a performance. Of course I’m talking about when he picked up someone’s actual daughter while singing “Daughters” as his exit song.
 
I don’t know if I can go a week without our favorite little blonde bombshell. Luckily, I won’t have to, as we’ll be seeing Casey and all of our finalists next week for the finale.

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