If you were going to use the 2008 "American Idol" auditions to determine how to summarize San Diego, you'd probably be compelled to call it the Cute Capital of the World.
Sure, most of the 12,000 hopefuls weren't actually from the beach town, but still — those who showed up managed to deliver high doses of adorableness.
Take Perrie, a 27-year-old ponytailed widower who happens to be the father of what may well be the most appealing 4-year-old boy on the planet.
Whether the kid was trying to say his name, declaring his "Papi" the next American Idol or simply blinking those big brown eyes of his didn't matter. The fact is, casting directors who aren't already working to find projects for the little guy simply aren't dedicated to their craft.
Then there was arguably the most aesthetically pleasing male ever to audition — an Aussie named Michael who sang Otis Redding better than any white guy should be able to — and a 16-year-old kid who claimed to be the victim of vocal paralysis but sang far better than most people with vocal chords perfectly intact.
Just how likable was this guy? After Paula praised his tone and made sweet but vaguely disturbing statements about how she wanted to squish his cheeks, Simon not only extolled his talent but also went on for some time about how completely excellent his song choice was. (You know you're undeniably compelled to compliment someone when you're praising him for anything related to John Mayer.)
On the other side of the adorability spectrum, we had an overly confident Valerie, who claimed that people confuse her with Mariah Carey when she sings. She then told Ryan how much she enjoyed laughing at all the terrible people who audition before launching into her own terrible audition.
Joining her on the not-cute side of things were Christopher and Monique, two tone-deaf friends who felt they deserved to be on the show. Though they didn't audition together, they each chose the same tactic once in the room — that is, adamantly clinging to the belief that they were only being rejected because they'd picked the wrong song.
While that sort of blind faith in the face of all evidence to the contrary is oddly impressive, their performances and personalities were none too cute and Christopher actually had to be escorted out by security.
Then there was Blake, who may well hold the title for most "Idol" auditions ever (this was his 11th). While he wasn't offensive and opted not to dress like the Statue of Liberty (as he had when he auditioned for season five), his mother managed the nearly impossible feat of making regular old stage mothers look comparatively good by clueing us in to the fact that "Idol" is "the main part" of her life and that Blake being on the show is as much her dream as it is his.
While Blake gave an impassioned speech about how people should keep pursuing their dreams, he wasn't exactly the greatest example of why. Because personally, I can't think of anything much less cute than a guy going on "Idol" audition number 12.
Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores.