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Reality Check: Putting the Idols Back in 'American Idol'

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Jason Castro (FOX)

Maybe it's the fact that we’re in our second week of listening to our "Idols" singing Beatles songs and everyone's been influenced by all the screaming-girls-losing-their-minds footage from the '60s.

Or maybe the contenders this season are so incredibly cute that the ladies in the audience simply cannot stop themselves from shrieking with abandon. Whatever the reason, it's quite clear that there are some excited fans out there.

At first, it just seemed like the show was going to go back to being a David Archuleta lovefest, as our favorite munchkin was in rare form again, singing "The Long and Winding Road" as melodiously as we know he can. And man, did the ladies eat it up.

While it was nice to see him back in his full Archuleta-ness after last week's whole lyric-forgetting escapade, I got the feeling that he could have come out, tripped and stuttered his way through the song and the girls still would have screamed.

Seriously, based on the enthusiasm in the crowd, you'd swear that Paul McCartney and John Lennon had nothing on this guy.

Some of the swooning continued into Michael Johns' rendition of "A Day in the Life." And while, in my opinion, there's never been a candidate as swoon-worthy as this Aussie, for some reason he hasn't been able to sell a song, really, since he belted the heck out of "Bohemian Rhapsody" during Hollywood week. Still, he's so ridiculously attractive that the women can't help but yelp in appreciation.

While David Cook got a little love from the ladies with his homage to Whitesnake's version of "Day Tripper," he seemed to be playing the role of "rock star" a little too much, posing with his guitar and tossing picks into the crowd.

Besides, the girls appeared to be saving the rest of their enthusiasm for Jason Castro. Now, Jason isn't exactly an obvious sex symbol: with his long dreads and awkward demeanor, the guy seems a bit more like the kid who pulled your hair in math class than a famous musician being fawned over by an adoring crowd.

But something about Jason's goofiness is, as Simon said on Tuesday night, oddly appealing. Call him the anti-Cook — the guy is so unpolished, but he comes off as shiny.

Case in point: this week, all the contestants talked about their most memorable moments on the show so far and the majority of them mentioned their best performances (a smart move all the way around, because we then got to see the footage again and be reminded of how good they could be).

Jason talked about his rendition of "Hallelujah," but rather than focusing on how great he was, he reminded us that he hit a bum note at the end. Silly? Goofy? Yes and yes. But did it make you love him? Yes, indeed.

Girls like Carly Smithson and Syesha Mercado also got some shrieks, and while both of them were solid, I couldn't help but wonder why and how Syesha managed to snag "Yesterday" for herself. I mean, couldn't one of the two resident sweethearts, Brooke White and Ramiele Malubay, have had it?

There was also some idolatry going on over on "Dancing with the Stars," which premiered on Monday night when the men performed, and continued on Tuesday with the women.

Actor Cristian de la Fuente and singer Mario each heated up the dance floor with their respective partners, reminding us that even family shows can titillate us with some swiveling hips.

But I, for one, was too busy idolizing Adam Carolla to care much. I know the guy's about as graceful as Big Foot, so he surely won't be around for long, but just imagine how entertaining the show would be if we could be privy to his one-liners all season long.

As far as I'm concerned, that would be something to shriek about.

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores.

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