We’d like to start this recap with a comment that has nothing to do with what could be considered the meat of American Idol – the singers or the judges. The last few recaps have focused largely on that, but let’s take a moment to commend the producers and their vision on capturing Idol‘s cool-factor. Sure, the show can be campy and a little bit ridiculous, with moments of tension punctuated by dramatic music getting under our skin sometimes. But even with all that, Idol still reminds us that there’s an art form when it comes to the cinematic moments of TV. For instance, last night opened up with Ryan Seacrest atop a rooftop helipad, gesturing towards Downtown Los Angeles with all the bravado of a James Bond movie. Hello, excitement. Let’s do this.

Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez aren’t the only new additions to Idol. We think that online auditions from MySpace was a smart move, considering the new and prevailing life the Web site has sustained via its music sector. Realizing that traveling to various cities around the country isn’t a feasible option for some, it only seemed to make sense. Thank goodness for smart group thinking, because the judges were treated to the vocals of 21 year old Karen Rodriguez. Personally, we could listen to her sing all day – beautiful, confident and seriously nothing short of amazing – and an obvious, obvious yes. Not a bad way to start things off. After the lackluster auditions thus far, again – it feels good when pure talent comes bursting through. But again, with the good comes the godawful. Sadly this episode wasn’t nearly as impressive as Los Angeles has been in the past. But alas, the recap must go on.

The two days spent in LA were long and tiring for the judges, offering them “a steady stream of disappointment” per Ryan Seacrest, and punctuated by 24-year-old William Roberts. We’re still not sure what song he tried to sing; the judges actually seemed to be looking frantically for help towards the end of it. But he did look sharp in his suit, we’ll give him that much.

But of course it got worse.

23-year old Jeanette Manning? Yeah. No.

18-year-old Daniel Hall? Uh…

24-year-old Anthony Granger, may we suggest not pulling your pants down for your next public appearance?

And 26-year-old Arista Pemberton, our suggestion to you is that you try out for So You Think You Can Dance so you’ll never try out for another talent competition again.

All of you. Just go.

But no, we must touch on poor Victoria Garrett, who was not at all aware that her semi-screeching/screaming rendition “Now Behold the Lamb” was unbearably hard on our eardrums. We almost felt bad for laughing. Actually, we laughed more at her being laughed at by the judges. It was so bad that we wish they were laughing with her. But she gets props for keeping whatever dignity she had left by walking out with a smiling acceptance of defeat, as well as the pot shots she took at J. Lo’s voice, because to be honest – well, we’ll just save that for another commentary.

Los Angeles was not the best this go-round. We have very few positive things to say about this pit stop – except that the weather looked absolutely gorgeous.

But before we go, here’s a question for you: Who’s been your favorite “good” audition so far? Even better – your favorite “worst” audition?

Stay tuned next week for the final round of Idol auditions – to take place in San Francisco – and then the pièce de résistance: the start of Hollywood Week!