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Tied to a whipping post: favorite son Casey James no longer unscathed among Idol's North Texas 4

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Clockwise from bottom left: North Texans Casey James, Alex Lambert, Tim Urban and Todrick Hall perform on Idol. Fox photos

"The Cougar" (Kara DioGuardi) clawed at her favorite hottie cub Tuesday night while fellow judge Simon Cowell head-patted two contestants he'd savaged the week before.

American Idol's contingent of four North Texas males -- among just 10 men still standing -- had another eventful go-around on the show's Tuesday performance edition. As before, we'll give you a condensation of the judges' actual comments before Uncle Barky chips in like a woodpecker among redwoods. Here we go again.

Song: "I Don't Wanna Be" by Gavin DeGraw

Randy Jackson -- "I love you channeling like Hendrix. This is the kind of music I could see you making as an artist and winning."
Ellen DeGeneres -- "On paper everything is there . . . But there's just a stiffness about you."
Kara DioGuardi -- "We all got the memo. 'The Cougar's' a fan. But tonight, I gotta say, you took two steps backward for me . . . Tonight everything that was distinct about you -- upfront, center, honest -- went away. Still a fan, but tonight, two steps back, baby."
Simon Cowell -- "Did he not return your calls, darling? This week you turned into somebody you will see in any bar across America -- somebody trying to be a rock star."

Uncle Barky -- "Embarrassed by her previous slobbering, DioGuardi's just trying to distance herself from any Paula Abdul comparisons while also keeping her off-camera hubby at bay. But Casey's electric guitar riffs did tend to overwhelm his voice. Gargle with Southern Comfort and get those vocal chords re-tuned. Then either lose the guitar or downshift it to acoustic."

Song: "Everybody Knows" by John Legend

Randy -- "This is such an improvement for me over last week. I really enjoyed that, actually."
Ellen -- "So much better than last week . . . You're gaining so much experience so quickly. I like it. I like it."
Kara -- "There isn't a person out there that isn't rooting for you . . . What you have is an incredible, recordable voice. People would die to have that tone."
Simon -- "That was a million times better than last week . . . Let me just give you some advice. The only time you should be nervous is if you're useless. And you're not. You've actually got a good voice . . . You have to have a killer, killer instinct now."

Uncle Barky -- "I dunno. I just don't see it. Definitely more relaxed this time, but still next to no stage presence. The voice is OK, but certainly not all that 'incredible' or 'recordable.' Or memorable."

Song: "What's Love Got to Do With It?" by Tina Turner

Randy -- "A great song doesn't need a different, wild arrangement. I didn't love this, right? I didn't love this at all . . . Just sing a nice song. Just sing. For once."
Ellen -- "I would say not 'just sing.' I would say sing and move. Because use your strength. You're a dancer . . . I don't think it was the right song. I don't think that song helped you get any votes."
Kara -- "I don't get it. What happened to Todrick with his unique spin on stuff that was not crazy, all over the place? I don't know where that Todrick went."
Simon -- "I would say, 'Tondrick (sic), move but don't sing.' Because this is not working out at all for you. It was just one of those performances I had the misfortune to see at a theme park. It was of that caliber . . . I don't know what's going through your head at the moment, but you are getting this completely and utterly wrong. Sorry."

Uncle Barky -- "WTF are you people talking about!? Todrick's interpretation of this Turner standard was nowhere near as 'off-message' as last week's rendition of Kelly Clarkson's 'Since U Been Gone.' In fact, he kept the melody completely intact while also making the song 'his own,' as you guys keep parroting. You demand originality, and then you try to stifle this kid's creativity. He needs to tune you out and stay in this groove. What're you trying to do to him? You're acting like a bunch of Lawrence Welks striving to rein in Miles Davis. Let's hope viewers are much, much smarter than this."

Song: "C'mon, Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson

Randy -- "Tim, how was that for you, man? I didn't really get it. It was kind of very karaoke for me. There was nothing special about it. Nothing jumped out. Nothing made it unique."
Ellen -- "You should act. There's no charisma. There's no stage presence . . . But you're adorable. And if you act, you've got it made. Because you can also sing a little."
Kara -- "I actually liked the song choice . . . But you didn't make it your own. It's just frustrating with you. Because you look the part, you play the part, but it's not all there yet."
Simon -- "I think that was a marked improvement on last week . . . I thought you were more relevant tonight than a lot of the other singers we've seen before. I'm really impressed by your attitude and your work ethic."

Uncle Barky -- "Ellen's on to something. She mentioned Glee during the course of her discourse, and yeah, that'd be perfect for you. You've definitely got the heartthrob David Cassidy/Zac Efron package. And your vocals are decent enough. Don't write yourself off yet on Idol, though. Two words: Kris Allen. He's the cute 'n' cuddly defending champ, and no one every accused him of having a high-soaring vocal range. It's very unlikely you'll go the distance, but a Top 10 finish isn't inconceivable."