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American Idol, Paula Abdul, Akilah Askew

Michael Becker / FOX

Either Paula Abdul is hugging this misguided contestant, or they're plotting against Simon Cowell.

Actually, it wasn't Paula who looked as if she wanted to blindside the Brit when American Idol rolled into San Francisco on Tuesday's episode. To Simon, long hair must equal target for derision, because he and Kara DioGuardi have been going at it over her judging prowess, his snark, the economic stimulus package... "It's like man versus woman up here," Randy Jackson noted.

More Bay Area goodness:

"Straight Up" Reality: Poor Paula got age-checked, twice! While one also-ran pointed out that Paula had a hit song when she was a child, Adam Lambert, who sailed through to Hollywood with "Bohemian Rhapsody," also happened to mention he saw Idol's nicest judge in concert...when he was 10.

Nice non sequitur: As James Smith (poorly) serenaded Paula, Randy blurted out, "She wants a baby!" prompting quite the sidelong glance from his fellow judge.

Simon Says: To befuddled jazz singer Annie Murdoch, who took awhile before finally blowing her audition with "Summertime": "It was like you were drunk. I'm not talking one or two bottles—I'm talking a crate."

Best in show: Lambert, John Twiford, Raquel Houghton, Allison Iraheta, Kai Kalama and Jesús Valenzula, who wasn't quite as good as the rest, but had CLKS (Cute Little Kids with Signs) on his side.

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