On 'American Idol,' the gimmicks don't always work. Texas beauty Halie Hilburn learned that lesson on tonight's (Jan. 31) audition episode, which took place in Oklahoma City. Hilburn is a ventriloquist and she took the stage with Oscar, her hand puppet. He held her back, since they dueted and she yodeled on '(I Want to Be) A Cowboy's Sweetheart.' She was inches from dismissal when she ditched Oscar and sang Gavin DeGraw's 'More Than Anyone,' proving she can sing. Boy, can she sing.

The puppet-yodel pairing was a mistake and too much of a joke. We understand that Hilburn was trying (too hard) to stand out, but she is already gorgeous and incredibly talented, as her second song showed. She almost didn't get that chance to sing again, which made us wonder why she messed around since it nearly cost her a chance to go to Hollywood.

We expect to see more of Hilburn as the rounds progress. As for Oscar? His fate is sealed, as he was seen begging for change on the streets after the audition. No, he was. Really. Poor guy! If Hilburn goes far on the show, he can say he knew her way back when.