Houstonian Kady Malloy = Early American Idol Front-runner

Dallas may have hosted the American Idol auditions’ most recent Texas stop back in August, but it looks like a Houstonian stole the show. On last night’s episode, notoriously curt Idol judge Simon Cowell practically flipped his wig over effervescent Katy Taylor alum and Jessica Alba lookalike Kady Malloy. “I think of all the people we’ve seen so far this year, you’re the best so far. I really do,” Cowell told Malloy, 18, after a supple 60 or so seconds of “Unchained Melody.” “I’ve got a feeling about you. You’re super, super talented.”

Fellow judge Randy Jackson agreed, albeit slightly less enthusiastically. And, sounding remarkably coherent for once, so did Paula Abdul. “What you just proved is that’s exactly what we’re looking for,” she said. “And it’s natural. You’re a very talented girl, beautiful. Good for you.”

Simon approved Malloy’s advancing to Hollywood with a “300 percent yes.” Early Internet buzz puts Malloy as a fan favorite due to her endearing impressions of Britney Spears and former Idol winner Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” Folks in the Houston area are already rooting for her, of course: “OMG!!! ITS KADY MALLOY!!” posted “DoubleDdog09” earlier today on YouTube. “She went to my school [Mayde Creek High School] for a while and she was in choir, but then she transferred to Taylor High School. Now my whole school’s talking about it.”

Malloy is already a showbiz veteran of sorts. Her self-titled debut album, recorded with Natalie Imbruglia and Mandy Moore producer Nick Treviseck, is no longer available for download on indie website Amiestreet.com – which touts her as a cross between Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and the Pussycat Dolls – leading to Idolator’s speculation it had been yanked by the “Idol powers that be.” Idolator still managed to unearth links to Malloy’s “Find the Time”and “It’s Automatic,” however.

Though the report didn’t give an exact number, according to MSNBC, the line of Dallas tryouts stretched one-quarter of the way around Texas Stadium. (The Dallas Morning News estimates the crowd at 13,000.) Other Texans advancing were ex-meth addict Jessica Brown of Longview; Kayla Hatfield of Campbell (between Greenville and Sulphur Springs), whom Cowell dubbed “slightly mad”; and Nina Shaw, whose sharing a hometown (Burleson) with Season 1 winner Clarkson will no doubt be brought up ad nauseaum. Malloy will be absent from Idol while the show recaps the San Diego, Omaha, Charleston, S.C., Atlanta and Miami auditions, but is sure to be front and center once the Hollywood round begins in a few weeks. – Chris Gray

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