Dude looks like a lady.  Even up close, American Idol judge Steven Tyler really looks like a lady.  And an old one at that.  But the guy is dang smart.  As smart as he is unique.  And that’s what makes a great Idol judge.  And just a fascinating cat in general.

Seeing Steven Tyler in the flesh, only a foot away, was just one of the many highlights of this whirl-wind four day trip to Hollywood. After I posted his photo on Facebook and twitter, the comments came flooding in. “Love those cheekbones!” wrote one friend.  “Love that man!” tweeted another.

Tyler told us his band Aerosmith is putting out a new record.  And the band’s going on tour.  He also said Aerosmith is going to perform during the two hour Idol finale.  Now that’s sure to be another kick-arse highlight of this kick-arse trip.

Another memory I’ll tuck away in my mental “brag” bag of lifetime highlights will be seeing Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips “Before they blew-up big.” I sat through two press conferences with them—one before the final competition round, and then one right after.  Both Jessica and Phillip are still just a couple of down to earth sweet kids.

Jessica is really shy, though poised well beyond her scant 16 years.  And Phillip, well, Phillip just has a gift that can’t be learned. He connects with you when he talks.  And when he sings.  He’s not the best at both, but he’s a master at getting you to find him childlike and sweet.  And he’s funny in a quirky Zooey Deschanel kinda way.

Big disappointment?  Taylor Hicks.  Maybe he was just having a bad day when I met him.  But he was rude and snapped at the person assisting him.  You could tell he’s done this dog and pony show a million times and loathes it to the core. 

Another disappointment?  You’re not allowed to take any photos inside the Nokia Theatre.  The stage and theatre are amazing.  And the light show rivals anything I’ve seen.  It’s just so damn cool.  And I wish I could share photos of it with our listeners because it’s just soooo cool.

Well, gotta cut this short.  There’s still a ton more dirt to dish… but I have to pull on my fancy schmancy gown and shuttle-off to the Nokia to catch the two hour finale of American Idol 2012.