So, I don't exactly know how to say this, but… tonight's episode was actually good. I mean, not "good TV" good, but "American Idol" good. For the most part, the guys sounded good, and I even laughed a few times. With them, not at them. Even Paula brought her A-game, and, in addition to apparently not being under the influence of any prescription drugs, was actually almost witty. I'm going to write this off as an anomaly, and assume the quality was due to residual good humor from Jennifer Hudson winning an Oscar. Also, Jeff Foxworthy was in the audience, so… make of that what you will, but whatever was going on, I enjoyed watching this episode. It was surreal.

Also, because every week obviously requires some sort of gimmick, this week is "Dedication Week," so we got to witness short video segments about how much each contestant loves one or more of his friends or family, which was much less charming than I'm sure the producers intended it to be.

Now let's get on with that hating (sort of)!

1. Phil Stacey – dedicated to some dude from (or perhaps an entire branch of) the US Military – "I Ain't Missing You"
Me: I actually like his voice now, despite his weird alien cancer head. Plus I love this song, obviously. He sounds good.
Randy: That was hot, Phil. You showin' your power.
Paula: Every week I'm hearing how great the TONE of your voice is. And I can hear you right now on the radio.
Simon: I'm not jumping out of my chair. I think you're a very popular guy, I think you have a completely unoriginal voice. I quite liked the bit towards the end, but where I'm struggling here is: I'm still not hearing anything unique. I'm just hearing very, very good karaoke.

2. Jared Cotter – dedicated to his mom and dad – "You Sexy Thing"
Me: Oh, he's no Marvin Gaye, that's for damn sure. He's not bad though. But seriously, talk about cheesy… Also, is this appropriate for all the 8-year-olds who watch this show? Plus his face looks pained. Like he's had an erection for four hours and requires medical attention. Maybe Foxworthy can do a joke about that…
Randy: I kinda liked it, but I loved the whole face move, dog. I might have to borrow that one.
Paula: You're a good looking guy, you are.
Randy: Did you like the face thing? (does the "face thing")
Paula: I like it when JARED does it.
Me & Audience: Ooooh!
Paula: That's the kind of song, though, that you don't have to push. No pun intended.
Simon: Look, I'm glad that you made the attempt to actually make a bit of a statement. It did remind me, though, of The Love Boat. It was a bit corny, in parts.
Randy: That would have been a great Love Boat, man.
Ryan: And the things we've all done to that song! Memories…
Me: Yeah, like DUDES, Seacrest?!
Audience: Ooooh!

3. A.J. Tabaldo – dedicated to his mom and dad – "I'm Feelin' Good"
Me: I really like this song. He'd better not gay it up. So far, so good. Oh, there it goes. Stop dancing, you tiny Mexican fairy! I guess he's an okay singer. Gay last note. Gay! Idol ruins everything.
Randy: So check it out, dog, it was so much better than last week. At least you proved that you got skillz [sic]. Kinda nice, though, baby. It's kinda nice.
Paula: A.J., you have a real, real, real, real, REAL good voice.
Simon: You know, I have to say, that was actually nearly very good, and you looked strangely comfortable doing that.

4. Sanjaya Malakar – dedicated to his dead grandfather – "Stepping Out"
Me: Sweet "Billie Jean" costume, kid. I like him, personality-wise, but I really don't think his voice is strong enough for this. Also he looks like a girl in that hat.
Randy: Sanjaya, God, listen: you're a nice guy. I like you, but this felt like a weird high school talent show for me. It's like you borrowed our dad's hat. It just really didn't work for me. This was not good. I thought it was really weak.
Paula: I think it would be great to pick songs that celebrate your youth.
Simon: It was like some ghastly lunch where after lunch, your parents asked the children to dress up and sing. It came over as very weak, a little weird, and it made absolutely no impact. I don't get why you did that.

5. Chris Sligh – dedicated to his wife (who is way too hot for him) – "Trouble"
Me: His voice is really beautiful. I will kill his wife. I don't care how much he claims to "love her" via the lyrics of this song.
Rudy: Good choice, I liked that.
Paula: Watch your pitch a little bit, and watch getting ahead of the music a little bit. Other than that, you're real awesome.
Simon: Tonight, you were a very good singer.

6. Nick Pedro – dedicated to his girlfriend (who has a GIANT CHIN) – "Fever"
Me: This song is perfect for his voice. It sounds really good, but he can't sing jazz forever. … OR CAN HE?
Randy: Very pitchy in spots, and you were kinda rushin' a little bit, but very nice, dude. That's the Nick that we love.
Paula: Just let go. You don't have anything to worry about. Just go for it.
Simon: I felt you lacked charisma on it. I felt you should have dressed up a bit.

Ryan: How should he have dressed?
Simon: I'm not a stylist.
Ryan: Maybe a black shirt, something tight, snug, showing a bit of chest hair?
Me: Haha, well played, Seacrest.

7. Blake Lewis – dedicated to his parents – "Virtual Insanity"
Me: Oh, how fun! What a nice change. I have a sudden urge to go rollerblading. Yay, and beat boxing!
Randy: Flowing, beat boxing, doin' a little scatting. I like you, man!
Paula: You're making smart choices, you're unique, there's no one else like you in this competition… Way to go!
Simon: Other than the middle of the song, I actually didn't see any originality from you. I saw a copycat performance. I was very disappointed this week.

8. Brandon Rogers – dedicated to his dead grandmother – "Time After Time"
Me: He's just not on tonight. And he's moving his arms like he's signing the lyrics for deaf people. It's pretty hard to make this song sound bad, so way to be superlatively unimpressive, B. Rog.
Randy: I don't think, dog, that it really did enough for you vocally to show what you got. It was kinda boring for me, actually.
Paula: I felt your heart. You don't have to over sing. You've got a beautiful voice.
Simon: You have gotta be out there and show us why you're a great singer.

9. Chris Richardson – dedicated to his alive grandmother, "Big Mama" – "Geek in the Pink"
Me: Is he RAPPING?! This song is about doing it and it's dedicated to his grandma. TimberFAKE, what are you doing?! It is awesome, though. Just like grandma loving.
Randy: Chris is in it to win it tonight, dog! I even thought it was hotter than the original, dog!
Paula: I love that you dedicated that to your grandma.
Simon: Best. Tonight. By a mile. By a mile.

10. Sundance Head – dedicated to his son, Levi, who is 2 1/2 months old – "Mustang Sally"
Me: Stop yelling at America under the guise of song, Sundance. I admit, it's a lot better than last week. But still. He's still a horrible, portly, dwarfish creature.
Randy: Dude, you dropped a bomb on 'em tonight! That was hot.
Paula: You gotta bring it like that every week.
Simon: Let's not get TOO carried away, here. I actually still think you could do better. Could have done a lot better.
Picture on screen of Levi with a Sundance beard
CH poster #2: ^ douchenozzle