Idol judges are happier with the “good,” “better,” and “best” top 10 men

When Casey Kasem used to host America’s Top 40, before American Idol‘s Ryan Seacrest took the job from him, I’d always turn it off during those melodramatic “request and dedication” segments. So, in honor of that show, I fast-forwarded through most the packages that preceded the men’s performances last night. The producers thought it’d be a good idea to kill time by having the men dedicate their songs to someone important in their life.

However heartfelt those dedications were, they quickly became tiresome and repetitive. Some were so ridiculous that Simon Cowell couldn’t stop himself from mocking the dedications. “Happy birthday, mom, in six months time,” Simon said. “How about we all dedicate something? And I like puppies. I love puppies.”

While the dedications may have been boring, the performances weren’t–or at least they weren’t as boring as last week’s. Halfway through, Randy said the guys were doing “so much better than they did last week,” and at the end said, “what a difference a week makes.” Simon said they were “better,” while at the end, Paula Abdul jumped up and said, “Touchdown!”

Despite their enthusiasm for the performances, the judges’ reviews seemed familiar, and patterns seemed to emerge as the night went on. To test this, I selected one adjective from their comments that the judges either used multiple times to describe the performance, or one that represented the core of their review. Here, then, in 30 words, are the judges’ reviews of the 10 men:

Randy
hot, pitchy, better, weird, better, nice, good, boring, hot, hot

Paula
great, good-looking, good, odd, awesome, love, unique, beautiful, good, awesome

Simon
unoriginal, corny, different, ghastly, very good, good, copycat, best, better

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.