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American Idol: The Guys Step It Up (Except Sanjaya)

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The remaining 10 guys performed on American Idol last night, and thankfully, it wasn't two hours of excruciating torture like last week. First, it was only a 90-minute show to make room for Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. (Hence, the shameless Jeff Foxworthy shots in the AI audience. He hosts the show, so you know it's gonna be redneck good.) And while the guys greatly improved from their first outing, they still didn't come quite close enough to the best women's performances from last week.

Gold stars, however, do go out to Chris Sligh for covering Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble," Chris Richardson, who channeled Justin Timberlake during his performance of Jason Mraz's "Geek in the Pink" and beatboxer Blake Lewis for "Virtual Insanity." (Remember Jamiroquai?)

And in the cellar again this week is 17-year-old Sanjaya Malakar. He pulled his hair back, donned a fedora and tried to croon "Steppin' Out with My Baby." (His outfit, speaking voice and physique reminded us a little of Michael Jackson. Anyone else see that?) It was hard to watch. He was off key for half of the song. The kid really has to go this week.

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The other guys were just OK, but we did notice a few things about them:

>> Some people just shouldn't go bald. Britney Spears looks better than Phil Stacey. With the dark circles around his eyes, he kinda looks like a cancer patient.

>> A.J. Tabaldo has a good voice, but the kid is short. He's a few inches shorter than Ryan Seacrest, who we've stood next to in line at Joan's on Third. He's no giant, so A.J. has got to be 5' 4."

>> Jared Cotter sang Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" fairly well, but what surprised us even more was the story that he said his mom got him up out of bed to get to get him to audition for the show. The dude is like 25 years old. Maybe he's not so cute after all.

Tonight, it's the women's turn to try and top their outstanding first-week performances.