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'American Idol' re-run: Did you like anyone better the second time around?

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I know. I’m obsessed. I couldn’t help myself. When Cat Deeley announced on last Thursday’s So You Think You Can Dance results show that American Idol would re-run an episode for the first time in eight seasons, I couldn’t help but set my DVR right away. Sure, I had already seen the season 8 Top 13 telecast, featuring songs from Michael Jackson’s catalog, but like any Idol-obsessed TV watcher, I had to see it again. Not just because re-running the show was a fitting way to remember the King of Pop (it was). But also because this was a landmark in American Idol history, and I’m just fanatic enough to force myself to follow through and celebrate it.

And before I get to the episode itself, I should mention something: Like any Idol fan will tell you, it is an incredibly stressful experience to follow the show. You constantly root for your favorites, hoping that they won’t get knocked out by some lark (think Scott Savol besting Constantine Maroulis back in season four). When a contestant you don’t care for garners praise from the judges, your heart knots up a little in fear for whatever non-pimped underdog you’re hoping makes it past the week. That’s what made watching last night’s top 13 show so interesting. Knowing that my favorites (Kris Allen, Anoop Desai) had made it into the top 11, I was able to actually enjoy contestants that I loathed the first time around. Most notably, Michael Sarver, whose “You Are Not Alone” I found to be boring, average and not worthy of the praise he received the first time around. But since I went into last night’s viewing knowing full well that Anoop made it past the travesty that was “Beat It”—and two deserving contestants went home—I decided to put my bias aside and actually listen. And you know what? When I closed my eyes (I still can’t tolerate the boy band hand movements, sorry), Michael was really good. He actually delivered a sincere, above average performance (embedded below).

My newfound respect for Michael made me wish that Idol would choose to re-run other episodes. Would I change my poor opinion about Syesha Mercado? Nikki McKibbin? John Stevens? (Okay, probably not). But some performance shows were so stellar, I’d love to see them again in their entirety. (Especially since some performances are still not on YouTube.) A few of my favorites: season one’s big band night (see Kelly’s awesome performance after the jump), season two’s movie soundtracks night, season three’s movie soundtracks night (with Quentin Tarantino as judge!), and season seven’s first Beatles night.

Tell me, PopWatchers: Did you watch last night’s Idol re-run? Who was better on the second listen? Worse? And which performance night would you want to see Idol re-run?

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