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Are You Ready for Some Idol?

The auditions ran this past summer in the cities of San Diego, Dallas, Omaha, Atlanta, Charleston, Miami, and Philadelphia. They came in the hundreds. They waited for hours on end. Some had talent, but a bunch did not. We have seen the promos on TV -- are you ready for American Idol? Hello Paula, Randy, Simon, and Ryan!

It is finally in sight as Season 7 is gearing up for a two-night premiere on January 15 and 16 at 8pm/7pm central. Two hours each and two whole nights of American Idol! Four hours and I can hardly wait.

Here the writers' strike has helped us out. The FOX show 24 was postponed and American Idol was set to go with this four-hour premiere. Note that as of Tuesday April 1, a new season of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen will take the 9 p.m. hour after Idol, going through the summer. On Wednesday nights, starting on Jan. 23, Idol will air for an hour starting at 8 p.m. leading into the new unscripted (reality) show The Moment of Truth.

It then will follow its usual schedule of two shows each week - every Tuesday and Wednesday through Feb. 6. The Hollywood round will air on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, with the top 24 contestants revealed on that Feb 13th show. The first performance episode, featuring the 12 male finalists, will air on Feb. 19, with the 12 female finalists taking the stage the following night; a live telecast revealing the results of the season's first vote will air on Feb. 21. And the top 12 finalists will perform for the first time on Tuesday, March 11. Mark your calendars! Set your TiVos and DVRs!

And if you enjoy rumors, you might enjoy this site where they abound. They also have a list of the 50 Top Maybe Contestants together with links to their YouTube videos or MySpace pages.

But we all tune in to these early audition shows to see the ones that do not make it - to hear what Simon Cowell hurls at the performers. We really want to see the next Jordin Sparks and William Hung. You know you do!

History: American Idol began its first season on June 11, 2002 and is based on a successful British show called Pop Idol. Nationwide auditions come first and then the judges cut the lot down to a manageable number over a number of shows and then the audience takes over, selecting weekly winners and the final winner through voter participation. It has shown to be a winning format.

In the six seasons of its existence, the winners have been: Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Jordin Sparks. Hicks was the oldest winner at 29, and Sparks was the youngest at 17.

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