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[12/15/08 - 09:59 AM]
Get Ready to Share Your Voice as "American Idol" Returns with a Brand-New Season, New Contestants and a New Judge Tuesday, January 13 and Wednesday, January 14, on Fox
FOX details the schedule for the opening weeks of the new season.

[via press release from FOX]

GET READY TO SHARE YOUR VOICE AS "AMERICAN IDOL" RETURNS WITH A BRAND-NEW SEASON, NEW CONTESTANTS AND A NEW JUDGE TUESDAY, JANUARY 13 AND WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, ON FOX

Top 36 Semifinalists Revealed Wednesday, Feb. 11

Voting Begins Tuesday, Feb. 17

Top 12 Singers Revealed After Judges' Wild Card Round Thursday, March 5

Top 12 Finalists Perform for First Time Tuesday, March 10

The wait is almost over for the return of television's No. 1 show! Last season's finale boasted a record-breaking nearly 100 million votes cast in the crowning of David Cook as the winner, and now, AMERICAN IDOL is set to return with a two-night, four-hour premiere event featuring extraordinary talent and outrageous new auditions Tuesday, Jan. 13 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, Jan. 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

The eighth season kicks off with three weeks of audition episodes, featuring tryouts held in East Rutherford, NJ; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Louisville, KY; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. After the two-night premiere, auditions will continue for two weeks on Tuesday, Jan. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, Jan. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT); and Tuesday, Jan. 27 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, Jan. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). The final audition episode will air Thursday, Jan. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

The lucky auditioners who get the judges' approval then move on to the "Hollywood Round" where contestants vie for a semifinalist position during the grueling next phase of the auditions. Extended for one week, the "Hollywood Round" episodes air: Tuesday, Feb. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT); Wednesday, Feb. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT); and Tuesday, Feb. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). On Wednesday, Feb. 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), dreams come true for three dozen hopefuls, as Simon, Randy, Paula and Kara announce the Top 36 semifinalists.

It will then be up to America to decide who moves forward in the competition. For three consecutive Tuesdays including: Feb. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), Feb. 24 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), 12 different semifinalists will perform each night in the hopes of moving on to the Top 12. Each week during the LIVE results shows airing Wednesdays: Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), Feb. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and March 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), the three finalists with the highest number of America's votes will secure coveted spots in the Top 12.

On Thursday, March 5 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), AMERICAN IDOL presents a special "Wild Card" episode featuring the judges favorite remaining contestants. After each of the contestants perform, the judges will select the three final contestants who will round out the Top 12.

The competition heats up as those Top 12 finalists take the stage for the first time together Tuesday, March 10 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed). Immediately following, America has another chance to share its voice and vote for their favorite finalists.

RECAP (All times ET/PT)

Tuesday, Jan. 13 (8:00-10:00 PM) Season Premiere, Part 1

Wednesday, Jan. 14 (8:00-10:00 PM) Season Premiere, Part 2

Tuesday, Jan. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM) Auditions Episode

Wednesday, Jan. 21 (8:00-9:00 PM) Auditions Episode

Tuesday, Jan. 27 (8:00-9:00 PM) Auditions Episode

Wednesday, Jan. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM) Auditions Episode

Thursday, Jan. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM) Auditions Episode

Tuesday, Feb. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM) Hollywood Round, Part 1

Wednesday, Feb. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM) Hollywood Round, Part 2

Tuesday, Feb. 10 (8:00-9:00 PM) Hollywood Round, Part 3

Wednesday, Feb. 11 (8:00-10:00 PM) Hollywood Round, Part 4 � Top 36 Semifinalists Announced

Tuesday, Feb. 17 (8:00-10:00 PM) 12 Semifinalists Perform

Wednesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM) First LIVE Results Show (ET live/PT tape-delayed) 3 Finalists Advance

Tuesday, Feb. 24 (8:00-10:00 PM) 12 Semifinalists Perform

Wednesday, Feb. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM) LIVE Results Show (ET live/PT tape-delayed) 3 Finalists Advance

Tuesday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM) 12 Semifinalists Perform

Wednesday, March 4 (8:00-9:00 PM) LIVE Results Show (ET live/PT tape-delayed) 3 Finalists Advance

Thursday, March 5 (8:00-9:00 PM) Wild Card Round � Top 12 Finalists Revealed

Tuesday, March 10 (8:00-10:00 PM) Top 12 Finalists Perform

AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America; and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America.

Visit americanidol.com for exclusive videos and photos from the audition cities, special behind-the-scenes information and all of your AMERICAN IDOL news.





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· AMERICAN IDOL (ABC)





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