• Publication date: January 19, 2009

Can You Rock America? New Season Of Uncovering Vocal Gems

Premiered on January 13, 2009 comes the latest [eighth season] of the popular American reality TV series "American Idol". This season Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson are judges once again, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. This season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge.

Premiered on January 13, 2009 comes the latest [eighth season] of the popular American reality TV series "American Idol". This season Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson are judges once again, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. This season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge.

This season promises funnier auditions, more focus on exploring the singers and contestants, and a faster pace than previous seasons. This season's producers claim that the viewers at home will be able to access more of the contestants' personalities, past and psyche than ever before possible on "American Idol". In a sense amplifying the reality part of the show, in addition to the existing space allocated to singer performances.

This season's permanent fourth judge is none other than acclaimed songwriter/ music producer Kara DioGuardi, who has a long list of Billboard Top 40 hits, having worked with artists such as: Celine Dion, Hilary Duff, Enrique Iglesias, Leona Lewis and Christina Aguilera. Kara DioGuardi also worked with past "American Idol" singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and recent winner David Cook, aiding in their first musical steps after graduating with the public's blessing on previous Idol shows.

This season sees the return of the Wild Card round at the semifinals, for the first time since Season 3. Also, there will be 36 semi-finalists picked instead of 24, divided into 3 groups of 12. The groups of 12 will perform one day and at the conclusion of the results show the next day, the male and female semifinalists who received the highest number of home viewers votes for their previous night's performance will instantly become a Top 12 finalist.

In addition, another semifinalist that had received the next-highest number of votes after the performance episode � regardless of whether he or she is male or female � will also become a finalist. In the Wild Card round, the next highest finishers plus other eliminated semi-finalists will return for one more chance to compete. The judges will pick the 3 performers left that they consider the best. No voting by the public will be done at this stage in the Wild Card round.

Debuted on June 11, 2002, "American Idol" has since become one of the most popular shows on American television. The program seeks to uncover the best singer in the country through a series of nationwide auditions. The outcomes of the later stages of this competition are determined by public voting by phone.