Resident "American Idol" expert Jim Cantiello brings you a minute-by-minute recap of every episode right here! Keep checking for updates throughout the show, and don't miss out on his previous live blogs and other "Idol" news.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight I'll be live-blogging the final audition episode of "American Idol 8: This Time It's Personal."
Let's see how many soul-crushing sob stories producers can cram into tonight's final audition show. Maybe we'll get a girl who lost her limbs in a freak toaster accident? Or a boy raised by wolves? Or another Osmond?
Tonight is exciting for me on a personal level because we're watching the "New York City" auditions (they really happened in - the horror! - New Jersey) and I was one of the thousands who trekked to the Garden State to try out. And while I didn't get past the first round of preliminary auditions, I met a bunch of cool kids on line who were there chasing the dream. Here's hoping some of them made it to the finished show.
Before we dive in to "Idol 8: Sponsored by Kleenex," let me give a shout-out to MTV.COM user "menace913," who astutely pointed out that Kara isn't delivering what she promised. "Kara brings nothing new to this show. I swear all she says is...'there's something about you I like.' Why can't she just say what [she likes] about the person? They built up Kara like she was another Simon, I think she's another Randy." Snap! But in Kara's defense, menace913, we'll have to wait to see the live shows to properly gauge how Kara fits in the judge's panel. These early audition episodes are heavily edited, so who knows what she'll be like once the Top 36 rolls around?
On with the blogging!
7:53 pm - I'm so relieved that tonight's episode is only 60 minutes long. I interpreted Seacrest's "two city special" voice-over to mean that it would be two hours long. Sorry for any confusion I may have caused last night when I started kvetching about that.
7:55 pm - I am so excited for tonight! It's like Christmas Eve, because I know next week is my favorite part of "Idol." HOLLYWOOD WEEK! All that drama keeps me going for another 12 months.
8:00 pm - Hmm, Seacrest just equated the melding of Puerto Rico and New York in "West Side Story" with tonight's "Idol" episode. A stretch.
8:01 pm - Sigh - I'm totally going to have to pause all these crowd shots to see if I'm in there.
8:03 pm - Adeola Adegoke quit her day job to audition. You know where this going...
8:04 pm - Paula Abdul is wearing an orange scarf with a bright pink tank top. But what's REALLY making me nauseous is the boat bopping in the ocean behind the judges. I'm getting sea sick.
8:05 pm - Simon Cowell is calling Adeola's boss and asking him to hire her back. He's so nice in contrived situations.
8:05 pm - Now we're in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm jet-lagged.
8:06 pm - Jorge Nunez has a lovely Marc Anthony-esque voice. But Kara isn't feeling his accent. Um, Kara. Why don't you try and sing in Russian? [Slaps forehead.] Jorge is going through! Let's hope he ditches the greasy hair products once he's on the mainland.
8:09 pm - I love this Heidi Klum commercial, although it makes me sad for "Project Runway's" legal woes. Why can't Bravo and Weinstein kiss and make up? Do it for the children, guys!
8:12 pm - Jessika Baier is from Michican, although she's auditioning in San Juan. She is the epitome of bubbly chubby girl. She is loud.
8:13 pm - Simon hates her. OMG - Paula just tried to give her constructive criticism but ended up sounding really mean: "You sounded shrilly." Ouch!
8:16 pm - Melinda Camille in NYC - woof I'm confused by this two-city show - likes to dance naked in her room. Who doesn't?
8:17 pm - She's new-agey and airy. She and Paula are kindred spirits.
8:18 pm - Stop the presses! This space cadet can sing sing sing! She's singing Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," which was the kiss for Leslie Hunt and A.J. Tabaldo (the same week) in Season Six. But it works for Melinda. See you in Hollywood, you lovable kook!
8:23 pm - Lame. I remember that Heavy Metal dude from audition day. He was annoying then, and he's annoying now.
8:24 pm - Jackie Tohn sings like she has a frog in her throat. And she has a Joe Cocker face when she sings.
8:26 pm - And she has the telekinetic powers to pull a window on the judges. What was THAT? Her witchcraft also convinced the judges to give her a golden ticket. Will she put a spell on the voting viewers? I doubt it. "Idol" viewers typically don't respond well to twitchy girl singers. (Nicole Tranquillo, we hardly knew ye.) If Jackie was a prematurely gray dude, however, she might win the whole damn thing.
8:32 pm - Jasmine James is stepping. Cue Sway from "Stomp The Yard" saying "I've never seen stepping like this!"
8:33 pm - Joel Contreras in Puerto Rico is doing Tom Green's schtick. If "Idol" doesn't work, buddy, I bet MTV would give you your own show. They're handing those out to talentless hacks nowadays. (Watch my webshow "MTV Detox!")
8:34 pm - Okay, I totally laughed at his "Guy-Pod" gag. Admit it, the clicking sound-effect was pretty awesome.
8:36 pm - Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell is 27 years old the same way Paris Hilton's a virgin. Despite his crazy antics, he's going to Hollywood. The first part of his "Amazing Grace" was pretty great!
8:39 pm - Ashley Hollister is a receptionist at a hair salon. TMI, "Idol" chyron. TMI.
8:39 pm - Kenny Hoffpauer is a 16 year old crooner. What ever happened to John Stevens? Also, Jason Mraz is this year's Bryan Adams. Everyone's singing his song!
8:39 pm - Oh no, another Kristy Lee Cook is amongst us.
8:44 pm - Cute little brother alert! Paula is mauling him. Easy tiger! At least wait 'til he's Corey Clark's age. (Just kiddin'!)
8:45 pm - I would like to be reincarnated as one of the "Idol" production assistants who get to sit in the auditions on the sidelines and hand out golden tickets. But I would probably get fired because I would refuse to give them to bad singers.
8:46 pm - Monique Garcia Torres is PRECIOUS! LOVE HER! LOVE HER! LOVE HER! "You Can't Hurry Love" has never sounded so chipper!
8:47 pm - The judges don't think she's ready. But thanks to Christopher, the cutest little brother since I was a child, Simon gave her another chance. Step it up in Hollywood Week, girl!
8:49 pm - Speaking of cuteness, my cat MooShu is leaning her head on my shoulder. Aww!
8:52 pm - Oh boy. Alexis "Take it! Take it! Take It!" Cohen is back, y'all. I liked her voice a lot, last year, but her attitude stunk. Now she's a Stepford Wife.
8:54 pm - "Dad, this is for you!" Eek. Isn't "Like A Prayer" about, um, third base?
8:55 pm - And in the least shocking twist since "The Reader," (seriously, the movie's called THE READER, folks, and Kate Winslet likes to be read to...just sayin') Alexis stinks and then gives Simon the finger. "Idol" is totally like "Weekend at Bernie's 2" this year.
8:56 pm - The last contestant in Puerto Rico is Patricia Lewis Roman. She has some potential, but she should not have picked a Whitney song.
8:57 pm - Simon said the same thing! If you ever have to call out sick, buddy, I can totally fill your seat.
8:58 pm - After a second song, Patricia convinces the judges to let her through (except an especially cold Paula. What's up her butt tonight?)
8:59 pm - Only 9 Golden Tickets were handed out in Puerto Rico, versus the 26 in New York. So...why did we see so much from San Juan tonight?
9:00 pm - We did it! We survived 45 hours of audition episodes. And now the fun begins. I cannot WAIT to dish about all the goings-on this season. Hope you'll continue to join me!!
What did you think of tonight's episode? Are you happy the auditions are dunzo? Were you angry to see Alexis Cohen make a second appearance? (I'll admit I gave the producers the finger in my apartment in her honor.) And who would you rather adopt: Little Brother Christopher or David Archuleta? Hit me up in the comments! My favorite will get a shout-out in next Tuesday's Hollywood Week live-blog recap.