‘American Idol’ Expert Jim Cantiello Is Live-Blogging The Premiere!

Jim Cantiello Watch the show with Jim in the Newsroom so you don’t miss a thing.

Hi, my name is Jim and I’m an “Idol”-holic.

“American Idol” is back for its eighth (!!) season tonight and I could not be any more excited to recap it. This season, I’m going to try something a little different from past years of recapping “Idol.” Behold the “Idol” live-blog! Yep, I’ll be live-blogging every single episode all season long! (Save for Wednesday night results show, when I’ll be busy prepping that weeks’ “Idol in 60 Seconds” recap segment.)

Season Eight promises to be a brand new “Idol.” A top 36! A wild card round! (Hey, doesn’t season eight sound a lot like seasons one and two? Just sayin’.) But wait! There’s more! Kara DioGuardi (can’t wait to hear how Seacrest pronounces that name) has been added to the dysfunctional family as a fourth judge! And, I just bought an HDTV and am dying to watch my favorite show in all its 1080i glory! So! Many! Exclamation! Points!

So before I pop a blood vessel, I think it’s best we start the blogging.

This….is “American Idol” Live-Blog!

PS – One tiny note for my West Coast readers – if you’re allergic to spoilers, you might want to wait until 10pm your time before you read below.

8:00 pm – And away we go! The episode starts with a quote from Katharine McPhee fan, David Foster. “In life, the microphone passes your lips but once…you had better be ready to sing.” Watch your back, Plato. And they’re showing old school season 1 clips! Look how young Simon looks!

8:01 pm – Annnd musical montage #1 begins: old clips cut to “What A Wonderful Word.” Pointless musical montage? I see that “Idol: Season Eight” is taking cue from the Oscars. Fingers crossed for Savion Glover to do a tap dance routine to the score of “Saving Private Ryan!”

8:02 pm – Awww, a shot of Claudette Yamin. RIP, Claudette! I was your biggest fan!

8:03 pm – Awwww, a random shot of Brian Dunkleman. RIP, Dunkleman! I was your biggest fan!

8:03 pm – OMG “Idol” producers are dusting off the best YouTube video EVER – where Archuleta fans squeal when David Cook won the finale!

8:04 pm – It is just now occurring to me that I might be in the New York audition episode. Yikes.

8:06 pm – Now we’re spanning the country with Seacrest. Soooo, “Idol: Season 8″ is really just like every Travel Channel show?

8:06 pm – Ryan Seacrest just kissed a girl in a bikini. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

8:07 pm – Our first “after the break” from Seacrest! Filler is so much fun!! We should think of some games to play during the commercial breaks.

8:10 pm – The Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays” is my karaoke JAM. Points for “House” using it in their promo.

8:11 pm – We’re in Phoenix, Arizona, y’all! Seacrest is standing at the top of the grand canyon, and the judges are in limos.

8:12 pm – “Her name is Kara DioGuardi!” They’re introducing the new judge. She’s worked with Jewel, Pink, Pussycat Dolls, and Celine Dion! Oddly enough, they are not mentioning her credit on the Lindsay Lohan album.

8:13 pm – Ooh, the montage of her being “sassy” at the judges table just got me very, VERY excited. Kara for the win! OMG I love this show.

8:14 pm – Our first contestant (victim?) is Tuan Nguyen, whose mom is half-Vietnamese, half-Caucasian. He has a ‘fro that makes him look like one of Martha Stewart’s chows. He’s about to do a Michael Jackson song while tap dancing. This sounds like it’s going to be a disaster. Sigh.

8:14 pm – He is guzzling water like a chubby kid in gym class. Can they just get to his audition already?

8:15 pm – He wants to be as big as Michael Jackson and Britney Spears combined. Funny, that’s exactly what his singing voice sounds like! Oof!

8:15 pm – Kara says she’s never seen anything like that audition ever. Clearly, she’s not an “Idol” watcher.

8:16 pm – Pointless musical montage #2: “Careless Whisper” by Wham! (Does this mean we’ll have a Wham! themed-night? It’s gotta be when it’s down to the final 3. There aren’t enough songs!)

8:17 pm – Emily Wynn-Hughes might be the next queen of rock. She’s got a funky look – pinkish hair, tatoos. Let’s hope she doesn’t sound like Nikki McKibbin.

8:18 pm – She’s about to sing “Barracuda” by Heart. Wait a second! Why doesn’t Kara have a Coke cup in front of her?? Randy, Paula and Simon do. Did the prop PA forget to pick up the new judge a 4th product placement cup? Coke is gonna be PISSED!

8:18 pm – She’s okay, but I feel like she’d sound better if she wasn’t pushing the rock thing. I think she has the potential to blow our socks off on standards night.

8:19 pm – Yikes! She’s going to ditch her European-bound band in order to get on the show. Loyalty be damned!

8:20 pm – Commercial break 2! And bikini girl is teased. Why do I feel like I’m going to hate that? Come on “Idol!” More talent, less freaks!

8:25 pm – Wow. That was a lot of ad time. Randy Madden is a “28-year-old” rocker who works in a cubicle. Seacrest said he looks like the next Axl Rose. Remember Axl Rose’s brunette phase? [Crickets.]

8:27 pm – Note to self: if Simon says your “Living On A Prayer” audition is wimpy, don’t respond with a weak fist pump and tears.

8:28 pm – Simon’s first zinger of the season! While Paula said he should join a band and experience life so that he can write his own music, Simon quipped, “That’s how ‘Straight Up’ was written!” He shoots, he scores, I laugh!

8:28 pm – LOL, forty-five seconds later Paula squeals, “I didn’t write ‘Straight Up!’” You know how your kooky relative sometimes responds to a question ten minutes after you asked it?

8:30 pm – J.B. Ahfua is next. He’s 16-going-on-40, and looks a lot like AJ Tabaldo from last year. (Remember him? Me neither.) He gets a golden ticket thanks to his soulful sound. Imagine if Clay Aiken sounded less Broadway and more “booty” and you’d have J.B. Ahfua’s voice.

8:32 pm – A dude named Michael Gurr is super nervous and squeezing out a song. I think his appendix just burst.

8:34 pm – And now he’s singing a Kara DioGuardi song? Paula’s wearing glasses. I’m so confused. And now he’s passed out. I give up.

8:39 pm – A montage of people murdering classics quickly turns into a montage of people trying to get on television. Grr. I am 99% sure that auditioner Shawn Vasquez is wearing an earring designed by Paula Abdul.

8:40 pm – X-Ray (real name: Aundre Caraway) is a songwriter/muppet who, despite his best attempt at “spaghetti legs” dance moves, is being escorted out by security. Let’s learn more about the security staff!

8:43 pm – A 16-year old San Diego-ian (?!) adopts senior citizens for fun. She likes that seniors don’t criticize her when she performs for them. Wait ’til she meets Cowell!

8:44 pm – I really want to adopt a grandfriend. Actually, it’s my grandpa’s birthday today! Happy Bday Grandpa Jim! (Yep, he’s a Jim, too. We’re like George Foreman’s family except my dad isn’t a zillionaire from making lean mean grilling machines and has never starred in a doomed sitcom.)

8:44 pm – Arianna Afsar is her name. Pretty voice! She’s tackling Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” a song that got Antonella Barba voted off. Oh, that and all those dirty pictures! Whoops!

8:51 pm – Gah! My internet stopped working! Sorry for the hold-up folks!!

8:52 pm – Yeesh…they’re showing bad auditions from previous seasons. This is a new low.

8:53 pm – Elijah Scarlett (I call him Billy Bass) is doing a Barry White song. And he’s making Barry White sound like Tiny Tim! Unfortunately, he also sounds like a whale.

8:55 pm – Katy Perry, you’ve just been out-annoyinged by “Lea Marie from Connecticut (mouth sound effect.)” She claims to be a cross between two outstanding artists known for their vocal chops: Hilary Duff and Madonna.

8:55 pm – And she’s a Kara DioGuardi fan/stalker. Uh oh.

8:56 pm – Now she’s chyroned as Lea Marie Golde as she performs a dance song through her nose. Don’t send her through!! Is Paula sending her through?!!

8:58 pm – Whew. She’s a goner.

9:00 pm – Stevie Wright was named for Stevie Nicks. Her blouse makes her look like she’s in a cow costume. She has a nice smokey deep voice for a 16-year-old. What has she been smoking since the womb?

9:02 pm – Ryan Seacrest looks bored. You ain’t the only one, honey.

9:08 pm – It’s day 47 in Phoenix. Oh, we’re still on day 2?

9:08 pm – Michael Sarver has the most dangerous job on Earth. It involves a lot of machines and hard hats and stuff. He’s sounds like Michael McDonald! Cry sweet freedom, y’all! He’s going to Hollywood!

9:11 pm – Bikini girl!! She figured she’d at least get a tan while she waited on line all day.

9:12 pm – She promises to make out with Seacrest if she gets a golden ticket. Paging Aunt Sassy: I don’t need to see that!

9:13 pm – Bikini Girl sounds like Mariah Carey!! Except Mariah Carey in 2009 and not Mariah Carey from 1991. D’oh!

9:13 pm – OMG SING OFF!!! Kara vs. Bikini Girl! I just woke up!!

9:14 pm – OMG Bikini Girl is all “I sound better than you” and Paula just woke up!!

9:14 pm – OMG Kara called Bikini Girl a “bitch” and Jerry Springer just woke up!!

9:15 pm – “Welcome to Hollywood.” Groan. Its totally because Simon and Randy had Hollywoodies.

9:15 pm – Ew! She’s kissing Seacrest! I think we have another Corey Clark on our hands!

9:20 pm – Kara is re-introduced. Get her name right, America. OR ELSE!

9:21 pm – A dude named Sexual Chocolate is auditioning. Eddie Murphy is phoning his lawyer as I type.

9:23 pm – This guy is only 17?! What’s in the water in Phoenix? Wait, IS there water in Phoenix??

9:24 pm – I have my first fave contestant of the season: Brianna Quijada. She’s sassy, she’s fun, she’s tiny!

9:25 pm – The love affair is over. She just called Simon “Simey.” NEXT.

9:27 pm – Wait, she’s through to Hollywood? And she just melted whilst hugging Miss Abdul? Ok, I’ll give her another chance.

9:33 pm – A montage about family. Fun fact: when I auditioned for “Idol” there was a mother/daughter duo who, when they found out I worked for MTV, asked me if I knew how to get the daughter on “Rock of Love.” Seriously.

9:34 pm – Deanna Brown has no family with her, and no eyeballs either. Is she wearing special contacts? Yay, she sounded awesome. Except “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” always reminds me of that sketch from “The State,” where it’s a commercial for a CD compilation that only features that one song, sung by Keri Kenney over and over again. LOL.

9:36 pm – Cody is a horror auteur. Don’t judge. Wes Craven does a stunning “Ave Maria” and Eli Roth sings “We Belong Together” better than Mimi.

9:37 pm – I told you!

9:38 pm – Geez, can they just show us the blind guy already?!

9:42 pm – Simon is asking all the contestants what 3 countries they’ll be famous in. He’s such a card.

9:44 pm – Alex Wagner-Trugman is a brainiac from Studio City. There’s much discussion about “coming out of the closet” but he means it literally. This feels scripted. Fail.

9:45 pm – Paula’s eyewear is spectacular tonight.

9:45 pm – Weird. Alex has a totally unique and funky tone. I like it! See you in Hollywood.

9:47 pm – Pointless montage #3 – bad contestants sing a Bon Jovi song. Wake me when Paula puts on some more Elton John glasses.

9:49 pm – Matisyahu auditioned for “Idol” this season!!

9:50 pm – Blind guy is almost here!!!

9:54 pm – Blind guy has a name: Scott Macintyre.

9:55 pm – Coldplay alert: “Just beacause I’m hurting doesn’t mean I’m hurt.” Groan, “Idol” producers!

9:55 pm – Either Scott has an amazing sense of humor or somebody’s playing a prank on him with that “Mind The Gap” t-shirt.

9:56 pm – The answer is a) an amazing sense of humor. Plus Scott sang one of my fave songs “And So It Goes.” Good taste, brother. Wait, I forget, was he from Long Island?

9:57 pm – Note to Seacrest: stop trying to high five the blind guy. He’ll always leave you hanging. Also, it was kinda jerky of you to follow that up with “We’ll SEE you in Hollywood.” (He totally emphasized the “see,” too.) Bully.

9:58 pm – And now it’s time for my least favorite part of the audition episode: when they show quick clips of all the people they gave Golden Tickets to. It’s almost like they’re rubbing in our faces all the talented people they didn’t show us audition. But boy, am I glad I got to see Sexual Chocolate. :(

10:00 pm – That’s a wrap, folks! Of all the peeps we saw audition tonight, I think I’m most excited for Emily Wynn-Hughes. What can I say? I like a girl with tats.

But I wanna know what YOU thought! Who are your early faves. Did Scott’s visual impairment storyline move you? Are you going to have nightmares about Seacrest makin’ out with Bikini Girl?

Hit me up in the comments, and I’ll award my favorite comment with a big fat juicy shout-out in tomorrow’s live-blog! See you then!