American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 12 Girls Perform

After weeks of auditions both good and bad, guest judges both helpful and useless and contestant packages both tear-jerking and groan-worthy, we've finally made it. Tonight the top 12 girls perform and the ninth season of American Idol officially starts. Who will prove that they deserved one of the coveted semifinal slots? Who will be swallowed up by the stage when the lights come on and the show goes live for the first time? How much will Kara annoy me? Let's find out.

Ryan warns us viewers/voters that we've got our work cut out for us this season because of the top 24's great potential. Ryan must have missed rehearsal, because what I heard tonight only had the potential to make me change the channel over to Lost. There were a few bright spots, but overall it was a very shaky first night.

Just to give you a feel for how I will be doing the recaps from this point on: I will be giving my snap judgment on each singer's performance. I may point out a couple comments from the judges that I agree with or find egregiously incorrect, but I am mostly going to avoid repeating what they say and give the panel a composite score based on how well I think they judged the performance. Obviously, an "A" means I think they nailed it and an "F" means they let Kara speak way too much. Another (not so apt) example: I give Ellen's Jay Leno-esque video bit about Simon rubbing her leg a D+.

So, let's get to it:

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