The 'American Idol' Watchlist: The Top 12 Girls (Finally!) Perform

How long has it been since this season of American Idol began? Yeah, it's fun reacquainting myself with the auditions (and sometimes getting pissed off) but nothing beats actual singing rather than overplayed drama. Tonight, in a two-hour episode, the competition actually begins, as we start paring down the Top 24 until one of them emerges the winner. Yes, we get to vote again. Yes, we have to start treating these girls seriously now. They are the real deal.

Wait a minute--twelve performances in two hours? Oh no. I smell forty-five minutes of filler coming.

Anyway, I'm on the record as being on the girls' side this year. I have seven favorites at the moment, and four of them--Crystal Bowersox, Didi Benami, Lacey Brown and Lilly Scott--are, well, girls. I'm excited to see what they'll do tonight (and judging from the audition episodes, they'll do freaking well) but I'm keeping my options open. We all know there's a tendency to surprise: either a contestant pulls a huge one off us, or you vote someone totally unexpected through.

The only definite thing is, at the end of this week, four contestants will be eliminated: two girls, and two guys from tomorrow's performances.

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