The countdown has begun: Only 15 days until the premiere of Season 9 of "American Idol." Are you already sick of all the promo spots on FOX?

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The countdown has begun: Only 15 days until the premiere of Season 9 of “American Idol.” Are you already sick of all the promo spots on FOX?

Here’s hoping the show can move past last season’s missteps — a Top 36? — and be worthy of its lofty rating as America’s most-watched show. The debut of Ellen Degeneres as a judge is something to look forward to, although I will miss Paula Abdul’s randomness.

The format of this blog will change a bit as well. First, I’ve enlisted a few friends to help with the postings. This will take some of the load off me while at the same time giving the blog a dose of new vitality. I’m excited about what we’ll be able to do as a team.

Second, I want reader contributions. And maybe that means you! We’re going to try an experiment: Guest bloggers will be invited to submit posts during the first two weeks of the show, and a selected few will be asked to be citizen contributors throughout the season. One catch though: You have to be a reader in the Seattle region. You could get your name in lights! More to come on this soon.

To get things started, here’s the release from FOX of this season’s “American Idol” schedule: