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.

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