Tuesday. We've got a Melodramatic Announcer again, but I don't think it's the same one as last season. He's got the same overwrought "One of these contestants is going to die!" line delivery, however, so he can inherit the name. Melodramatic Announcer melodramatically tells us all how 70,000 fame-whores did everything they could to get on the teevee. Of those, 234 were rewarded with a trip to Glendale. Oh, lucky them. Those numbers were whittled down to thirty-two desperate young folks who are sure they're going to light up the sky like a flame. Tonight, eight of the semifinalists will sing for us. And we get to vote for which ones we like. But you already knew that, didn't you?
Credits. Okay, first of all, the Octagon of Judgment is gone. Gone! Without so much as a farewell! Probably just tossed out in the dumpster, on top of a sleeping Brian Dunkleman. Instead, there's a huge circle on the floor with the American Idol logo on it, because we don't get to see that nearly enough. Second of all, Ryan "Y.M.C.A." Seacrest is looking pretty gaunt. Dude, ya gotta eat. As Debbie from Queer as Folk observed, you really should get at least some of your protein off a plate. And the mullet he's beginning to grow isn't helping matters. Ryan heads out to the…uh…well, I'll have to think of a new nickname. "Circle of Judgment" just doesn't sound right. Anyway, Ryan heads out to the stage and introduces us to the alleged new and improved semifinal set. Since I think it turned out last year that the set for the finalists was just the improved semifinal set, it's safe to say that the "improvements" consist mostly of letting the old final set decorations remain. Ryan explains for the benefit of all the new viewers they've sucked in this season that we'll be hanging around on this stage for the next five weeks as the thirty-two semifinalists sing for us. There's no audience. There's one piano player as accompaniment, and he's not very good. Ryan doesn't tell us that part, but we'll all find out soon enough. They show off all the fancy camera angles they've got to kill time.
Ryan heads over to the other side of the…uh…"Vicious Circle." How does that sound? Nah. Anyway, he heads over to introduce us again to our judges, Randy "Round Here" Jackson, Paula "Making Me Crazy" Abdul, and Simon "So Dark" Cowell. They're seated in the same spot they were last year, with some minor changes. No silly little [product-placed cola] cheap plastic cups this year, no sirree. Now the judges have fancy red glasses with the logo on them. There are weird Plexiglas plates attached to the bottom of their table now, perhaps to keep flop sweat from performers from splashing off the circle onto their legs. Simon needs to button up his shirt just a little more, unless he actually wants to look like a lecherous creep, which he just might. Paula's showing a little bit too much cleavage as well, but she looks pretty good in her black blouse with see-through sleeves. Randy looks like Randy. The judges joke about how they're going to be so much nicer to the contestants this year.
After the pointless chit-chat, Ryan heads back across the…uh…"Circle of Strife"? Eh. No. Anyway, he brings us over to the newly pimped up Pimp Central. The kids are all in there, and there's a new couch over in the corner, where Ryan introduces us to the families of the kids. Oh, that's just great. They're really hoping that an actual fight breaks out somehow this season. If somebody hits somebody else on this show, they're going to show it every single episode for the rest of the season. Oh, and there are two swirl couches now for the kids. But they still get the old plastic cups. They aren't famous yet, you know.