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AI7 Is Underway

Talent makes a comeback; will it last?

We'll admit it: if we were sent searching for the best unsigned singing talent in the USA, we probably wouldn't have considered a stop in Omaha. Luckily the producers did, because the Nebraska auditions produced a surprisingly solid crop of contenders...unlike Philly and Miami, two cities we really expected more from.

American Idol seems to have gotten the message from its fans following the multitude of disappointments and disasters of AI6, some of which nearly put the WhatNotToSing.com staff into therapy. (We still think the producers owe some sort of an on-air apology to The Kinks, by the way.) This year's audition episodes have provided as much airtime to good singers as bad, something that hasn't happened for a while. Meanwhile, Fox's promos and Simon Cowell both promise us the Most Talented Group Of Semifinalists Yet® - Really, We Mean It This Year!™

We hope they're not blowing smoke, but for now count us as skeptical. Even with the renewed focus on quality, it still seems that the surest way to get a final audition with Randy, Paula, and Simon, at least on camera, is to have a schtick or a sob story. We sincerely hope that the nation's best unsigned singers aren't too "normal" for Idol, or else it's going to be another long season.

The Hollywood rounds will tell us more. For now, as with the rest of America, we're just sitting back every Tuesday and Wednesday to watch. When the semifinals begin, we'll be here on the site after every episode with the latest approval ratings from the Web's many reviewers and commentators, plus our own analysis and commentary, all the way through to the Finale.

- The WNTS.com Team

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