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'American Idol' plans 30-minute results shows: What to cut, what to keep?

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Image Credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesFox announced its 2010-2011 lineup yesterday, and the big news for the Idoloonie Nation is the network’s plan to trim down American Idol‘s bloated results-show telecasts to lean, mean, 30-minute ordeals next season. (The network also said it planned 90-minute performance shows, though I suspect those are subject to expand and/or contract based on the number of contestants remaining during any given episode.)

Back to those truncated results, though, my cynical side isn’t getting too excited. Fox announced a similar plan at upfronts a couple years ago, but failed to keep its promise when Idol returned to the airwaves the following year. And to be fair, when it comes to the ever-changing world of TV scheduling, a promise is only as good as one’s development slate. So if Raising Hope — which will kick off the Wednesday lineup at 8 p.m., followed by Idol at 8:30, and Glee at 9 — doesn’t catch on with viewers, don’t expect Fox brass to keep it alive (and stick with scaled-back elimination episodes) on account of something they said at the upfronts some nine months prior.

If Raising Hope is a hit, however, and 30-minute results become a reality, here are three easy ways the network can trim the telecasts — and three babies I hope don’t get tossed with the bathwater.

Three Easy Results-Show Cuts

* Hideously choreographed, badly lip-synched group performances.

* Ryan Seacrest’s awkward, repetitive, and wholly unenlightening Q&As with contestants

* The continued on-air existence of Randy Jackson

* Promotional appearances from folks who have nothing to do with the Idol franchise (i.e. Ke$ha, Rascal Flatts, Shakira, Antonio Banderas)

Three Results-Show Staples That Must Survive

* Awesome performances from returning Idol alumni (bring back Mindy Doo!)

* Trend of allowing booted contestant to choose “greatest hit” (not most recent performance) for sing-off

* The Ford “Music Video” (Come ON! I have to have something to make fun of in my TV Watch recaps!)

What do you think of the idea of half-hour results shows on Idol? And what parts of the telecast would you trim to make this concept work? Sound off in the comments below, and to get all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

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