''American Idol'' sets Jan. 18 premiere date
''American Idol'' sets Jan. 18 premiere date. After auditions and semifinals, performance episodes will begin Feb. 22
The long wait to find the next Fantasia, Clay, Ruben, or Kelly is almost over. Fox announced that the fourth season of American Idol will kick off with a two-hour premiere on Jan. 18. First, of course, the judges will find the next William Hung, as early episodes track auditions held a couple months ago in Cleveland, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Orlando, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. After three weeks of hearing the most self-deluded singers in America, there’ll be two weeks of semifinals beginning Feb. 8. Performance shows finally begin on Feb. 22. So start exercising your thumbs, text-messaging voters.