Blake Lewis, Jordin Sparks, ...
Credit: Michael Becker

American Idol is to me what that demon in The Exorcist was to Linda Blair. Every January, the show takes possession of my mind, body, and soul, makes my head spin uncontrollably, and fills my ears with loud, cacophonous sounds. (Oh, audition episodes, how you make me cringe!) Except, to paraphrase “Love Hangover”-era Diana Ross, I don’t need no cure. And I never will, not as long as there are undiscovered Fantasia Barrinos and Kelly Clarksons and Elliott Yamins left in the world.

This isn’t to say, of course, that season 6 wasn’t the lamest in Idol history, but producer Nigel Lythgoe has since admitted that mistakes were made, and promised that the show will return its focus to the contestants, rather than an endless parade of CD-shilling guest mentors, for its season 7. (Also, I sort of bought the Blake Lewis CD a couple weeks back, and I’m rather enjoying it.) So yeah, I’ll admit it: I’m currently at a “9” (on a scale of 1-10) in my excitement for Idol’s return. How about you? (Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Idol, after the jump, check out the new PSA/promo for’s Idolatry series that I shot yesterday; I’m pretty certain it’ll help reduce the amount of Idol-related violence in the U.S. in 2008.)