By Michael Slezak
Updated March 07, 2009 at 10:03 PM EST

Next Tuesday kicks off a milestone week for American Idol addicts, as the show’s top 13 contestants will take the stage for a Michael Jackson-themed episode, and the competition will begin in earnest. Still, before I can get fully excited about the season 8 experience, I need one last chance to blow off some steam about the farce of a Wild Card episode the show aired Thursday night and to rage against Kara’s favorite new phrase: “package artist.” (UGH!) Check our our two-parter below (part deux will automatically play after you’ve finished part one) then post your own thoughts about which Wild Card picks thrilled you, and which great singers got shafted, in the comments section below.

Oh, one last thing: Please visit EW’s American Idol HQ and sign up for’s Idol Prediction Challenge! The game is now live, and it’ll give you a chance to show off your Idol prognostication skills against me, a number of my Idolatry co-hosts, and your fellow readers. Michael Sarver is currently America’s pick to go home first, but you can change your vote right up until 7:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday night. And interestingly, voters in Mississippi are choosing Jorge Nuñez as the initial elimination. (Yep, our game’s got a national map view…fun!)