Seven months of American Idol longing is over: The season premiere of the nation’s most popular singing contest — featuring guest judge Victoria ‘doesn’t come for free, she’s a real lady‘ Beckham in Boston, drinking from the Paula Abdul Memorial Coke Cup — has begun. To celebrate, I’ve tweaked Alicia Keys’ chorus on Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” Won’t you all sing along?

It’s Idol!

Singing contest where dreams are made of

Check Kara’s new hairdo

You’re watching Idol

This show will make you feel brand new

Big voices inspire you

Let’s hear it for Idol! Idol! Idol!

Okay, lighters down. Anyhow, sit back, relax, and watch the parade of good, bad, and attention-seeking auditioners, then populate the message board below with your instantaneous reactions. After you’re done watching, check check back at PopWatch (around 10:15 p.m. EDT) for my post-show snap judgment [UPDATE: It’s been posted! Click here to read!], return to in the early a.m. for my full TV Watch recap, and (of course) follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak. Oh yeah, the ’round-the-clock coverage has begun. [BTW, if you’re in full Idoloonie mode, check out our gallery of Simon Cowell’s 12 Meanest Critiques, my blog post suggesting potential Simon replacements, and my musings on why Idol will be a-okay without Mr. Nasty. And don’t forget to watch Southland on TNT at 10!]