By Michael Slezak
Updated February 23, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST

Idoloonies, start your engines! American Idol judges, start your critiques! The first live semifinal performance episode of season 9 is upon us, I’m hoping with all my heart that the addition of Ellen DeGeneres to the judges’ panel will prove as zesty and colorful as cranberry sauce on a Thanksgiving plate. Sign up with our special CoverItLive live-blog widget below…I’ll be online just before 8 p.m. EDT to get the party started. And although I’ll try my hardest to occasionally pull your comments into the live-blog stream, bear in mind that my No. 1 priority will be keeping my eyes on the TV screen (the better to catch all of Kara’s gaffes). In other words, you are strictly verboten from getting offended if your witty and perceptive remarks don’t make the stream! (And there’s always the comments section below for letting your Idol flag fly!) Finally, fret not, I’ll still be writing my regular TV Watch recap, to post early tomorrow on (Follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak to get an alert every time one of my Idol articles posts!) Related: 18 Idol Theme Nights We’d Love to See!

Image Credit: Patrick Ecclestein/Fox