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/ March 13, 2013
You Probably Haven’t Been Watching American Idol, But You Should Start Tonight

In all likelihood, any TV show in its 12th season is way past its prime, so it would be understandable if you had given up on American Idol years ago.

In some ways, you would be right to do so. Yes, Paula, Simon, and the amazing dynamic between them are long gone. No matter how many times the producers try to switch things up — like when they introduced the “judges’ save” a few seasons back — the premise still seems a bit tired. And Idol hasn’t produced a genuinely strong artist since who-knows-when. (Was it Season 8’s Adam Lambert? Season 6’s Jordin Sparks? Or Season 4’s Carrie Underwood?)

That being said, Idol is set to debut its Top 10 contestants for Season 12 tonight at 8 PM on Fox, and if singing competitions even marginally pique your interest, then you should absolutely check it out. The new, quirky set of judges — including Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and our beloved Keith Urban — are reason enough to tune into Idol tonight. But it’s the truly impressive group of contestants that’ll keep you coming back.

The Boys 

Season 6’s Jordin Sparks was the last female to be crowned American Idol, which means that men — white men, to be specific — have won the past five consecutive seasons of the show. As a result, the producers and judges seem to be pushing for a female victor this season, which has led many to wonder, “Did American Idol stack the competition in favor of women?

All of that being said, half of this season’s Top 10, as per usual, are men. And a few of them in particular have strong potential to extend the male winning streak. Contestants Lazaro Arbos and Paul Jolley are nothing to lose sleep over, but the remaining three are truly talented and worth checking out.

The Girls 

This season, regardless of whether or not the competition is stacked, the female American Idol contestants are playing to win. Almost all of the fan- and judge-favorites from as far back as Hollywood week have been women, and some of the five that made this year’s Top 10 are serious show-stoppers. Janelle Arthur and Amber Holcomb aren’t anything to go crazy for, but the remaining three absolutely are.

And if the contestants really aren’t enough to bring you back to Idol, then just do it for Keith. He’s worth it. We promise.

[First image via; second image is a screenshot from American Idol‘s official YouTube channel.]