With less than a month to go until American Idol season 12 begins, the marketing campaign is in full swing, with even more promos being released that show all sides of what to expect from the auditions: the drama, the heartwarming/sob stories and the just plain bad contestants. Also in today’s Roundup, find out how you can watch the premiere a week early. And Kris Allen dedicates a new song to those affected by the horrific tragedy last week at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

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New Promos Galore: “I Did the Country Thing”

A tidal wave of new season 12 promos has been unveiled in the past few days. Below are a few of the standouts. In the first one, there’s a big focus on Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj butting heads. Even though it’s not done in a mean way, FOX is obviously playing it for ratings. But my favorite part has to be Keith Urban’s comment to an auditioner. He doesn’t like she said she “did the country thing,” as if she’s above doing country music but she tried it anyway to see if she could make it big. I hope Keith keeps it up with reactions like that.

Moving away from the drama, the next video is very touching. The singer who auditions here has a speech impediment, and is going to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” We’ll have to wait for January to hear how he sings, but with the focus on the sob story and overcoming obstacles (and the judges’ reactions), we all know that he’ll nail his audition.

Let’s end our promo showcase on a lighter note. This final commercial is all about showing off the fun side of the auditions, from Nicki telling a guy to take his shirt off to Keith falling out of his chair, and even Nicki saying “Your range is better than Mariah’s” after a brief glimpse into one of the joke contestants. Seeing this has me very much looking forward to the return of Idol, which is now less than a month away.

Watch Idol Premiere Early in Theaters

Speaking of season 12, if you want to watch the premiere episode before everyone else, then here’s your chance. On Wednesday, January 9, an advance screening will air in 11 movie theaters across the country in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Nashville and Los Angeles. It is free to the public, but you must RSVP ahead of time. Following the screening, there will be a live Q&A with Ryan Seacrest and all four judges (which will also stream online for those of us who can’t make it).

Kris Allen’s Tribute to Newtown

We’re all still mourning the loss of 20 children and six adults following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Everyone on TV and online and elsewhere in the past week has been paying tribute to the victims. We saw moving performances on The Voice and The X Factor. And now Idol‘s Kris Allen is doing the same. In a video posted online, he performs a new song that, while written well before Friday, resonates with the moment, if you listen to the lyrics.

It’s a very simple performance; Kris sits down with only a guitar to accompany him. But fair warning: it’s an emotional song and you might tear up after hearing the connection to Newtown. Right from the start, there’s lines like, “She waved goodbye from school that day. And that was the last time we saw her face. I want her to come back, I want her to come back home. The sound of mother’s tears on the floor…” Chills.

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.