Credit: Michael Becker/FOX © 2010 FOX Broadcasting Co. Photo: The American Idol Season 10 Judges, Ryan Seacrest, and Jimmy Iovine Pose for a Promo Shot

Along with the news that all three of Season 10’s judges — Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson — will return for Season 11, FOX’s American Idol press release also included another exciting tidbit: the show’s start date. Dunh dunh dunh! Get your thumbs ready to vote, America!

Get out your digital organizers and paper calendars out — or whatever it is you use to keep track of your life these days — and mark the date: January 18, 2012. The Sunday, January 22, 2012 audition show will have a pretty serious lead-in: It will air at 10 PM, immediately following the NFC Championship Game on Fox. Are you ready for some football, followed by Idol?

American Idol's schedule will switch from last year's schedule of Tuesday/Wednesday weekly airings to Wednesday/Thursday, according to a Fox press release. There will be eight audition episodes until finalists take the stage on March 7, 2012. 

Source: Press Release

Credit: MJ's Big Blog Photo: American Idol Season 11 Extended Preview (VIDEO)