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Best Bets: 'American Idol' turns on the music

Danny Moloshok / AP

"American Idol" judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson return this week.

The biggest reality show of the year cranks up the music again this week, as "American Idol" returns. Some thought the singing competition could never survive the loss of Simon Cowell, but judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler proved them wrong. This week kicks off with the infamous auditions, which are either your favorite or your most-hated part of the show. The countdown to someone standing in line in a ridiculous costume starts now. (Jan. 18 and 19, 8 p.m., FOX)


The new reality show "Ragin' Cajuns" takes viewers down on the Louisiana Bayou to watch the hard work of shrimp boaters, including a big-hearted 400-pound shrimping star known as "Blimp." The workers are struggling -- they fought their way back after Hurricane Katrina only to be hit again with the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Jan. 17, 10 p.m., Discovery)

If you haven't discovered the hilarious "Archer," jump in -- the third season starts this week. Although it's animated, the spy comedy is definitely not for kids. The show is as much about the personal lives of Archer and his pals as it is about their espionage -- and their personal lives are all degrees of messed-up. (Jan. 19, 10 p.m., FX)

War may be hell, but it was double hell for African-American soldiers during World War II. They had to fight the enemy as well as segregation in their own army. George Lucas' new film "Red Tails" dramatizes the experiences of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, African-American pilots who served as bomber escorts and flew with distinction despite the bigotry they faced. (Opens Jan. 20.)

As our own presidential race heats up, maybe it's time to watch "The Ides of March" and daydream about George Clooney running for president. The movie hunk looks quite presidential in the 2011 film, out on DVD this week. But is he too good to be true? Campaign manager Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) finds out just how dirty politics can be. (out on DVD Jan. 17)

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