Each Idol judge will pick two top-36 contestants for Thursday’s wild card round

The rumors, speculation, and contradictory information about American Idol 8‘s wild card round has been cleared up, mostly.

During Thursday’s results show, Simon Cowell said, “We’re going to bring back a selection of people who we think deserve a second shot–maybe they chose the wrong songs. I think we’re all in agreement, maybe a couple even from tonight you’re going to see again.”

Earlier, after talking to a show rep, MTV News reported that “each judge can pick two contestants from the top 36 — from which everyone is eligible — and those eight (or possibly nine) singers will perform a song on the one-hour March 5 show, with three advancing into the top 12. … The same rules apply as during the audition phases, with majority picks winning the day and judge Simon Cowell casting the tie-breaking vote should there be a 2-2 deadlock.”

That will all happen next Thursday. And yes, skeptical people who have e.mailed me from anonymous e.mail addresses, the wild card episode (singular) does air next week, the same week as the third and final semi-final round. The semi-final performance episode will air Tuesday, results come Wednesday, and the wild card round airs Thursday–with performances, judging, and selection apparently taking place in a single hour. Crazy. Then again, I bet they’ll still find time for some filler.

How Will The Wild-Card Round Work On ‘American Idol’? [MTV News]