American Idol

American Idol
8/7c Fox
Simon says — Season 9 of the well-tuned talent contest begins tonight with a two-hour premiere blast. Judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi journey to Boston for the first edition of the preliminary auditions, where starry-eyed hopefuls are rated. (And berated?) In Boston, it's a good bet that some will be wicked good and others will be just plain wicked. Season 9 brings a sweeping change, of course: New judge Ellen DeGeneres replaces the departing Paula Abdul and joins the judges after the audition episodes. The tryouts continue tomorrow night in Atlanta. — Dean Maurer

NCIS
8/7c CBS
Robert Wagner guest stars as Tony's father, who is connected to a case involving an assassination attempt on a foreign prince. The family link to the investigation has Gibbs more than a little worried that Tony might not be able to do his job effectively and with objectivity. — Bill Ecklund

Southland
10/9c TNT
TNT picks up where NBC left off by adding the once-canceled police drama to its lineup, beginning with the series opener. Benjamin McKenzie stars as Los Angeles rookie cop Ben Sherman, whose future with the force depends on a good evaluation from his partner (Michael Cudlitz), who is, of course, a tough veteran with his own way of bringing down the bad guys. When a bust gets out of control, Sherman has to act on instinct and hopes that his partner won't judge him too harshly. Otherwise, his first day could be his last. — Rhoda Charles

Independent Lens
9/8c PBS
Nothing compares to the Young@Heart Chorus, a New England senior-citizen choir that tackles such unconventional fare as the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia." The doc, which chronicles the group's preparations for a hometown concert in Northampton, Mass., also steps off stage to profile some of the participants, including 92-year-young Eileen Hall, and features a very funny take on the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." — Jeff Gemmill

Tabatha's Salon Takeover
10/9c Bravo
The salon makeover and takeover series closes shop for the season. There will need to be plenty of style counsel in the Season 2 finale when hair-parlor authority Tabatha Coffey journeys to Illinois to rescue a sinking salon, and she won't let her hair down until she succeeds. Among the establishment's tangled problems: The owner lacks leadership skills, the manager is snippy, and a stylist isn't making the cut. — Dean Maurer