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American Idol set visit: what to except from the live shows

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LA Music Examiner was invited on the set of American Idol to preview the new set and meet with executive producers Trish Kinane, Per Blankens, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager, director Louis J. Horvitz and set designer Baz Halpin.

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Here is what I learned during our visit:

  • There is a new set which includes a second smaller stage directly in front of the seated audience.
  • On Tuesday, February 18 and Wednesday, February 19 only the second stage will be used for performances.
  • Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, the new judges table will be placed directly in front of second stage then moved next week.
  • A lounge area will be placed on the set where contestants will now watch all the contestants perform.
  • Two additional upper levels where audience members will stand making the capacity around 600.
  • The week will start with 15 girls and 16 boys contestants. The judges which are Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. will select 10 girls and 10 boys to sing on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. America will then vote for their favorites.
  • The decision on who gets picked will be based on everything that has happened so far included the workshop the contestants had with Randy Jackson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.
  • On Thursday, the contestants with the most votes will be announced as America's Top 10.
  • The judges will then pick five contestants to sing again live. They will then pick three contestants to make the Top 13. They can only pick wild cards from the contestants who performed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • During results shows, some eliminations will be done from the second stage.
  • The band, led once again by Ricky Minor, will be split on both the left and the right sides of the stage.
  • The show will use 17 to 18 cameras in the room.
  • This season you will see more about the contestants and their families.
  • The chamber will continue to be in use during the season. It will be a larger area to hold the contestants in.
  • When the Top 13 perform, voting will be allowed at the top of the show on Wednesdays.
  • No final word on any guest performers lined up for the show.
  • Also no mention of any themes that will be used for this season on the show. Some rumored themes being considered are The Beatles, No Ballads, Break Up,To Make Up, Viewers Choice, Top 10 Songs, Soundtracks, Taylor Swift and Dedications.

American Idol will air this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on Fx.

Click on the slideshow link to see a few photos that I took on the set. Check back to this page for all things American Idol.

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