“American Idol” is set to kick off its 13th season tonight, and it looks like there will be plenty of changes to the TV talent competition's format. In addition to a revamped judges’ table (Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. will be holding court this season), a Jan. 15 report by TV Guide detailed several new twists to the show.
First up: The unveiling of The Chamber, a small holding pen where contestants will practice or pray (or do whatever) before their debut in front of the celebrity judges. It comes equipped with cameras, so viewers will get to see the pre-audition rituals of the “Idol” hopefuls.
Also new this season: Contestants will be permitted to audition with an instrument.
According to the report, a surprise elimination round before Hollywood Week will pave the way for a makeover for the bogged down middle rounds of the show. If past seasons had you thinking the auditions were endless, you’ll likely welcome the fast-paced Rush Week which aims to single out the best talent faster.
At the TCA Winter Press Tour, “Idol” exec producer Trish Kinane dished on another new twist: Randy Jackson's "Boot Camp.” The "two-day workshop" will be hosted by the former judge between Hollywood Week and the live shows, according to Ace Showbiz.
And forget the sob stories and the bad auditions. The 13th edition of the singing competition won’t waste time on sappy back stories, and there will be less time devoted to highlighting terrible singers. According to Yahoo! TV, tonight’s premiere will only showy three rejects' auditions in full, and will instead focus on doling out 45 golden tickets to people who can actually sing.
“American Idol” premieres Wednesday, January 15 at 8:00 PM ET on Fox.