You can read the new American Idol XIII schedule and changes at this link. Here are a few tidbits that came out of the Idol session at today’s Television Critics Association tour in Pasadena, CA.
- A new role for Randy Jackson: “There’s a new role for Randy this year, it’s a sort of Randy Jackson workshop,” said producer, Trish Kinane. “Randy is going to be hosting a two-day workshop where the kids who got through to the live show have an education, if you like, in song choices, personal style and other things.” There’s no word on if , when or how the workshop will be aired. Randy will mentor the kids every week as Jimmy Iovine did before him.
- Kinane also revealed “a new element called The Chamber… where they’re on their own [with Ryan] to collect themselves [before seeing the judges].” The chamber is a teeny tiny little room attached to the audition room. The hopeful MUST pass through it first to get to the judges. There’s a camera inside that records the nervous hopeful collecting themselves for what could be the most important moment in their lives.
- Harry Connick Jr. will be the truth teller, at least in the taped rounds. While watching previous seasons of Idol, he used to shout at his TV “That kid can’t sing!” He says, “If somebody can’t sing,” he said, “they need to go home.” In the preview I saw, Harry is indeed blunt, but fair. The kids nicknamed him “Harsh Harry.”
- Kinane confirmed that Idol has “expanded the song list” from which singers can choose, including “many more contemporary songs.” Theme weeks will change. “We’re going to work differently with the themes,” said EP Per Blankens. “We have a new approach … where we try to get songs they can really relate to and pick from.”
- There will be wildcards: “An additional taping in Santa Monica brought the post-Hollywood Week group down to 30 contestants, 15 boys and 15 girls. From this group, America will vote in a final 10 and each judge will have an additional “wild card” pick.”
- Kinane on The Voice dominance: “”I don’t think The Voice is more popular than American Idol,” she said. “If you look at the ratings, Idol still beat it. American Idol is the gold standard. The Voice is the good show. There’s room for two shows in the market.” (Actually, The Voice beat Idol in the Demo, but Idol had more viewers)