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American Idol: TCA Panel Judges Dish On “Idol” Changes

January 12, 2011 09:00 AM by Paula_Kosowski

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Fox American Idol judges talked about show changes yesterday at the Television Critic’s Association in Pasadena, CA. Judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson, host Ryan Seacrest, and executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were just some of the “Idol” team who came to talk about the new season. Read more to see what they had to say…

According to The Hollywood Reporter, American Idol judges spoke with media and fans about the new season’s changes. The shocking reveal: 40 contestants will be narrowed down to 20 in just two days! Each contestant will be allowed to sing two songs, one they pick and another chosen by in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine, and play one musical instrument.

Other changes include the extension of “Hollywood Week” by one week and a more supportive environment for contestant’s personal growth.

Iovine says “in the past [contestants] weren’t getting the proper help to improve.” According to Lythgoe, “Idol” executive producer, this season is not just about throwing contestant’s obstacles, but helping them improve.

“It’s a lot more about searching for that eventual winner rather than stopping people from getting there,” Lythgoe says. “In the past, we might have been accused of putting barriers up against them, and glib remarks rather than helping them through the process.”

Iovine also notices a difference this season.

“What’s unique so far this year is that I started working when [the judges] started,” Iovine tells TCA attendees. “My job is to help find someone with an original voice rather than someone who’s singing like someone else which is not particularly attractive to the record company.”

The judging dynamic is also going to be more of a collaberative effort. Lopez says every contestant will be evaluated for their “positive attributes.” Jackson assured fans it will still be an “honest read.”

He says he’s going to be “the tough one” this season. “It’s more of an assertive dog,” Jackson says. “More hair on the dog, fewer yo, more no’s – you’re gonna like it a lot, I guarantee it.”

Seacrest thinks you’ll like the new dynamic as well.

“This show is like a sporting event. I’m inspired by the new life here. Simon [Cowell] and I had our banter, but this is a whole new dynamic. I think it’ll be fun and funny… [people] will be entertained.”

New judge Tyler says, “What Idol’s all about is taking it up a notch — no more, no less.”

Despite changes bringing a different, new feel to the show, Peter Rice, network chairman, says Fox expects the ratings to be down by 10 percent. The drop would still let “Idol” hold on to the No. 1 show in America title, which is what the “Idol” team is hoping for.

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Photo Credit: AP

Topics: American Idol, FOX Reality TV Shows |

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