‘American Idol’ Producers Talk ‘Small Changes,’ Randy Jackson's Expanded Mentor Role

'American Idol' Producers Talk 'Small Changes,' Randy Jackson's Expanded Mentor Role

Frank Micelotta/FOX

TCA 2014: New judges, new executive producers and new rounds were discussed on Monday

Fox's “American Idol” team re-emphasized how well the judges get along and laid out a few changes for the long-running competition for Season 13.

New judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. joined host Ryan Seacrest and executive producers Trish Kinane and Per Blankens at the Television Critics Association panel.

“They're fun, they get along, it's going to be great,” Seacrest blurted out at the top of the session as if listing Fox's talking points.

Also read: ‘American Idol’ Hires New Director With Extensive Live Show Chops

Aside from learning how much the new judges’ relationships differ from last year's feuding Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj (“We share the same heart,” said Urban), executive producer Trish Kinane addressed the “small changes” coming up.

“We studied the show from the talent search to the finale,” adding that the result is “really refreshing.”

At the top of the list of changes: former judge Randy Jackson's new role as mentor. ”I think we're really happy to have these judges,” the producer said. “And there was something else for Randy.”

Also read: ‘American Idol’ Lures Musical Director Rickey Minor Back From ‘Tonight Show’

A new round has been added that will represent a two-day workshop between the contenders and Jackson. Other new rounds announced on Monday include, “Hollywood or Home” week in which contestants who believe their audition was good enough to get them to Hollywood will be considered one more time. Some will have to perform again, others will just be sent home.

Finally, there's “Rush Week,” a three-night event in which the Top 15 men and women perform live for the first time for America's vote, which will reduce the contestants down to the Top 13 finalists.

In addition, the show has added “The Chamber,” which captures the moments before contenders walk into their auditions. The show has also expanded the pre-cleared song list, and revamped theme weeks to be more reflective of how a song speaks to the performer.

Also read: Harry Connick Jr. to Mariah Carey: ‘American Idol’ Is Heaven Now

“It's still absolutely ‘American Idol,'” Kinane said.

“American Idol” returns on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 8/7c.

  • Renee

    This “new” revamped version of American Idol sounds great! I simply can't wait… and I am so glad that it has gone back to America picking the top 13, that's the way it should be :) that's the way it's always been.

  • Theresa Santoro

    As one of the lucky ladies who got to experience an unprecedented behind the scenes look at the upcoming season, I could not be more thrilled. After 11 seasons, I was not longer a fan. I left, never to return, and a new look with fresh eyes brought me back. The producing and music staff backstage is phenomenal, and the entire crew and judges, all the way to the page standing at the back door, really want to search out a superstar . You can feel the momentum, the thrill, and the excitement. This season is going to bring Idol back to our living rooms. XIII is a very lucky number for this production team. They have the dream team of judges who know bullying and humiliation, is no longer fun, and you can entertain and judge all at the same time. Let's get this season party started! #IdolSponsoredVIP

    • CWT

      So you were there in the airport hanger to see how the contestants were treated.

      • Theresa Santoro

        I have no idea what you are referring to. I was at Dolby Theatre, and the hotel where they are staying is where we saw their practice area and craft services. There was never any mention of an airport hangar, so I do not know to what you are referring to. I am pretty sure however, with what social media is today, that if they were mistreated in any way, it would be reported somewhere.

  • sayamen

    why not just dump Randy Jackson…ugh!!!!!

  • Idol Anon

    Is it still gonna be fixed? There is no way last season was not manipulated by the production staff to pick who would make the finals. They might not have gone as far as to pick the winner, but come on the male contestants last season were not good and there is no way that there was not at least one good male contestant available. And let they judges say what they want to say, don't set up a one liner for them and force them to say it, let them tell the truth. Randy to mentor is good, no Iovine is good, but Iovine was the only one to speak the truth last season.