"American Idol" freshens itself up for the upcoming season 13. In addition to the new judge line-up, there will be "a lot of small changes" on the show that, despite not being "radical," are expected to "really add up to a fresh feel."
Revealing the twists at the FOX panel during TCA Winter Press Tour on Monday, January 13, Kinane said the singing competition would add Randy Jackson's "Boot Camp". It's a "two-day workshop" hosted by former judge Randy between Hollywood Week and the live shows. A source explained the "Boot Camp" "is so that America will really get to know the contestants before they vote for the first time."
The 13th edition of the singing competition will have more current songs, allowing contestants to "sing songs that they really relate to," so new executive producer Per Blankens said. On the other hand, the show will feature less sob stories. "We don't want to tug at the heartstrings where it's, like, 'Let's feel bad and vote for this kid even though he can't sing.' We want great stories and great people," a production insider told The Hollywood Reporter.
Another twist, which producers call "Rush Week", condenses the middle rounds into one week. Over the course of three nights (Feb. 18-20), 15 women and 15 men will be narrowed down to 13 finalists before they perform live in Los Angeles.
The show will additionally introduce "The Chamber", where "Idol" hopefuls go to before their first auditions. "Some people pray, some people sing, some people look under their arms to see if they're perspiring," Kinane said, adding, "It's a very intimate moment."
There will be also less conflict in the judging panel this season as host Ryan Seacrest gushed, "They're fun. They're getting along. It's going to be great," about Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
Despite the changes, Kinane promised, "It's still absolutely 'American Idol'."
"American Idol" season 13 premieres with a two-night event on Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16.