“American Idol” is undergoing partial to complete makeovers in an effort to pump some fresh blood into the reality staple. Changes were made this past summer with Jennifer Lopez returning to the panel and Harry Connick Jr joining Keith Urban at the judge’s table. It was also announced that long time executive producer Nigel Lythgoe will not be returning to helm production of the show’s upcoming 13th season.
Late Wednesday, Idol blog MJsBigBlog released some interesting and somewhat surprising format changes. In addition to a two-night, four-hour season premiere (kicking off January 15 & 16), Idol is bringing back the “Road to Hollywood” special to round out the auditions. The Hollywood round, kicking off on Feb 5, is expected to air in three parts with a special “Green Mile” episode narrowing down the Top 50 to the Top 31. The semi-finalists will then be revealed Feb 13. The Top 31 will then be split BY AGE (seniors, intermediates, and juniors) into three separate groups set to perform for votes, starting Feb 19. The first results show will then take place on Feb 27 where the Top 16 will be named LIVE. The Top 16 will perform in a special LIVE 2 1/2 hour show on March 6 for America’s votes and the Top 12 will be named on March 7. This season, there will be a “fast pass” twist where some finalists will be sent on a fast track to the finals at this stage, even before the votes have been cast! The finals will then begin the following week on March 12.
In addition, IDOL will be giving last season’s winner, Candice Glover, her very own “Up Close and Personal” special to help promote her upcoming “Music Speaks” album. The special will air on Feb 18 and will feature a peek at the latest redesigned Idol stage and also feature Candice mentoring the new crop of hopefuls.
Idol will also be celebrating their 500th episode as the Final 2 are revealed LIVE on May 15. Fox touts a special celebration for this episode as well, likely bringing back successful alums to help celebrate the milestone. Finally, the finale, which will take place on May 20 and 21, will be held – for the first time ever – LIVE from New York City at Madison Square Garden!
All told, check out the upcoming schedule below.
Wednesday, Jan. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM) Season Premiere, Part 1 – Boston, MA
Thursday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM) Season Premiere, Part 2 – Austin, TX
Wednesday, Jan. 22 (8:00-10:00 PM) Detroit, MI & Salt Lake City, UT
Thursday, Jan. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM) Atlanta, GA
Wednesday, Jan. 29 (8:00-10:00 PM) Omaha, NE & San Francisco, CA
Thursday, Jan. 30 (8:00-9:00 PM) The Road to Hollywood
Wednesday, Feb. 5 (8:00-10:00 PM) Hollywood Week, Part 1
Thursday, Feb. 6 (8:00-9:00 PM) Hollywood Week, Part 2
Wednesday, Feb. 12 (8:00-10:00 PM) Hollywood Week, Part 3
Thursday, Feb. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM) The Green Mile; Semifinalists Revealed
Candice Glover Special
Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM) Candice Glover: Up Close and Personal. Sponsored by iTunes.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM) Semifinalists in the Senior Division, Ages 22 & Over, Perform; Voting Begins
Thursday, Feb. 20 (8:00-10:00 PM) Semifinalists in the Intermediate Division, Ages 18 to 21, Perform
Wednesday, Feb. 26 (8:00-10:00 PM) Semifinalists in the Junior Division, Ages 17 & Under, Perform
Thursday, Feb. 27 (8:00-10:00 PM) LIVE Results Show; Top 16 Revealed
Wednesday, March 5 (8:00-10:30 PM) Top 16 Semifinalists Perform & Fast Passes Awarded LIVE (Extended to 2½ Hours)
Thursday, March 6 (8:00-10:00 PM) LIVE Results Show; Top 12 Completed
Wednesdays, beginning March 12 (8:00-10:00 PM) Finalists Perform LIVE
Thursdays, beginning March 13 (8:00-8:30 PM) LIVE Results Show (½ Hour Episodes)
Thursday, May 15 (8:00-9:00 PM) LIVE Results Show; Final 2 Revealed (500th Episode)
Tuesday, May 20 (8:00-9:00 PM) LIVE Season Finale, Part 1 – Final 2 Perform (Special Tuesday Airing)
Wednesday, May 21 (8:00-10:00 PM) LIVE Season Finale, Part 2 – Winner Announced