With the Simon Cowell officially era over and Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joining Randy Jackson on the judging panel, producers of Fox's hit talent show are planning to unleash some additional changes that they hope will stem the show's ratings downturn.
Just remember: what happens in Vegas...
As previously reported, contestants will shoot a music video. But hoping to inject a little glitz and glamour to the proceedings, producers are now talking about taking the show to Las Vegas, where Idol would hook up with Cirque du Soleil's Beatles-themed Love stage show at the Mirage. No word exactly what that will entail (we imagine acrobatics are out).
According to the Hollywood Reporter, however, Idol mastermind Simon Fuller's mantra for the new season is "transparency," i.e. giving fans a glimpse into the backstage lives of the would-be popsters on their road to the finals.
To do that, he and his team tentatively plan to have the Top 12 singers shack up together in a house in the Hollywood Hills and feature some of those Real World/Big Brother moments in various segments (hot tub, anybody?). They will also be allowed to interact more with fans more over Twitter and Facebook.
Wannabe Justin Biebers, some good news: the audition age has also been dropped from 16 to 15. And of course, the biggest change of all, Fox's decision to shift Idol's results show to Thursday to avoid a run-in with its other hit song-and-dance phenomenon, Glee.
American Idol just started shooting Hollywood Week on Monday with more than 325 aspiring popsters said to be in the running.
We'll find out when Idol premieres Jan. 19.