Billboard reported this evening that there will be a press conference tomorrow to formally announce some major changes to the upcoming season of American Idol. To save me some typing, here’s the outline:
— Fewer audition episodes and more Hollywood-round episodes. The shift increases the show’s emphasis on talented performers and shies further away from the crash-and-burn spectacle of less-talented attention-seekers.
— To further emphasize the focus on the most talented singers, the semifinalist rounds will feature the top 36 contestants instead of 24.
— Adding some unpredictability, the “wild card” round will return, which gives eliminated contestants a chance to come back into the competition for one of the top finalist spots.
— The network will not air an “Idol Gives Back” charity telecast next year, but does plan to hold the event in the show’s ninth season. Moving forward, “Gives Back” will become an every-other-year event.
Overall, I think these are all good steps in the right direction. Most impressive to me is the return of the wild card round, because I think that sometimes the judges in the studio may see things in certain performers that we at home just can’t see.
It’s going to be an interesting year. Idol had their most credible final in a long time with the Duel of the Davids, and it’s going to be a very tough act to live up to. Not only are they changing the format, but they’re also adding a fourth judge, which should shake up the chemistry a bit at the judges’ table. You’ll get all of the Idol episode recaps here, along with any news that’s fit to print.