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Fox confirms new American Idol features Las Vegas round, 20 semifinalists and keeps gender parity




For weeks, American Idol fans have pored over rumors of changes in the show's process, wondering whether the competition would jettison its highly-criticized semi-finalist round or refuse to pick equal numbers of males and females for its 10 finalists.

Fox ended the suspense this morning, announcing a schedule for Idol which included a a new twist -- 20 semifinalists picked after a special round of tryouts in Las Vegas featuring contestants singing Beatles songs from Cirque du Soleil's Love show. On March 3, the show will announce 10 finalists picked by the audience, with the top five female and top five male vote getters included, retaining Idol's gender parity tradition.

Fans know this is a make-or-break season for Idol, which returns to the air minus star Simon Cowell, and with host of changes, including new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. But beyond the judges, Idol is airing on new nights -- Wednesdays and Thursdays -- with a new band (longtime bandleader Rickey Minor now leads Jay Leno's Tonight Show band), a new talent mentor in Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine, and new rules, including a dip in the minimum age of contestants allowing 15-year-old to compete.

Expect more revelations after a press conference at the TV Critics Association's Winter Press tour in Los Angeles, scheduled for about 1:15 p.m. EST. There, the new judges will face the press for the first time after having participated in auditions (their first press conference came before they'd really judged anybody).

So x2_2d7f6bc.jpegthere will be lots of talk about great chemistry and wonderful vibes among Tyler, J.lo and Randy Jackson.

Bottom line:  Last season was a train wreck of serious proportions, with a lackluster field of contestants, a judging panel with no personal chemistry and rating vulnerability in a show once seen as the 800-pound gorilla of television.

Are these changes enough to make a difference? We'll see Jan. 19 and 20:

Click below for the full press release:


Hollywood Rounds Begin Wednesday, February 16; Contestants Perform in Las Vegas for First Time Ever on Wednesday, February 23

Judges’ “Wild Card” and Finalists Revealed on Thursday, March 3

AMERICAN IDOL is set to return for its tenth season with new judges, new talent and new surprises along the way. This season’s judges – Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler – are a triple-threat of credibility, chemistry and talent. Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, whose career as a music producer and record executive is unparalleled, will serve as the in-house mentor. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the two-night season premiere kicks off with auditions from New York / New Jersey on Wednesday, Jan. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and New Orleans on Thursday, Jan. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

After the two-night premiere, auditions will continue for three weeks on Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

AMERICAN IDOL auditions continue in Hollywood on Wednesday, Feb. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Feb. 17 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) with the hopefuls who received tickets to Hollywood from the judges. The contestants who make it through Hollywood will then head to Las Vegas for the first time ever to perform Beatles songs on the Cirque du Soleil LOVE stage Wednesday, Feb. 23 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). The auditions will conclude on Thursday, Feb. 24 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) when the judges reveal – in an exciting new twist – 20 semifinalists (10 guys and 10 girls).

The semifinalists compete on Tuesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 2 (8:00-9:30 PM ET/PT). The five male and five female contestants with the most votes will be the first to join this season’s finalists. The judges’ will also make their special “Wild Card” picks rounding out the finalists on Thursday, March 3 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT).


RECAP (All times begin at 8:00 PM ET/PT)

Wednesday, Jan. 19            Season Premiere, Part 1
                    New York / New Jersey Audition Episode

Thursday, Jan. 20            Season Premiere, Part 2
New Orleans Audition Episode

Wednesday, Jan. 26            Audition Episode
Thursday, Jan. 27            Audition Episode

Wednesday, Feb. 2            Audition Episode

Thursday, Feb. 3            Audition Episode

Wednesday, Feb. 9            Audition Episode

Thursday, Feb. 10            Audition Episode

Wednesday, Feb. 16            Hollywood Round, Part 1

Thursday, Feb. 17            Hollywood Round, Part 2

Wednesday, Feb. 23            Las Vegas Round

Thursday, Feb. 24            Top 20 Semifinalists Announced

Tuesday, March 1            Semifinalists Perform

Wednesday, March 2            Semifinalists Perform

Thursday, March 3            First Results Show and Finalists Announced 


month of audition shows from cattle calls across the country , two shows featuring the "Hollywood Week" auditions,

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:09pm]


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