'American Idol' Season 13: 3 Big Changes and 3 Big Improvements
'American Idol' Season 13: 3 Big Changes and 3 Big Improvements
Michelle Carlbert
Michelle Carlbert
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
American Idol returns for Season 13 this week and the new panel of judges. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., as well as Host Ryan Seacrest and Executive Producers Trish Kinane and Per Blankens were on hand at this week's Television Critics Association press tour to talk about the show's new direction. 

What to Expect from the Judges Panel: 

Ryan Seacrest: "They're fun, they get along, it's gonna be great." - on the new judges panel. 

The judges are having fun, which will mean a fun watching experience for the audience, according to host Seacrest. 

How does the show compare to the other singing contests on TV? Connick had a simple answer: "American Idol is the best of its kind."

The new judging panel works because they are all have similar hearts. According to Lopez, they all love music, but they also have a commonality that goes beyond just the music, which causes them to get along even better. 

But they aren't exactly the same. Though the group does get along and have similar ideas, Urban was quick to say that the three of them are not always consistent with how they respond to things, which provides a balance.  

Harry Connick Jr.'s style of critiquing comes from his time as a music student that the critiques he used to get - which weren't always nice. He admitted that his style is blunt and direct, but never personal. But he will tell it like it is and used to be the person who yelled at his screen during auditions and asked: "Why don't they tell these people they can't sing?"

3 Big Changes for American Idol Season 13: 

Randy Jackson has a new role on the show, as a mentor to the singers. According to Kinane, Jackson will be taking the singers into a two-day workshop after they make the first round. There the singers will work on everything from their look to what kind of singer they want to be and even how to take care of their voices. It's a whole new direction for the show. 

There are other changes to the show as well, including sending out a bus tour to look for talent, which is where a lot of the singers came from this season. 

Another new element is called "The Chamber" which will be that moment between Seacrest giving the contestant a final "give your all" and they go wait for their turn on stage. The singers will be alone for these moments and the camera catches how each of them prepares for their time on stage differently. 

3 Much Needed Improvements Coming this Season: 

They have expanded the cleared song list. Some fans have complained in the past about hearing the same songs over and over again and, according to Kinane, they have definitely addressed that problem and expanded the list. 

They will also be playing with the musical themes this season. They won't just be picking songs based on a theme, but also on what might mean something to each singer. Fans will find that the song choices will tell them a lot about the singers. 

A complaint from Season 12 was the imbalance between talented men and women on the show. The EPs promised that the balance between male and female singers is much more balanced in Season 13. 

American Idol airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays nights on FOX. 

(Image courtesy of FOX)