American Idol is changing the audition rules in season 13 — read on to find out what contestants are now allowed to do. Also in today’s Roundup, Candice Glover’s album, originally expected to drop in mid-July, has been delayed. And Stefano is ditching his management company — is he on his own now?

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American Idol Makes Season 13 Audition Changes

Get ready for the return of White Guys With Guitars! Following a lackluster season 12 in which it was oh-so-obvious the producers were trying to lay the groundwork for someone without a guitar to win, maybe they’re learning from their mistake and are thinking the ratings will rise if more singers with guitars are included, regardless of any protestations we may have. And the change they’re making starts all the way at the beginning with the auditions.

For the first time in American Idol history, contestants can now play the guitar during their auditions. But there are still stipulations. According to the official Idol website, “Please note that each audition MUST start with an a capella piece and hopefuls will only be able to use their guitars after the a capella audition at the discretion of the producers. Auditioners are not required to perform with a guitar at any time.”

The auditions mentioned above are the initial cattle-call auditions in front of the producers. But the safeguard they’re putting in place of having to sing a capella first is a smart decision, or else the singers may try to hide behind their guitars right from the first moment.

This change is just one of what is expected to be a long line of tweaks and format changes for season 13. After the low ratings of season 12, executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick are out and have been replaced. With new execs in charge and the network looking to freshen up the long-running series, only time will tell what else is in store.

Auditions for the new season begin July 11 in Salt Lake City, UT, and continue throughout the rest of July and part of August in San Francisco, CA; Detroit, MI; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Austin, TX; and Omaha, NE. Online auditions have begun, though contestants cannot play their guitars if they audition this way.

Candice Glover’s New Album Release Date

The reigning American Idol champ Candice Glover is not only busy in rehearsals for the American Idol Live! Tour (which kicks off July 19 in Kent, WA), but she’s also been in the studio recording songs for her debut album Music Speaks that originally was scheduled for a July 16 release date, just three days before the start of the tour. But there’s been a change of plans.

Rumors have been swirling over the past couple weeks that the album would be delayed until August 27. But Candice herself announced this week that the new release date isn’t until October. She tweeted, “Okay, so as y’all know, I’ve been working on my album #MusicSpeaks and rehearsing for tour this summer since Idol ended. … My album is almost done! I’m making the music I’ve always wanted to make BUT I just want to take a little more time to perfect it for you.”

She went on to reveal the new date: “Excited to say that the album will be out October 8th. Can’t wait for ya’ll to hear it! I promise it’ll be worth the wait!”

The reason why her album was originally going to come out in July was so they could capitalize on the buzz following her win by releasing it as close to the finale as possible. This was likely as a result of low ratings and bad publicity surrounding season 12, so a months-long wait might not have been the best idea.

But the delay may be the better option for Candice. If she had released it in July, she probably wouldn’t have been able to promote it all that much because she would be out on tour. Now, she can spend some more time to record more songs if need be, as well as line up a strong publicity and marketing campaign in the fall.

Also, when asked if there’s going to be a second single after her debut “I Am Beautiful,” she responded, “U guys will hear a new song on tour.”

Stefano Langone Leaves 19 Management

Following his run on season 10, seventh-place finisher Stefano Langone scored a record deal with Hollywood Records and signed with 19 Management and Red Light Management to manage his music career. He ended up releasing two singles, “I’m On a Roll” and “Yes to Love.” But now Stefano is revealing in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he is parting ways with both management companies.

He said, “Truth be told, I had left 19 back in January of this year. It really just came down to one thing: my vision — what I wanted to do and the amount of time that we were actually engaging with each other. I rarely ever talked to 19 Entertainment about anything related to my career and where I wanted to go.” His relationship with Red Light was fantastic at first, but they weren’t “getting it as well.” He remains signed with Hollywood Records.

On the way he wants his career to be handled, Stefano went on to say, “I am not one of those artists that gets handed songs and records them. I write a lot of music, and knowing what direction to take … Hollywood gets it in a way. They signed me when I got on the piano and showed them what I do — how I play and how I sing. They are not willing to let that go.”

Now that he’s no longer with any management company, he’s managing his own career. “This is just the beginning. I’ve been independent for two weeks now. I’ve already got shows lined up. Getting out there and being in control of my own destiny … I like it this way, and it gives me a great opportunity to work with the label on a more one-on-one basis. I can get in there, strategize and feel great about it.”

He later tweeted, “At this point I’m in control of what I’m doing. Now I have an opportunity to make up my own team, hire new management, and do me!” So it sounds like he will still be hiring managers at some point, but doing so in a way that allows him to be more in control of his career.

Stefano is currently working on new music for his fans, and is collaborating with Rush Davis, Priscilla Renea, The Futuristics and Idol bandleader Ray Chew.

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(Image courtesy of Interscope Records)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.