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13 Things You Need To Know About American Idol Season 13

Check out the new faces and challenges on the show premiering today.
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1. Nicki and Mariah are out. The divas seemed like a dream team on paper, but last season's theatrics was just too much. 

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2. Jennifer Lopez is in. The returning judge brings back the GVs to AI with this sweet remark about her co-panelists. "I'm lucky enough to sit between two people who I respect and have a good time with."

3. Returning judge Keith Urban is all about peaceful coexistence, too. "We have a very shared spirit. There's the balance between being very focused and having fun."

4. Is new judge Harry Connick Jr. the new Simon Cowell? Possibly. The singer-actor and former AI guest mentor tells E!, "You signed up to be judged by us. I'm responding to a performance... If I could wrap up these kids in a blanket, I would. But we need to get on with this show. If they can't sing, come on, they need to go home."

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5. Before the three judges were officially announced, Dr. Luke was rumored to be part of the new roster. But the hit-making producer-songwriter ("Since U Been Gone," "California Gurls," and "Tik Tok") is under contract with Sony Music, a rival of AI's default label, Universal Music Group. So, no dice.

6. Another rumor: AI was supposedly going for an all-Idols panel with the likes of Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson. I dunno about you, but I would definitely watch that. Maybe for season 14?

7. Enough with the rumors: Randy Jackson is back for realz. He will be replacing mentor Jimmy Iovine and conducting "a sort of Randy Jackson workshop where the kids go through a series of education."

8. Goodbye, Motown Week; hello, "This Is Me" Theme. Season 13 is opening the doors to more contemporary songs, thank goodness.

keithurbans.tumblr.comvia keithsurbans.tumblr.com

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9. New plot twist: Hollywood or Home. Scoring a golden ticket is no longer enough to get you to Hollywood. In this new round, some contestants will have to prove their worth to the judges by singing solo numbers.

10. Another new round: The Chamber. Sounds very ominous, and it probably is for the contestants. This is the part where they "collect themselves" with host Ryan Seacrest before seeing the judges.

11. Revamped semifinals: Rush Week. According to TV Line, the middle rounds will be compressed into just one week, whittling down the 30 finalists to 13.

12. The pressure is on. AI is hoping to bounce back from last season's record-low ratings, thus the many changes in season 13. 

13. Season 13 premieres today! Catch it at 6 pm via satellite and 9 pm primetime on ETC.

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About the author
Dyan Zarzuela
Council of Cool 9, Managing Editor, Columnist
Stalks celebrities, watches TV, marathons movies, curls up with books, and flails at concerts for a living. Also: semi-hardcore Whovian.
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