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Major 'American Idol' Changes Announced

Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe gets rid of top 24

November 18, 2010 2:12 PM ET

American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has announced several new significant changes for the show in his ongoing effort to revive its flagging ratings.

Along with previously announced new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, several new elements will be introduced: Finalists will compete to see who can make the best music video, who can best promote themselves, and who does the best job at working with dancers and a band for an awards-show-type performance.

Photos: Ranking the American Idol Mentors

Also, the group of contestants will be smaller, dropping to 12 from 24.

"I didn't think [the top 24] were very good, I was bored with them by the time they got there," Lythgoe said.

Photos: The American Idol Rollercoaster: Checking In On The Show's Biggest Winners And Losers

The changes seem to reflect the show's producers' previously stated desire to create fully fledged artists along the lines of earlier winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, rather than some of the less distinctive winners of recent years.

As for Tyler — who was slammed by Kid Rock for joining the show — and Lopez, Lythgoe said, "They both listen intently, and don't make glib remarks. They give honest critiques."

Exclusive: Nigel Lythgoe Reveals New Challenges for American Idol's 10th Season -- making a video, working with a band, top 24 shrinks to top 12 [TV Guide]

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“Santa Monica”

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After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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