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.
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.
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."