'American Idol' will have single semifinals round, judges' pick finalists
By Reality TV World staff, 01/12/2011
American Idol's tenth-season format rumor mill has apparently ground to an end.
Fox has announced American Idol's tenth season will feature 20 semifinalists and a single gender-balanced semifinals performance round which will end with home viewers and new judging panel members Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler jointly determining the season's finalists.
Then, beginning Wednesday, February 16, Fox will air four additional episodes which will chronicle the competition's Hollywood Round and new Las Vegas Round and conclude with the unveiling of the season's Top 20 semifinalists -- 10 guys and 10 girls -- on Thursday, February 24.
Filmed in December, the new Las Vegas Round featured the Hollywood Round's final 60 contestants traveling to Vegas and performing Beatles songs on the same stage where Cirque du Soleil performs LOVE, the performance troupe's new Beatles musical, and ended with the judges narrowing the tenth-season contestant pool to 40 hopefuls.
Once the 20 semifinalists are revealed, American Idol will air a pair of back-to-back semifinals performance shows on Tuesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 2 that will be followed by a live results show which will announce the season's finalists on Thursday, March 3.
The five male and five female semifinalists which received the most home viewer votes will automatically advance to Idol's tenth-season finals, however once they have been announced the judges also select an unspecified number of special "Wild Card" picks to round out the finalists, according to Fox.
Fox's announcement brings an end to months of conflicting rumors and reports -- some even based on prior premature comments from the show's producers -- about American Idol's tenth-season format, which will also feature Jimmy Iovine (the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, the show's new record label partner) serving as a new in-house mentor, Ray Chew serving as the show's new musical director, a new set, and the contestants living together in a mansion instead of hotel rooms.