Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly toldOK! Weekly at a Monday Television Critics Association session that the changes will be evident right off the bat, as Idol's eighth season will likely feature fewer drawn-out audition episodes to start the season.
"That felt like a healthy thing to do in terms of the setup of the show, getting through all the audition phases that people still love," he told OK!. "But now, everyone knows the format... They say, 'Let's get to the legitimate competition.' I think you will see some fine tuning."
In addition, Reilly reiterated that Idol's eighth season will feature shorter results shows once the competition actually gets going.
Fox expandedIdol seventh-season weekly results shows to a full hour once the competition was down to the Top 12 finalists; while Spring 2007 sixth-season results shows didn't expand to one-hour broadcasts until the Top 7 were revealed.
"[Idol's eight season will go] to more half-hour results shows," Reilly told OK!.
One seventh-season addition that will be sticking around for Idol's eighth installment will be giving contestants the option to play instruments during their performances if they so choose. Idol seventh-season champ David Cook, runner-up David Archuleta, and a few other finalists -- including Jason Castro and Brooke White -- all played instruments at various times during the seventh season.
"We are going to keep the idea of being able to play instruments," Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told OK! during a Monday TCA session. "I really like that. I'd like to see a really good singer/instrumentalist."
Lythgoe also commented on Idol'sseventh-season ratings, which averaged roughly 28.1 million total viewers per broadcast compared with an average of 30.8 million total viewers for its sixth season.
"I don't believe the ratings dipped for American Idol," Lythgoe told OK!. "I believe the ratings dipped for network television. And if you balance the whole ratings slide against American Idol, American Idol didn't slip in comparison to everything else that moved downwards."
Idol eight-season auditions will commence July 17 in San Francisco, CA.
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