What to Expect From the New "American Idol"

season 13

Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. make up the judges panel for "American Idol XIII."

Jan 15, 2014 | 07:37 PM

The 13th season of "American Idol" kicks off tonight with several updates and tweaks aimed at maintaining Idol's top spot against other talent competition shows like NBC's "The Voice."

For starters, producers want to "freshen up" the show's song list so contestants can perform more current hits as opposed to just "restrictive" classic tunes. There will also be a "boot camp," hosted by Season 12 judge Randy Jackson. It will take place between Hollywood Week and the live shows, so "America will really get to know the contestants before they vote for the first time."

Season 13 will also bring back finalists from previous seasons—not just past winners—to interact with current contestants and advise them throughout the competition process. 

As for the judges, Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez return from previous seasons. They'll be joined by Grammy- and Emmy-winning musician Harry Connick Jr., who's expected to reprise the stern role played by original Idol judge Simon Cowell.

What do you think about these changes? Let us know in the comments below. 

"American Idol" Season 13 starts Wednesday, January 15, 2014, at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Fox.

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