More changes for American Idol

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Copy of IOL pic jan 14 american idol season 13.JPG REUTERS Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, centre, and Harry Connick jr. of 'American Idol' take part in Fox Broadcasting Company's part of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2014 presentations in Pasadena, California on January 13, 2014. Photo: Kevork Djansezian

Pasadena - The producers of ‘American Idol’ say the show's new season will include changes to freshen it, including expanded song choices for contestants.

After tending toward a fair amount of golden oldies, the show's song list will add more current tunes that the young contestants can relate to, executive producer Per Blankens said on Monday.

Former judge Randy Jackson's new role will include leading a workshop that helps contestants deal with vocal and other challenges, executive producer Trish Kinane said.

The talent contest also will introduce a “rush week” that precedes the Hollywood week auditions.

But Kinane told the Television Critics Association that the series is still essentially ‘American Idol’.

Fox's program enters its 13th season on Wednesday with declining ratings and competition in the talent genre from NBC's ‘The Voice’.

It's the first season for the judging panel of Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez, who told the critics' group they have fun working together and want to emphasize the contestants, not themselves.

Urban ducked a question about his experience last season working with judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, who became known for their on-air sniping.

Host Ryan Seacrest helped, joining Urban in pretending the question was about their relationship.

“Ryan and I worked it out,” Urban said.

“We're fine,” Seacrest added. - Sapa-AP

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