Producers: ‘American Idol’ making changes

January 13, 2014 • Entertainment

From left, Host Ryan Seacrest, Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr., and executive producers Trish Kinane and Per Blankens are seen during the panel of “American Idol” at the FOX Winter 2014 TCA, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, [auth] Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The producers of “American Idol” say the show’s new season includes changes to freshen it, including expanded song choices for contestants.

Executive producer Per Blankens said Monday that 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 Trish Kinane says former judge Randy Jackson’s new role will include leading a workshop that helps contestants deal with vocal and other challenges.

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

But Kinane told the Television Critics Association the series is still essentially “American Idol.”

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

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