NEW YORK (CBS) – The judges’ panel isn’t the only thing that got a makeover on “American Idol.”

Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has revealed more changes as  the FOX singing competition heads for a January premiere.

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The 10th season, which premieres Jan. 12, will have the finalists partake in new challenges to help promote themselves, including making a music video and developing an award-show style performance with a band and dancers, Lythgoe tells

Producers have also decided to nix the round that cuts the 24 contestants to 12 finalists. The show will instead go straight to the top 12. It’s still unclear whether it will be the judges or the viewers who  will determine the 12 finalists..

“I didn’t think [the top 24] were very good, I was bored with them by the time they got there,” Lythgoe said.

In addition, the show’s contestants, who can now be 15 to try out, will encounter theme weeks that will focus on decades instead of a particular artist. There will also be an in-house mentor,  a role filled by Jimmy Lovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records.

Lythgoe said new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who filled the vacant seats left by Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi, are taking their new gig seriously.

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“They both listen intently, and don’t make glib remarks,” he said. “They give honest critiques.”

Original judge Randy Jackson has stepped up his game. “Randy is pulling his weight,” Lythgoe said. “He’s essentially come out of himself. He’s enjoying being in that position.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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