Fox and "American Idol" producers are planning more changes for the upcoming pivotal tenth season.
"Transparency" is the production theme this year, an idea being championed by series mastermind Simon Fuller. It means producers are looking to add behind-the-scenes elements and find ways to have the singers interact with fans.
These plans are still in development and could change, but as of now producers intend to have the Top 12 live together in a house in the Hollywood Hills. There, they will be allowed to chat with fans via Twitter. Singers had social media accounts for a period of time last season, then the accounts were abruptly consolidated into a single "Idol" feed midway through the run. Word is producers will further relax their Twitter rules for season ten.
The big question is whether Fox, which declined to comment for this story, is going to make the "Idol" house a visible part of the show. Will the network air behind-the-scenes footage from the Top 12 hanging around and recording confessionals, like on other reality shows? The creative details on the "Idol" house are still being worked out, but the answer seems to be: It depends how compelling the footage is.
Producers may also give the "Idol" contestants a break from Hollywood scene with a road trip to Las Vegas. There they would do an integration with Cirque du Soleil's acclaimed Beatles-inspired Love show. Several major Vegas productions have been in contention for this epic primetime product placement, sources say, but Cirque's marquee show at The Mirage won out.
Overall, a whooping 325 kids are participating in Hollywood Week, likely the largest group the show has ever had. Then 60 will go to Vegas. From there, 40 will return back to LA. Then the Top 12 would move into the house.
As previously reported, "Idol" contestants will also be shooting music videos, an idea being championed by the show's new mentor Jimmy Iovine and Universal. The "Idol" results show is also invading Thursday nights, as part of the network's plan to keep its "Glee"-headlined comedy block on Tuesdays and to make a power move into Thursdays.
But the most important "Idol" development for Fox and producers doesn't have anything to do with logistics and schedules, but rather this: Insiders say that the level of talent this year is "amazing."