Beginning this week, "American Idol" fans will find salvation on Apple's iTunes Music Store, which will offer downloads of every performance from the top 24 semifinalists. Full songs will be $0.99, while full videos of the final 12 contestants will be $1.99, starting March 12.

iTunes will also allow consumers to pre-order tracks from a given contestant for automatic download the day after "Idol" airs. One-click access to the store is being made available from AmericanIdol.com as well.

The iTunes deal is part of a move to get more immediate content out to the "Idol"-obsessed fan. And in an attempt to get viewers more invested in the lives of the Idols, the remaining 2008 episodes of "Idol" will sport fewer guest stars and mentors, and more emphasis on the backgrounds of the contestants.

Instead of icons from the '60s acting as judges and picking songs for contestants, for instance, "Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe recently told Billboard they'll instead ask for the singers' parents to select their own favorite songs from the decade.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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