According to an internal Fox memo posted online, American Idol will have several changes to its format when it debuts next month.
The memo reveals the following:
- For its semifinal round, the eighth season will have 36 contestants instead of 24;
- The audition episodes will be reduced, while the pre-semifinal Hollywood round episodes will be increased;
- The wild card round will return, giving eliminated contestants the chance to compete for one of the top 12 finalist spots;
- The show's focus on bad auditions will be minimized;
- And “Idol Gives Back,” the show's charity telethon, will not air this year due to the economy.