american idol changes 'American Idol': 8 big changes for season 10 include 'Idol Mansion' and music videosGet ready for “The Real World”: American Idol.” OK, not really, but you should get ready for some pretty big changes on your favorite reality show, including the contestants’ living arrangements.

The Hollywood Reporter has all the scoop on 8 big changes coming up on Season 10 of “American Idol.” Along with two new judges (Maybe you’ve heard of them by now, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler? Those names ring a bell?), it seems “Idol” producers want to shake things up as much as possible (maybe to compete with Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor”?)  and we have to say, we’re liking a lot of it… except the music videos. Here’s the full list of changes:

Updated set: New musical director Ray Chew and the band will be in a new location as the show is currently revamping the stage. Expect the change to be more than 40% as it will allow the show to eligible for an Emmy.

Faster elimination: The Top 24 may be cut down to 12 contestants immediately. Producers are still unsure of the exact number, but 15 is rumored to be an option.

Living arrangements: Two words: Idol Mansion. A source says Nigel Lythgoe “was keen on it.”

Original songs: For the first time in “Idol” history, contestants don’t have to sing a cover if they don’t want to. We’re not sure if a lot of the contestants will perform original songs right away, as it’s easy to lure in an artist’s fan base by covering one of their songs. It would be a gamble early on to perform an original song.

 Producer-songwriters that were handpicked to mentor the contestants include Rodney Jerkins, Ron Fair, Timbaland and Alex Da Kid. They will help with song selection and arranging and producing the musical accompaniment.

Theme week makeovers: “We’re not going to ask a country singer to sing an R&B song, or an R&B singer to do Led Zeppelin,” says Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman Jimmy Lovine.”If the theme is ’80s or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, every song will be customized to that contestant.”

Possible music videos:  Music videos may be added into the “Idol” mix to test contestants’ acting skills (because we never got enough of their “acting skills” during the Ford car commercials?), how they incorporate backup dancers and possibly even their ability to recreate iconic music video moments. Still, no final decision has been made.

Faster music releases: Finalists will now have music out as the season progresses, instead of working in the studio over the summer and releasing an album in the fall. Chairman of Geffen Records Ron Fair says, “Normally with a new artist, the world isn’t waiting. In ‘American Idol’s’ case, the public is. They want to hear something great.”

What do you think, Zappers? Do you like all of these changes or could do without some of them?  

Posted by:tbricker