Report: Big Changes Heading To ‘Idol’ Including Las Vegas Trip

“American Idol” won’t hit the airwaves until January 19, but when it does, fans are going to see plenty of new features beyond the retooled judges’ panel and Jennifer Lopez’s fashion flavors.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “Idol” template is getting a major makeover, including a Las Vegas visit, a bigger Hollywood Week group and a potential “Real World”/“Big Brother” style house with confessional cameras.

The trade mag reported that Hollywood Week is expected to feature one of its biggest groups yet — 325 hopefuls.

After being graded by the judges’ panel — the returning Randy Jackson and newcomers J.Lo and Steven Tyler — “Idol” will end up with 60 hopefuls, contestants the mag reported will be sent to Las Vegas.

While 60 contenders are expected to hit Sin City, only 40 will return to Los Angeles to face the viewer vote, according to THR.

The trade mag also reported that a Las Vegas trip with the “Idol” contenders may find them joining up with Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles LOVE show at The Mirage, but it was unclear if that was part of the pre-voting Hollywood Week group, or some of the Top 12 contestants.

A rep for Cirque du Soleil was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Access Hollywood.

Beyond Hollywood Week and Las Vegas, THR reported that the “Idols” will move into a Top 12 house in the Hollywood Hills.

Additionally, the trade mag reported that producers on the show are hoping to add in behind-the-scenes elements, which could mean that the contestants will be filmed in the Top 12 house in “Real World” style “confessionals.”

Another big change is expected to occur on the social networking front. While last season, contestants like Tim Urban, Andrew Garcia, Crystal Bowersox and eventual winner Lee DeWyze Tweeted from a single “Idol” account, this year, THR reported that the contestants will to share their 140-characters-or-less thoughts through individual accounts.

A rep for FOX had no comment when contacted about the new report, while a rep for Fremantle, which produces the show, did not immediatley respond to a request for comment from Access.

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