FOX confirms that the Wednesday performance show – the first for season 10’s crop of 13 finalists – this week will be pre-taped Tuesday night.
“We have pre-taped shows at this stage of the competition before,” says a FOX rep, “although it’s rare.”
One reason the network cites for the pre-taping is to make sure all 13 contestants make it into the two-hour show.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe also took to Twitter on Sunday to defend the decision not to air a live show, saying, “We are pre-taping for 2 weeks as we have a new Director & new judges. It has nothing to do with manipulation you morons.”
Addressing skeptics who think that pre-taping may lead to orchestrated shenanigans, Lythgoe eventually Tweeted, “Sorry I can’t play anymore I have to go to work. There’s manipulating to be done. xox.”
The show may not be live, but we will be! Chat with PEOPLE.com and EW.com editors during our American Idol Live Blog, which kicks off at showtime, 8 p.m. ET, on Wednesday. Click here to sign up!
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