By Stephen M. Silverman
December 09, 2003 05:04 PM

Brutally blunt “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell has been tapped to serve on the panel of “World Idol,” an all-star version of the show that FOX will air on Christmas and New Year’s Day, the network has announced.

Winners from 11 “Idol” shows around the world, including American Kelly Clarkson, will compete for this international title.

On the first night, the singers — from the U.S., U.K., Belgium, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Norway, Lebanon, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands — will perform and be critiqued by the judges, including Cowell, 43.

Fans will then have the opportunity to vote for their favorites, with the winner announced during the New Year’s Day broadcast.

As for the regular edition of “American Idol,” which was set to begin its third round on Jan. 20, some changes and expansions are afoot.

Instead of debuting as previously announced, the new “Idol” will kick off Monday, Jan. 19, with the first of three separate hourlong audition specials highlighting the best and worst of the early tryouts.

Some reports are also speculating that FOX is looking to build the successful “Idol” franchise into a seven-day-a-week series. (Last season, “American Idol” averaged an impressive 21 million viewers both nights.)

As things now stand for January and beyond, “American Idol” is due to settle into its standard Tuesday and Wednesday editions after the first week.