American Idol Is Changing Things Up! Here's How Hollywood Week Is Being Modified
In the week's second round, contestants will strategize as they pair up with a partner of their choice
Hollywood Week is back — but with a twist!
PEOPLE can exclusively reveal that American Idol will be changing things up for its Hollywood Week episodes next week.
“Hollywood this year is different,” says Katy Perry in a clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE from the drama and tear-filled episodes. “This business throws you curve balls.”
“You can give up backstage, you can give up back home, you can give up in your mind, wherever you want to give up,” Lionel Richie tells a contestant while clips of several crying contestants play. “But you never give up on stage.”
The clip ends with a simple, ominous question: “Who will survive?”
Instead of running “lines of 10” in its first round like before, contestants will get to showcase their favorite music styles in the Genre Challenge. This new modification will allow contestants to choose their preferred music style (such as pop, country or R&B) and perform a song in the genre of their choice — allowing Idol fans to get to know each contestant a bit more.
For Hollywood Week’s second round, Idol will say goodbye to groups and instead welcome duets.
Contestants will get to pair up with an opponent, select a song, create an arrangement and perform a track of their choice. This new challenge will allow contestants to test their artistry by selecting a single partner (as opposed to a group of friends). Also, contestants will have to decide with whom they want to partner.
Will contestants choose someone in their genre and someone who complements them? Or will they select someone in a different genre? Will they choose someone they think is better or worse than themselves? Each contestant will have an opportunity to strategize this round and showcase their vocals.
The week’s third round will remain the same and showcase the contestants on their own with solo performances. Contestants will have the opportunity to perform with a full band — allowing viewers to see their favorite contestants in a new light.
The new art — that reads “Be Someone’s Idol” — features drawings of the judges and hosts looking hopeful into the distance. The posters are reminiscent of former President Barack Obama‘s 2008 campaign merch and aligns well with 2020’s election year.
During last Sunday’s episode, the judges joked that a new judge was joining the panel.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that we’re going to have a fourth judge on the show this year,” Richie said in the clip.
“I think it’s the perfect addition to this panel,” added Bryan.
“We’re having a baby,” Perry said. “I’m terrified!”
American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on ABC. However, the new genre challenge airs Monday, March 16.