01/15/2013 04:57 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

'American Idol' Season 12: Producers Bring Changes To The Long-Running Series

Season 12 of "American Idol" will debut with a two-night premiere this Wednesday and Thursday on Fox, but in addition to introducing new judges, another major change has been made involving the contestants.

"In addition to the auditions, judges will surprise people who couldn't attend the auditions because they were working or too shy," one show insider reveals. "Randy turned up at a place in Staten Island and surprised a young singer and sent her straight to Hollywood. It was so emotional even the crew had tears in their eyes."

Trying to breathe fresh life into the show, which has seen better days, producers realized that the type of people who turned up to audition were very different from the more humble, yet equally talented people who did not. Traveling to Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Long Beach, Calif.; New Orleans; New York; Oklahoma City and San Antonio to audition contestants who will compete for the title of "American Idol," the show also found several folks who didn't go to the regular audition -- but still ended up going to Hollywood.

"This season they are pulling out all the stops to make 'American Idol' the best competition show on TV again," one producer says. "Yes, we are all focused on Mariah and Nicki Minaj, but this year special attention has also been paid to every contestant to make sure they pull at our heart strings."

A spokesperson for the show had no comment.



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